A significant investment in Māori housing is coming in Thursday's Budget, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson, and Newshub can reveal Kiwis are in favour.
National leader Judith Collins isn't so sure about it, but some of her MPs aren't so sure she'll survive to see the next election anyway.
The Finance Minister showed off the fruits of his Labour on Tuesday, posing on the steps of Parliament with Budget 2021. He said with so much good stuff in it, it's "very hard to choose" the best bits.
Among them is a targeted investment in Māori housing.
"As we announced when we did the housing package, there will be an investment in Māori housing, and I do regard it as significant," Robertson said.
The investment sits well with Kiwis.
In the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll we asked: Should the Government make a significant investment in housing for Māori?
More said yes - 44.8 percent, than no - 41.4 percent. The rest didn't know.
Judith Collins is among them.
"Well, let's just see what the investment is," she said on Tuesday, when asked if she would have a problem with investment in Māori housing. "Making it easier based on ethnicity, that's not the issue."
Several National MPs have told Newshub on the quiet they're uneasy with Collins' recent fixation with Māori governance.
Collins says her MPs haven't expressed unease to her.
"No, certainly not."
Labour MPs say Collins is race-baiting.
"I've always said that," said Labour's Peeni Henare, while Nanaia Mahuta said she thinks "many of her supporters will see it that way".
Labour's Willie Jackson said Collins is "trying to scare people".
Most National MPs followed the leader.
"I haven't seen Judith Collins validate any racism and I don't think she would ever do that," said National MP Nicola Willis.
"It's right to ask these questions," said Simon Bridges, while National MP Chris Bishop said Collins has been "very careful with the language she's used".
Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer doesn't see it that way.
"They're not being careful with their words. What they're doing is deliberately allowing her to incite racism."
When asked if Collins is emboldening racist rhetoric, her money-man Andrew Bayly said yeah, but not on purpose.
"Yeah, there is an element of that, but Judith Collins is not trying to do that."
But that's nowhere near as off-script as National's Waikato MP Tim van de Molen.
"At the moment, Judith Collins is our leader, and I absolutely support her," he said.
Van de Molen laughed it off when asked to clarify what he meant by "at the moment", followed by an awkward silence. He dug himself further when asked if Collins will be National leader at the 2023 election.
"Well, I don't have a crystal ball on that," he replied.
You don't need a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall.
Analysis by Political Editor Tova O'Brien
Not only are National MPs saying Collins' Māori governance rhetoric is "deeply troubling", I've also been told there's generally consensus within the caucus that she is toast.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the coup: Do it quickly and make the change, or wait until the beginning to middle of next year.
But one MP told me the numbers would actually be there to roll her now.
Another said there are a few elements to this:
- You have a leader who simply does not want to go
- You have someone - Chris Luxon - who wants to be leader but not yet
- You have some MPs who want Luxon to go now so he fails - and they can swoop in
It's factional, it's messy. But for Collins, worst of all, her days are numbered.