Confidence and Supply Agreement between us and the National Party
In October 2008 the Māori Party held a number of hui throughout Aotearoa to talk with our constituents about the possibility of us entering into a Relationship and Confi dence and Supply agreement with the National Party, in order to form a Government. The overwhelming response from our people was that they wanted us to have the opportunity to progress our policy goals - the 96 policy priorities we outlined in He Aha te Mea Nui - our policy manifesto.
So on November 16, 2008 we embarked on a journey to do our best to honour your faith in us by taking up the National Party's invitation to sign a confidence and supply agreement with them. It was important to us that the relationship be one in which mana maintenance and enhancement is a priority.
So what does confi dence and supply mean? A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation (supply) votes.
Confidence refers to the agreement of backing the Government on votes of no confi dence. ‘Supply' refers to bills required for a minority government to receive money to allow it to enact its policies.
In essence, confi dence and supply means a Government can hold power.
As part of our relationship with National, we acquired the opportunity for Ministerial positions for our leaders, as well as an agreement to advance key milestones for the party in relation to the Māori seats; the Foreshore and Seabed Act; constitutional review; whānau ora and increased resources for large electorates.
The National Party and the Māori Party recognise the importance of mana maintenance and enhancement for both parties to this agreement. The relationship between the Māori Party and the National Party will be one of good faith and no surprises. Both the National Party and the Māori Party will act in accordance with te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi.
The National Party will consult the Māori Party on issues including:
* The legislative programme/measures
* Policy issues
* Broad Budget parameters
* Government appointments, with the National Party considering in good faith recommendations by the Māori Party
Consultation will occur in a timely fashion to ensure Māori Party views can be incorporated into final decision-making. Formal consultation will be managed between the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Co-Leaders of the Māori Party. The relationship between the two parties will also be furthered through:
* Timely access to relevant Ministers by designated Māori Party Members of Parliament
* Monthly meetings between the Prime Minister and the Co-Leaders of the Māori Party
* Advance notification to the other party of significant announcements by either the National lead Government or the Māori Party
* Briefings by the National led Government on significant issues before any public announcement
Status of the Māori Seats
Both parties agree to the establishment (including its composition and terms of reference) by no later than early 2010 of a group to consider constitutional issues including Māori representation. The Māori Party will be consulted on membership and the choice of Chairperson, and will be represented on the group. The National Party agrees it will not seek to remove the Māori seats without the consent of the Maori people. Accordingly, the Māori Party and the National Party will not be pursuing the entrenchment of the Maori seats in the current parliamentary term. Both parties agree that there will not be a question about the future of the Māori seats in the referendum on MMP planned by the National Party.
Foreshore and Seabed
The National Party recognises the concerns of the Māori Party relating to the current Foreshore and Seabed legislation. The Māori Party recognises the public interest and concern of all New Zealanders to ensure that their usage of the foreshore and seabed are protected. The National Party and the Māori Party will, in this term of Parliament, initiate as a priority a review of the application of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 to ascertain whether it adequately maintains and enhances mana whenua. Ministers representing the two parties will work together to prepare agreed terms of reference for the review by 28 February. The review will be completed by 31 December 2009. In the event that repeal of the legislation is necessary, the National-led Government will ensure that there is appropriate protection in place to ensure that all New Zealanders enjoy access to the foreshore and seabed, through existing and potentially new legislation.
The Co-Leaders of the Māori Party, Dr Pita Sharples and Hon Tariana Turia, will be appointed to ministerial positions outside Cabinet. This is the preference of the Māori Party. The Māori Party and the National Party agree to allocate these positions with agreed formally delegated and defined responsibilities in areas in which the Māori Party seeks significant advancement over the next three years. The Māori Party seeks significant outcomes in whanau ora, through eliminating poverty, advocating for social justice, and advancing Māori social, cultural, economic and community development in the best interests of the nation. These ministerial positions will confer on the Māori Party Co-leaders control over significant areas of responsibility within their portfolios, along with Associate Minister responsibilities, including service delivery, departmental support and funding, as agreed by the parties.
* Dr Sharples will be appointed Minister of Māori Affairs, Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Corrections.
* Hon Tariana Turia will be appointed Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment.
Both parties undertake to work constructively to ensure that the relationships between Ministers, their Associates and the relevant departmental Chief Executives develop in a positive manner.
The two parties both have policy priorities and there are areas of commonality and other areas of difference. The National Party and the Māori Party will work together to progress these priorities as and where agreement can be found. The policy priorities of the National Party and of the Māori Party are attached as a schedule to this document.
It is agreed that relevant spokespeople within the Māori Party will be briefed on significant issues which are likely to be politically sensitive before any public announcements are made.
It is agreed that where briefings are provided to the Māori Party, or where the Māori Party is involved in a consultative arrangement with regard to legislation, policy or budgetary matters, all such discussions shall be confidential unless otherwise agreed.
In the event that National Party-led Government papers are provided to the Māori Party in the course of consultation or briefings they shall be treated as confidential and shall not be released or the information used for any public purpose without the express agreement of the relevant Minister.
In the event that Cabinet or Cabinet committee papers are provided to the Māori Party for the purposes of consultation they shall be provided to a designated person within the Office of the Co-leaders who will take responsibility for ensuring they are accorded the appropriate degree of confidentiality.
The Māori Party agree to be bound by collective responsibility in relation to their Ministerial portfolios and their Associate Minister responsibilities. When the Māori Party Ministers speak about issues within their portfolios and Associate Minister responsibilities, they will speak for the government and as part of the government, representing the government's position in relation to these responsibilities. When they speak about matters outside these responsibilities, however, they speak as the Co-Leaders of the Māori Party or as members of Parliament. The "agree to disagree" provisions apply as necessary. They will support the government's position on all matters that are the subject of confidence and supply votes.
The Māori Party Ministers agree to be bound by the Cabinet Manual in the exercise of their ministerial functions, and in particular to be bound by the provisions of the Cabinet Manual on the conduct, public duty and personal interests of Ministers.
The Maori Party agrees that it will support the National-led government on procedural motions in the House and in Select Committees unless the Māori Party has previously advised that such support is not forthcoming. The National Party agrees that it will operate a no surprises policy in terms of procedural motions it intends to put before the House or a Select Committee.
The Māori Party will work with the National Party to determine the person who will be appointed Chairperson, Māori Affairs Select Committee, on the understanding that this person will be a National Party Member of Parliament. The Māori Party will also be allocated memberships on Select Committees including Finance and Expenditure, Commerce and Privileges.
The challenges of servicing the disproportionately large size of the Māori electorates will be addressed through immediate implementation of the recommendation from the March 2007 report of the Committee of the Third Triennial Review (Goulter report).
There is inequity in respect of the support that Parliament provides the very large electorates compared to the very small ones. One comparison is between Te Tai Tonga (147,000 sq km) and Epsom (22 sq km).
That recommendation reads:
"That all Māori constituent Members of Parliament and each constituency Member of Parliament with an electorate in excess of 20,000 sq km in area be entitled to the services of an extra staff member to equate to three full-time equivalent out of Parliament support staff members"
Support for particular legislative measures which do not relate to confidence or supply will be negotiated on a case by case basis.
Confidence and Supply
The Māori Party agrees to provide confidence and supply for the term of this Parliament to a National Party-led Government.
Relationship to other confidence and supply agreements
Both parties to this agreement recognise that the National Party will be working with a range of parties in terms of confidence and supply arrangements.
The National Party agrees that it will not enter into any other relationship agreement which is inconsistent with this agreement and the Māori Party and the National Party agree that they will each act in good faith to allow all such agreements to be complied with.
Dated 16 November 2008
Signed by: John Key - National Party leader and Dr Pita Sharples and the Hon Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Māori Party.