Key Points:

National leader John Key has arrived at Waitangi in the Far North with a message to Prime Minister Helen Clark that she needs to "get over" her objections to going onto Te Tii Marae.

Mr Key was welcomed onto the marae this morning and said he would be taking a message to Maori at Waitangi that National had good policies for them.

Mr Key is taking part in a leaders forum on Te Tii Marae this afternoon, but Miss Clark has spurned it due to trouble there in the past.

Asked today about the Prime Minister's no-show at Te Tii, Mr Key said "Well I think she should get over it".

"I mean quite honestly, she's had some issues here and I think the whole focus of the events here is different - it's an opportunity for her to engage.

"Frankly, from the National Party's perspective we don't care, we are here happy to front up and talk about our policies and if she wants to go and have a private little chat with her candidate 20 minutes up the road, well she's welcome to it."

Miss Clark is going to another marae at Kerikeri this afternoon to support Labour candidate in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate - a seat held by Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.

Asked if Miss Clark's absence was giving National an advantage today, Mr Key said the Prime Minister was "inconsistent" as she had been to Ratana and fronted up there.

"We all have some issues in life that we don't necessarily like but time moved on," Mr Key said.

He told reporters he was not concerned he would run into trouble at Waitangi.

Mr Key said not everyone was going to universally agree with all of the National Party's positions but he welcomed the opportunity to take part in the debate and said the National Party was prepared to front up and say why it believes what it believes.

Yesterday Miss Clark said she did not attend leaders' forums.

"The only occasion I appear with other leaders in some kind of debate format is in a television election debate.

"I consider the Government has good relations with Nga Puhi and if Nga Puhi wishes to have engagement with me and other ministers we are always happy to go and we have in the past on a number of occasions."

The prime minister has avoided Waitangi's lower marae which has been the scene of loud protests and arrests in recent years.

Miss Clark was jostled and upset in 2004, while then-National leader Don Brash was hit by a clump of dirt.

Today Mr Key arrived at Waitangi with a large contingent of National MPs.

He was met by veteran activist Titewhai Harawira who held his hand while leading him onto the marae.

- NZPA