Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the party’s policy against asset sales would be outside of any confidence and supply agreement with National.
The Maori Party does not agree with National’s mixed-ownership policy for 49% sell-downs of four energy State Owned Enterprises, but says if the SOE shares were to be sold, Iwi should be front of the queue for shares.
Sharples made the comments before he and co-leader Tariana Turia began talks with Prime Minister John Key on a possible coalition agreement between the Maori Party and National. Key had earlier had talks with UnitedFuture’s Peter Dunne and ACT’s John Banks, both of whom have said they would support a National government.
Prime Minister John Key this morning said it was likely Mighty River Power or Genesis Energy would be first on the block, with the first sale of shares unlikey to be earlier than the latter part of 2012.
'Aware of the fiscal constraints'
Meanwhile Key said the parties were aware of the fiscal situation New Zealand was in as they discussed possible policy agreements.
“I think every political party that fought the general election is conscious of the international environment, the financial situation New Zealand finds itself in, and the need to provide security for New Zealand families,” Key told media in the Beehive on Monday afternoon.
“I think we’re all conscious of that. None of us are silly, and we recognise what’s required now. We’re working constructively with parties – we’ve worked in the past to try and deliver good outcomes. That’s what’s going to happen now, and hopefully we can take that forward,” he said.
Key began coalition talks with the UnitedFuture, ACT and Maori parties on Monday afternoon after the final Cabinet meeting of the 2008-11 Cabinet.
On current polling - special votes have yet to be counted - National has 60 seats in the 121 seat Parliament, meaning Key needs ACT and UnitedFuture in order to have a Parliamentary majority. See the full results so far here at Elections.org.
Key has said he wants to continue an agreement National had with the Maori Party last term, and indicated that he might consider another memorandum of understanding with the Green Party.
First up was UnitedFuture's Peter Dunne, who won the Ohariu seat in Wellington. Dunne has been Minister of Revenue in successive Labour and National governments. UnitedFuture received 0.6% of the general vote on Saturday.
See UnitedFuture's policies here. What do you think Dunne should push for?
During the last term of government, Dunne led the government's move to abolish gift duty.
"We looked at this originally from the perspective of maybe it was time, since it was last done in 1984, to review the thresholds [for gift duty up]. That was where this exercise began. It became clear during it, why waste your time reviewing the thresholds, this thing’s a dog...just get rid of it," Dunne told interest.co.nz in August.
As Revenue Minister he was also fronting a government review of the fairness of New Zealand's tax system. See more on that here.
Another policy Dunne touted in the run-up to the election was a revamp of NZ Super, saying people should be able to access lower pension payments at 60 years of age. If people chose to take super later than 65, they would get higher payments. See article on Dunne's Super policy here.
Next up was ACT’s sole MP John Banks, a former National Party Minister of Police, Tourism and Sport.
Banks said he would push for the philosophy, concepts and principals of the ACT Party to be represented in the government. He joked about becoming Minister of Finance.
“Much less government, much less government expenditure, and much less borrowing,” Banks said when asked what he wanted from any agreement with National.
“I’m going to do the less government stuff because this week it’s my 65th birthday and I’m not taking the pension,” he said.
See ACT's policies in our party policy section. What should Banks push for?
(Updates with John Banks, Sharples/Turia)