The Maori Party remains hopeful of gaining some budgetary responsibility even though National does not need its support to govern.

The Maori Party looked as if it had added one seat to the four it held in the last Parliament, with Rahui Katene narrowly leading Labour’s Mahara Okeroa with more than 90 percent of the vote counted.

However, Labour’s Parekura Horomia staved off the challenge of Derek Fox in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, and Nanaia Mahuta beat Angeline Greensill in Hauraki-Waikato.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and party president Whatarangi Winiata told reporters they hoped National would seek their party’s help to try to build a broad-based governing coalition.

Sharples hoped they would get a position in a portfolio such as education, health or social welfare and not just Maori Affairs.

“We don’t want to be buried in some sort of ministry that’s going to be treated as second class,” Sharples said.

Winiata said associate minister jobs would not be welcomed but the party would take portions of full portfolios, such as Maori education.

Even though many Maori Party voters would side more with Labour than National, Sharples said they would also prefer the Maori Party to choose a position where they could do something rather than nothing.

Winiata said he “doubted very much” that National would try to abolish the Maori seats, given the support Maori people had for them.

“I think National will still want to talk to us because they have a long future with Maori,” Winiata said.

“If there is a sign that people still want an alternative Maori voice in Parliament then it will be dangerous for National or any party to get rid of the Maori treaty signatory, the people for whom the 1867 legislation provides.”