The Maori Party is considering breaking from the National-led Government over asset sales.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party will consider walking out of its relationship with the National Party if a Treaty clause is not extended to those state owned enterprises tagged for partial sale.
Ms Turia said today that the issue was similar to the foreshore and seabed issue for Maori.
"If it comes down to the wire, the Maori Party will have to consider its position with the Government."
She said the party would meet with iwi leaders to gather their reaction, although some had already made their displeasure known. She said the party was beholden to iwi and its constituents and would follow their lead.
This is of course not new ground for Mrs Turia, who was a Minister in the Clark government before she left Labour due to the Foreshore and Seabed controversy. That was indeed the catalyst for the formation of the Maori Party. So in a way, it's deja vu all over again, and we shouldn't be surprised by it.
We wonder however if there might be a deeper root cause than simply the issue of asset sales, which incidentally was EXCLUDED from the Maori Party's C&S agreement. The Maori Party is on a precipice, and may well not survive beyond the 2014 election.
And Mrs Turia should carefully consider the implications of such a petulant action. After all, the Maori Party did very well in its three years in partnership with National between 2008 and 2011. The Foreshore and Seabed legislation was repealed, and the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act was passed to replace it. The Maori Party gained mana from Pita Sharples' appointment as Minister of Maori Affairs. And Mrs Turia herself won a significant victory with the implementation of her Whanau Ora policy.
It would be a significant political moment were the Maori Party to walk away from ministerial appointments, and a constructive role with the government. We rather suspect that common ground will be found, and that the status quo will prevail.