By Kieran Campbell (APNZ) Prime Minister John Key has said he is “totally” confident that the Maori Party will continue its support for the National-led government.
At a press conference in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Key said a meeting with the Maori Party to discuss disagreements about water ownership would be delayed until the middle of next week.
He said the Government had always enjoyed a “very good, constructive working relationship” with the Maori Party.
He added that he was “totally” confident the Government’s relationship with the Maori Party would continue while he was Prime Minister.
Mr Key was criticised earlier this week by Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, after stating that the Government was not legally obliged to recognise recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal.
The Tribunal is currently hearing an urgent claim by the Maori Council of New Zealand and iwi for the recognition of Maori proprietary rights in water, before the Government partially sells Mighty River Power.
“I can’t for the life of me see why you would not have a continued relationship for either stating the Government’s position or stating the law as it applies to tribunals in the courts.
“It’s not a threatening conversation, it’s just a statement of reality and I’m the Government’s major spokesperson, I need to spell out the Government’s position. The Government’s long-held and very strongly held view is that nobody owns water.”