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MPs consider relationship with National

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

The Maori Party say they will continue to work with the government and whoever emerges victorious from next Monday's National leadership meeting.

Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have thrown their hats in the ring to challenge deputy Bill English in a special caucus meeting to replace John Key as prime minister.

Co-leader Marama Fox has named Mr English as "the logical approach" to take on the leadership, praising his continuing support of the Maori Party.

But Te Ururoa Flavell says the confidence and supply agreement between the parties will still stand whoever becomes leader.

"That agreement stands on its own mana and we expect that any party that enters into that agreement, as we did with National right from the very start, has got to honour it and I'm pretty sure that they will," Mr Flavell said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has refused to comment on hypothetical situations, instead saying he was focused on the election.

"The issue's not who we're going to work with, it's who out there's going to adopt some of the policies we've got about the economic and social survival of this country," he said.

Labour leader Andrew Little said Mr Key's resignation had "blown the lid off" simmering tensions among members of the National Party, naming Dr Coleman and Ms Collins as well as possible candidate Paula Bennett as those at the centre.

"I take no pleasure in that whatsoever, it's just an unsightly thing that we're going to have to get through as a nation," he said.

The new National leader will mean some changes to Labour's approach in next year's general election but Mr Little says he is ready to fight whenever a vote is called.

He had been preparing for the election on the basis he would be taking on Mr Key, but says he is yet to consider who will be his challenger now and what that might mean for campaign tactics.

"It will be different, I can't deny that. The dynamics will be different but in terms of the campaign we run, the things that we talk about ... that won't change," he said.

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