New Zealand government strikes conflict with Maori Party supporters
New Zealand's newly elected conservative minority government ran into conflict with its indigenous Maori Party supporters Wednesday as it tried to push one of its first pieces of legislation through parliament, reported dpa.
Prime Minister John Key's National Party-led government - sworn in only a week ago - declared that a law change which will allow employers to sack workers in their first 90 days on the job was a priority which it wanted passed before Christmas.
The five Maori Party members of parliament, who promised with two other parties to support the Nationals after they failed to win an overall majority in last month's election, decided Wednesday to vote against the move.
The party said its policy was to support and extend workers' rights, and employment spokesman Hone Harawira said the move could worsen Maori unemployment which was already twice that of other workers.
Harawira said the post-election agreement remained in force because it allowed his party to oppose government policy.
The law change is still expected to pass with votes from the Nationals' two other supporting parties.