Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia intends to challenge Social Development Minister Paula Bennett over proposed changes to the benefit system that would cut off the dole after a year and require people to reapply.

Ms Bennett raised the Government's intention before Christmas but Mrs Turia, her associate minister, said it had not been discussed with her and she had strong objections.

She will seek a meeting with Ms Bennett to discuss it this month.

It is a rare instance of discord between the two ministers, who have so far worked closely on areas including family violence.

Mrs Turia said the Government was accusing beneficiaries of being malingerers and demanding they get off the dole without putting in proper steps to help them.

"This is a vulnerable group ... Surely if you are saying people are unemployed for too long and malingerers, then you have to be really clear about taking steps to help them back into work. But there is no desire by the Government to give them the work opportunities to help rebuild their confidence."

Mrs Turia said the Maori Party offered support to reinstate some form of work-for-the-dole scheme, saying it would help build people's confidence and ready them for the workforce, but the Government had rejected it.

Ms Bennett said yesterday the policy should not have come as a surprise as it was in National's manifesto and she had discussed it with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, Mrs Turia's fellow co-leader.