It appears to be becoming common wisdom that both the Greens and the Maori Party are now centrist parties, vying to be power brokers between Labour and National after the next election. This is today's story in the Herald anyway. Certainly the Maori Party has done a lot recently to position itself to work with National, and National are doing likewise. Last week John Key even said that if National-friendly Maori voters don't want to vote for National in the Maori seats, he would like them to vote for the Maori Party. That's quite an endorsement. As John Armstrong wrote recently, there's actually many areas where the interests of the Maori and National parties intersect: 'welfare reform, iwi-based delivery of social services, reviewing the treaty settlement process, and promoting Maori business enterprise'.
Add to this, Tariana Turia recent statements that her party is neither left nor right, but kaupapa and tikanga-driven, and you'll see the ideological trajectory that the party is on. Certainly the party's recent advocacy of work-for-the-dole - together with their immigration and law and order campaigns, and their courting of the corrupt Philip Field - should be a fairly solid signal that the party is not a left one. Meanwhile Labour is letting its grip on the Maori vote weaken, which opens the way for National to co-opt the Maori Party as a coalition partner.