The National Party’s annual meeting this weekend will consider a Treaty of Waitangi clause for the party’s constitution.
Deputy leader Shane Reti says it has been a work in progress for many years.
"We generally see the benefits and the need to have something in our constitution that then anchors our Māori interface, anchors our relationship with Māori and how we can do better with that relationship, and certainly all of the regional conferences that was the mood of the room and the mood of members, that we needed to do this. It will be for the members to decide this weekend but I am cautiously optimistic," he says......
The same day Richard Prebble wrote an insightful column in the NZ Herald entitled, "The tide has turned for Labour, polls reveal". It's well worth a read.
The final sentence says, "These two polls, two years out, indicate that the next election is National’s and Act’s to lose. Don’t count out the ability of National’s MPs to come to Labour’s rescue."
It's a very fitting remark in the context of Shane Reti's desire to have the Treaty of Waitangi embedded within National's constitution.
One of the opinion polls referred to by Richard Prebble had National up 1.7 points and Act up 4.2 points. That means for every one voter that shifted to National, 2.5 shifted to Act.
The annual conference is National's last practical opportunity to put its house in order and send a signal to its supporters that "we are back".
Many people will be hoping they do send that signal because, truth-be-known, National is probably the party that most centre and right of centre folk would prefer to support - if they were given a reason to do so. Clearly, the polls are showing that most swing voters believe National does not deserve their support and are moving to Act.
This weekend National has a chance to convince their remaining supporters to hang in there.
It's probably their last chance given the growing impatience in heartland New Zealand.
If National do decide to embed the Treaty of Waitangi into their constitution then they should expect to lose another tranche of support, and it may even be the final straw that leads to the formation of a new party to specifically displace National. The only obstacle to that would be finding a suitable leader.