Election 2023: Christopher Luxon says Te Pāti Māori's recent behaviour led him to rule them out post-election

National leader Christopher Luxon says "disrespectful" and "grandstanding" behaviour from Te Pāti Māori on Tuesday was partly behind his decision to rule out working with the party.

He said it was his own decision but believes his caucus is "fully aligned" with it and it wouldn't come as a surprise to them.

After previously saying any arrangement with Te Pāti Māori after the election was unlikely, Luxon on Wednesday morning completely ruled it out

He said the bridge between the two parties "is too wide to close" and the Māori Party of today is different to that which has worked with the National Party previously.

Asked what led him to completely rule out the party, Luxon pointed to "the events of the last week", which included Labour's Meka Whaitiri defecting to Te Pāti Māori.

Te Pāti Māori's co-leaders were booted out of Parliament on Tuesday after an unsanctioned display welcoming Whaitiri. Luxon called it "grandstanding".

He said Labour and the Greens have also been too focused on "personnel" issues. Labour's had several ministers in hot water recently, while the Greens have been embroiled in the Dr Elizabeth Kerekere "crybaby" scandal.

"All of those things lead to me to say that is a very unstable coalition of chaos as I keep saying," he said.

"What I'm interested in and what New Zealanders need right now is none of this stuff. None of the stuff that's been happening in Wellington over the last week. What they really need is a government that's going to address the cost of living crisis, help them get ahead and restore law and order, improve health and education."

Luxon went on to say Te Pāti Māori's attempt at a powhiri during statements on King Charles' coronation was "disrespectful". 

"I think if you're a New Zealander watching what we saw yesterday. They are saying, seriously, is that actually what we're doing down here in Wellington? What is any of this doing to help me in my daily life at the moment."

He said the "turning point" was "watching an absolute perverse set of behaviours over a number of weeks now that have been focused on personnel and politics". 

Luxon said he had spoken with members of his caucus, but "ultimately it's my decision". He said other caucus members are "fully aligned" with it and they are "100 percent behind me".

"These are conversations that have been going on for weeks and months," he said.

He said National hasn't been polling on whether voters liked the idea of it working with Te Pāti Māori.

National's Christopher Luxon.
National's Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: Newshub.

Luxon wouldn't rule out New Zealand First, saying whether he would do so was a question "for another day".

"New Zealand First isn't in Parliament and we'll talk about that another day."

The National leader was also questioned over his choice of language. 

In his statement, he said New Zealand is "one country with one standard of citizenship, meaning one person, one vote".

He said that wasn't dog-whistling but didn't fully explain why he chose those words.

"I believe very strongly in getting outcomes for Māori", he said before criticising progress for Māori under this Government. He said the focus hasn't been on key issues for Māori.

His deputy, Nicola Willis, said that while families are struggling with the current economic conditions, Te Pāti Māori's website's front page currently focuses on removing the British monarch as New Zealand's head of state.

"They are not focused on the same priorities as National. New Zealand needs a change of government, and we need to make it clear to New Zealanders that if you want strong, stable government, you'll vote for us."

Te Pāti Māori does have other policies, including removing GST from all kai to help New Zealanders through the cost of living crisis.

"It is time the Government got serious about supporting struggling whānau, and Māori whānau who traditionally have more mouths to feed," the party's website says.

The party is expected to respond to National's decision later on Wednesday.

After being booted from the House on Tuesday, co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the party had been clearing the way for Whaitiri.

"Clear everything spiritual and allow her to move there with the mind, in her own words, to be the liberated MP that she needs to be for her own people."

Te Pāti Māori's Mana Motuhake policy includes commitments to establishing a Māori Parliament, entrenching Māori electorates, making Waitangi Tribunal recommendations binding on the Crown and overhauling the Te Tiriti settlement process.

Newshub revealed earlier this year a bottom line for Te Pāti Māori in any potential coalition negotiations would be the Crown accepting recommendations of a milestone Waitangi Tribunal report.

The report found the Crown breached the Treaty's principles by proclaiming sovereignty over the North Island and other parts of New Zealand.

It recommended the Crown apologise, return all Crown-owned land in the north to local Māori, compensate and work with Māori to determine constitutional processes and institutions that give effect to what was agreed in the treaty.

Waititi told Newshub at the time: "If we can look at, in an adult and mature conversation about coming together, creating a transformative constitution based on the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to come up with an Aotearoa that's more equitable, equal, fair and just for everybody, as our people understood it to be, I think this country could be the best country on Earth."

Waititi said that involved "self-governance" of "Māori over our domain" and the "self-governance of Pakeha over their domain".