The latest Newshub Reid research poll showed just how much influence Te Pāti Māori will potentially have in forming the next government.
After it came out at the start of the week, the party said no to joining a potential National Act coalition but by today were not ruling it out.
The polling showed the combination of National and ACT receiving 47.5 per cent, in contrast to another Labour, Greens deal receiving just 44 per cent of the vote. Adding the 2.5 per cent votes garnered by Te Pāti Māori would be enough to push a National, ACT coalition over the 50 per cent threshold to govern.
But they are keeping cool, calm and collected. Te Pāti Māori co-leader, Debbie Ngārewa Packer is sticking to her guns.
“We have to keep working hard to hold the government to account and to take on the two opposition players who are race baiting and that's become really horrific".
Even given the notable achievements for Maori under previous National governments, such as kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and even Whānau Ora, teaming up with the Nats is unlikely ... for now anyway.
"There have been some gains across the board and we see some of that with Whānau Ora. This National seems averse to what it endorsed in Whānau Ora," Ngārewa Packer said.
When asked if he would work with Te Pāti Māori, National leader Christopher Luxon committed to the work at hand.
“I'm not focused on electoral calculation. What we're really focused on is the National Party working on plans on economic management and cost of living crisis” he said.
An alliance with National also means one with Act, Ngārewa-Packer not convinced they would paddle that waka.
“We're really focused on what we said we would do, which is pushback and being a disruptor in the House.”
Given the increase in popularity at the polls, Ngārewa-Packer says kōrero is underway on who they will put forward to contest the Māori seats at the next elections
“In 2020, there weren't too many people putting up their hands.”
“The age groups, the profiles, those that have come to support the branches that have been reinvigorated are a really good sign that we believe in ourselves.”