The Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples will not be attending the Northland hui that will decide what action, if any is taken against their MP Hone Harawira over his use of taxpayers' money and abusive defence of his actions.

Mrs Turia spent much of today avoiding media questions on the issue before eventually breaking her silence over the week long saga.

Mrs Turia acknowledged her MP's "unfortunate" and "very distressing" comments and said his behaviour had been unacceptable and damaging to the Maori Party.

Mrs Turia's staff refused to answer questions about whether she would be attending the hui in Kaitaia tomorrow to discuss Mr Harawira's behaviour.

However, Prime Minister John Key said Mrs Turia had told him she was not attending the hui.

Mrs Turia later confirmed neither she nor Dr Sharples would be going as they were very busy and it was a matter for the party to sort out.

She said Mr Harawira's comments had sparked a massive reaction from the public and many of the emails received were offensive and racist which "shows how fragile our relationships are in this country".

Despite his recent actions, Mr Harawira had made a "huge contribution" in the past.

Mrs Turia would not say if Mr Harawira should be punished as it was a matter for his party, but his abusive emails were not acceptable.

Mr Key said it was a matter for the Maori Party.

"I have made clear my thinking. Hone Harawira's comments were offensive, he offered an apology of sorts yesterday and I guess it is for them to deal with that."

Mr Key said he was sick of the Hone Harawira sideshow and suggested the media should ignore him and stop giving him credibility.

"At the end of the day I think you are giving him and his comments too much credence. My view is that he is known for making these comments. He's known for wanting media attention. You might find if you ignore him, it might be quite an interesting result."

United Future leader Peter Dunne, who has long advocated better behaviour from MPs, said Mr Harawira's behaviour was not fitting for a parliamentarian, but his volatile nature made him difficult for his party to deal with.

"Well they have a big call. They cannot just let this go by as just if it's one of those things that happen, because it is quite an unusual set of events and I think the public of New Zealand are expecting them to take quite a strong stand," Mr Dunne said.

"But they have to be very careful they don't push him over the edge and cause another outburst, but I think if they fail to bite the bullet and take a strong stand people will be asking some questions of them."

Today Parliament's Speaker Lockwood Smith formally requested Mr Harawira explain why he used taxpayers' money to skip off to Paris instead of attending the parliamentary business it was meant to fund.

Dr Smith is said to have requested repayment of a portion of the total expenses, amounting to around $1000, if it is true he decided not to attend a parliamentary conference in Brussels and take his wife sightseeing in Paris instead.

Mr Harawira's subsequent abusive defence of his actions culminated in a partial apology and tomorrow his party will meet in his electorate to decide what, sanctions he could face.

Mr Harawira had said his decision to go to Paris was justified because "white motherf...rs" had been "raping" New Zealand for years and he was not beholden to white puritanical "bullshit".

Mr Harawira said sorry for his "poor choice of words" and the offence caused.

He should have instead referred to what European colonisers had done, the MP for Te Tai Tokerau said.

The comments were not an attack against all Pakeha, he said.

- NZPA