Several National MPs say they disagree with comments from their education spokesman Paul Goldsmith that colonisation "on balance" had been a good thing for Māori.
Goldsmith has been taking aim at the proposed New Zealand history curriculum which has a focus on teaching colonisation and its impacts, particularly on Māori, and topics such as white privilege.
In a Newshub interview over the weekend when asked if the good had outweighed the bad for Māori through colonisation, Goldsmith said "on balance it has, yes".
National leader Judith Collins said she recognised how Māori, and "most colonised people", didn't feel it had worked well for them.
"But I think that when we look at the Treaty of Waitangi, it's a very unusual thing to have in terms of colonisation where there was actually an agreement between two peoples.
"When I think about it in context, am I proud of the work National has done in addressing the injustices? Yes I am. Am I proud of many of the achievements that New Zealand together has been able to achieve? Yes I am. But I'm also very aware that there were massive injustices, particularly breaches of the Treaty."
Former National leader Todd Muller said on Tuesday he had "a different view" to Goldsmith.
"Would I prefer to be alive today or 1840? For me, absolutely today, but I think certainly from my perspective, on balance, it was a very brutal time for Māori in this country."
Botany MP Christopher Luxon also said he disagreed with Goldsmith.
"It wasn't good for Māori. There's no doubt about it - colonisation was not good for Māori as we saw with breaches in the Treaty and we saw with the New Zealand Land Wars.
"Colonisation was bad for Māori."
National had worked "incredibly hard" to right those wrongs on Treaty settlements, he said.
National MP Stuart Smith said he didn't think "colonisation was very good for anyone".
National's mental health spokesman Matt Doocey said Māori were overrepresented in mental health statistics and there was much more work to do to achieve equity.
He said being part of the Commonwealth had seen investment flow into the country and improve the living standards of New Zealanders.
"But I think we'd have to accept that colonisation has had some negative impact. I've got my views and I've said them today and Paul's got his as well and he's explained his and I respect his views."
National MP Chris Bishop said colonisation was not a "binary" question over good and bad.
"Our history is much more mixed than that and I think narrowing down the settlement of New Zealand and the effect of colonisation of Māori to a binary 'is it good or bad' question I think is actually disrespectful to the history of New Zealand."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said simply: "That's not an argument you'll hear me making."
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said Goldsmith's comments were "a load of nonsense".
"That's why I put an invitation out to Goldsmith to come to my marae and we'll tell him what colonisation has done to people in South Auckland."
Whanau Ora Minister Peeni Henare said Goldsmith's comments were "ignorant" and set back the country.
Meanwhile, Goldsmith said he wouldn't apologise for the comments.
"When we stand back and look at New Zealand and what we've created, which is the result of colonisation, I think on balance, New Zealand is a good thing. I'm proud of New Zealand, I'm proud of what we've achieved, I'm proud to be a New Zealander.
"Now does that sort of say that bad things didn't happen? Of course not. And do we try to diminish the harsh experiences of many Māori? Of course not. I'm just saying, on balance, I'm positive about New Zealand and I'm proud to be a New Zealander."