| Latest Political News | Tuesday July 10 2012 16:50
The relationship between National and the Maori Party may have reached breaking point.
The smaller party says it's taking "very seriously" comments made by the Prime Minister about the current Waitangi Tribunal hearings.
John Key says the hearings into Maori water rights will have no impact on asset sales and the Tribunal decision is not binding.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says no politician, including the Prime Minister, should be attempting to influence the Tribunal.
She plans to talk to her party about the future of the relationship with National.
"I'm not going to tell you what it is I'm prepared to do but we are already talking between ourselves and we will be talking with our party and we will be talking to the Iwi leadership."
Maui Street blogger Morgan Godfery says that's an empty threat, but it mightn't be further down the track.
"I can't help but think back to the section nine debacle where they actually employed similar rhetoric. They made a big fuss about it, but in the end that fuss came to nothing. I think we might see similar results here."
Mr Godfery says many Maori are opposed to partial asset sales, so the party has to be seen to be driving a wedge between themselves and National.
"If the tribunal finds Maori do have ownership rights to water and the Government choose to ignore that finding I think the Maori party would have to walk from that situation."
Mr Godfery says the Maori Party needs to show its constituency it's against the partial sale of state owned assets.
The Greens believe the Government's denying Maori due process on water rights.
Party Co-Leader Russel Norman's unhappy with the Government's push to go ahead ahead with the partial float of Mighty River Power, despite a water rights claim before the Waitangi Tribunal.
He says it's wrong for Mr Key to assert that his Government intends to ignore the Waitangi Tribunal.
Dr Norman says it's different from previous times where the party's criticised National, but then carried on supporting it.
"Because if the Prime Minister of the day says he's going to ignore the Waitangi Tribunal then basically the whole Treaty of Waitangi means nothing, at least that's the attitude of the Prime Minister of the day, and so I think that's pretty significant for the Maori party."
Meanwhile Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says it's not provocative for the government to say the Tribunal's recommendations aren't binding.
He says it's simply a statement of the law.
Photo: NZ Herald