Division between rogue MP Hone Harawira and Maori Party leadership ran so deep the party caucus had difficulty working together, an insider has claimed.
Broadcaster and former Maori Party advisor Derek Fox told Radio New Zealand fractures between Mr Harawira and leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia began to emerge years ago and had never been resolved.
Mr Harawira's suspension from the caucus yesterday came as a result of years of disunity, he said.
"I find it damned embarrassing that these people who we presume to be adults can't sit down and work things out as a caucus.
"We give them our trust and all they can do is fight amongst themselves."
The blame for the division rested with both Mr Harawira and the party leadership, said Mr Fox.
Mr Harawira had inflamed tensions with Mr Sharples and Ms Turia, especially in delivering his recent 'State of the Maori Nation' speech on Waitangi Day, he said.
But he maintained those differences should have been resolved internally.
"Why haven't they worked to resolve these things in their runanga - their caucus."
Meanwhile, Maori Party president Pem Bird dismissed a claim the suspension was an attempt to manipulate an upcoming disciplinary hearing on a complaint against Mr Harawira by party whip Te Ururoa Flavell.
Mr Flavell laid the complaint after a Sunday Star-Times column by Mr Harawira criticising the Maori Party's direction.
The disciplinary hearing will focus on that complaint and not the wider causes of division in the party, said Mr Bird.
"It is not a fait accompli.
"We'd rather not have had this happen but it's happened. We're dealing with it in up front manner."
The disciplinary hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.By Hayden Donnell Email Hayden