Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has accused his colleague Te Ururoa Flavell of blackmailing the party as the leadership battle heats up.
Dr Sharples is in China with the Prime Minister, promoting Maori economic development.
Earlier today, he told some media that Mr Flavell should just resign rather than keep threatening to do so if he is not given a leadership role.
He is now only slightly backing away from that.
"It is a kind of blackmail, but I just hope he stays and that I stay leader and he stays with me.
"He's a good worker, he's a very good worker, and his time will come."
Photo: Te Ururoa Flavell / NZ Herald