New Maori Party co-leader Flavell guns for general seats
New Maori Party coleader Te Ururoa Flavell says his party will target general seats at next year's election.
"We do have to open the door up a little more," Mr Flavell told Firstline.
"In the past, we've represented ourselves only for the seven [Maori] seats, except for our first election where we went and tried to utilise the other seats throughout the whole country. The same attack will be used for 2014 – to present ourselves to all New Zealand, to contest a fair number of the general seats, and to seek the party vote," Mr Flavell said.
"We've had great feedback across the board from not just Maori, but Pakeha people, Asian as well, our Pacific Island brothers and sisters, that we can play a part for them in Parliament as well. So we'll be seeking the party vote, as well as contesting both Maori and general seats."
Mr Flavell said his party would see some kind of deal with the party that won the next election, be it National or Labour.
"It's no use sitting on the cross benches, you get nothing there," he said. "Our goal is to achieve as much as we can with one of the governing parties."
Mr Flavell also said he will not take up the option to be a cabinet minister - open to him under his party's confidence and supply deal with National.
The new co-leader says he wants to concentrate on the next election; cynics may see a move to place himself at arm's length from the government.
Some pundits blamed the Maori Party's poor third-place showing in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti byelection as a reflection on Pita Sharples' waning leadership; others on the perception the party was too close to National.
Mr Flavell was elected new male co-leader at the party's AGM over the weekend, as expected, replacing Mr Sharples who will retire at the next election.
Femaile co-leader Tariana Turia says she will retire at the next election.