Maori Party and TOP considering working together

The Maori Party failed to hold any seats in the 2017 election, and The Opportunities Party (TOP) fell well short of the 5% MMP threshold. Both parties have had leadership changes since then.

And now they are talking to each other looking at whether they can succeed by joining forces.

1 News: …TOP-Māori Party alliances could shake up NZ politics

The Opportunities Party, founded by Gareth Morgan, and the Māori Party both failed to attract voters at the last election and are now hoping a combined effort could pay off.

Kaapua Smith of the Māori Party said being a small, minor party, “we can’t do these things alone in Parliament”.

“We need to start building our relationships.”

Geoff Simmons, leader of TOP, told TVNZ1’s Te Karere it could be an opportunity for both parties which he described as having “an awful lot in common”.

Though adamant talks are still fresh, the parties have met twice already, and will not rule out the idea of forming one party.

“One of the criticisms of the Māori Party has always been that we’re too close to National. This is about reaffirming that no we’re not particularly close to any particular party. We want to talk to all parties,” Ms Smith said.

So while Simmons appears to be looking to the Maori Party, Smith says that the Maori party is looking to all parties.

But Labour is unlikely to let go any of the seven Maori electorates they now hold. The Greens like their own slant on Maori engagement and activism.  And NZ First have campaigned on scrapping the Maori seats. So that leaves National or parties not in Parliament. Like TOP.

Party vote in the 2017 election:

  • TOP 2.4%
  • Māori Party 1.2%

Combined that’s still a long way off the threshold. Both parties have leaders with lower profiles. It will be a battle for them to succeed, even if they combine forces.