Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says is he both surprised and disappointed at the Maori Party's poor performance in the parliamentary elections.

"I thought Maori voters would have a long-term strategic lens, but apparently not," he said.

The Maori Party supported the National Party-led government, with its leaders given ministerial portfolios outside Cabinet, but in the recent election failed to gain any seats.

Mr Tomoana said while there was a "very strong" caucus of Maori in Parliament the Maori Party was the obvious target for lobbying. In the yet-to-be-formed next government he was worried Maori parliamentarians would prioritise party interests over Maori interests.


"I'm glad there are so many Maori are in Parliament, but I'm still disappointed ... we'll just have to work with whoever is there."

On the clean sweep of Labour MPs taking all the Maori electorates, including Meka Whaitiri in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, Massey University associate professor and senior politics lecturer Richard Shaw said that assuming Labour is in opposition, those winning MPs will have increased status.

"They will be important players within the opposition - that result can not be read in any other way as a vote among Maori voters to achieve their objectives within a major party."

Mr Tomoana said he got along well with Mr Peters at a personal level and hoped political reality would set in for all, as parties jockeyed to form the next government.

He had witnessed Mr Peters' international diplomacy which was "sort of star status".

"I don't think he would jeopardise the national economy because he is internationally focused. I would probably be more worried about his domestic policies, rather than his business or international policies.

"Winston Peters has made it quite clear this time Maori are first on his hit list - Treaty of Waitangi issues to be taken out of all legislation and so on and so forth. He did it before by wiping out Maori programmes within government departments.

"Whoever Winston goes with, political reality will set in and at the end of the day it is what is best for the country. We will work with whoever is there."