Barry Soper: Ihumātao deal could spark early election

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Jun 2020, 5:53PM
Ihumātao. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Ihumātao. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Barry Soper: Ihumātao deal could spark early election

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Jun 2020, 5:53PM

There are suspicions that dissension over Ihumātao could cut ties between Labour and New Zealand First.

Earlier this week, Q&A reported that a deal between the Government and Fletchers – which legally owns the Ihumātao site – was close.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newstalk ZB on Monday that nothing had been before Cabinet, but there was hope for a decision before the September 19th election.

However, ZB political editor Barry Soper told Andrew Dickens that there is no deal to put before Cabinet. 

"Winston Peters has said on a number of occassions that if public money is involved, than New Zealand First isn't interested."

Labour is keen for some sort of deal, and Soper says Fletchers is also unwilling to wait until after the election.

“Something’s got to give, but it won’t be New Zealand First.”

Soper says that this is an area where Labour and NZ First have long taken opposite views - but some sort of resolution is needed. 

“I am just putting it out there, both NZ First and Labour would probably do better than an earlier election, and if they could force the ballot before then, then I think the cards will play better for them.”

He says it will be harder for them to pull it off an election win if they wait until the economic fallout of Covid-19 becomes more ingrained.