Maori Party President Tuku Morgan is now talking about looking at immigration levels as he encourages the party to become more assertive in its relationship with Government.

And Morgan is determined that the party should win enough seats at the next election to hold the balance of power.

Though he readily concedes that Mana Party Leader, Hone Harawira, has a different way of looking at some issues, he believes Mana and the Maori Party can work together to take Maori seats off Labour and hold the balance of power.

“I make no secret about it; that’s the agenda,” he told POLITIK.

He said a lot of people didn’t understand that Maori were now a growing power on the economic landscape.

“That kind of capability and a strong political voice, when the two things come together, they create a whole lot of possibilities.”

Morgan views the economic landscape from the lofty peaks of the Iwi Leadership Forum whereas his potential political partner; Hone Harawira has always been seen as being on the left of politics and much more focussed on protest politics. 

But Morgan believes that the two can work together.

“Hone Harawira is a unique sort of person, but both of us share the same aspiration, and that is to make a difference for our people,” he said.

“His brand is different, his message is different, but the outcome we want is the same.

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“What I am saying is that I understand the reality in that we’ve got a problem with housing, and we’ve got a  problem with poverty.

“We also have a problem with a growing underclass fuelled by a bloated number of immigrants and which means that many of our people, and Pacific Islanders too, don’t get to understand the dignity of work.”

Morgan says that the best solution for crime is employment.

As well as questioning immigration levels Morgan is advocating a harder line on water policy.

“New Zealand water should be for New Zealanders,” he says.

“We should put a moratorium on any water exported until we deal with the issue of degradation, over water allocation of the water resource and is  proprietorial rights before we let these people go down the road and get a consent from the Council to export billions of litres of water.”

But he is not advocating a hardline Maori proprietorial right to water; rather he sees the kind of co-governance arrangement that has been worked out between iwi, councils and farmers to manage the Waikato River as a model.

In fact, Morgan says that his approach to these issues even sees a role for Pakeha in the Party, and he expects to see some Pakeha stand for the party in general seats at the next election.

He says that he has also had enormous support from business since he became President.

Morgan has hit the ground running as President and is signalling that the Party is going to take a tougher stance on many issues.

“I’m much more forceful,” he says.

“I’m clear about where we need to get to. We have a strategy and that strategy, in my view, will secure us more seats than we have currently got.”

Morgan’s strategy, of course, is aimed at the Labour Party.

But he is clearly indicating that post the next election; the party will bargain with both National and Labour to try and get the best deal it can.

If it gets the extra seats, and that will depend on how many Mana are willing to stand aside for it in, then it could complicate the post-election Government formation process because Morgan will find himself having to negotiate with Harawira and Key and Little.

But he would surely say that anything is worth doing if it can advance Maori.