The half-baked humour surrounding the Tuhoe settlement negotiations continues today as Tamati Kruger likened John Key's behaviour to that found at marae meetings.

Tuhoe are in limbo after the Prime Minister announced on Monday that ownership of Te Urewera National Park would not be acceptable to government.

Mr Kruger who is leading the negotiations with the Crown said the politics around ownership should never have surprised Mr Key. Not only did the tribe meet with him to discuss it but the PM is the also the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.

That's the committee which vets proposals before it goes to a full cabinet meeting.

The last time the deal was put to the committee was in mid-March, he said.

"In that proposal is ownership [of Te Urewera] - what, you're the chair and you've never heard of this before?

"We had our one go up twice and get the big tick.

"Well, either he doesn't read his minutes ... some of my marae committee members are like that. You know, when I have a hapu hui some of my uncles and aunties don't bother read the minutes they just tell me to hurry up so they can get to the biscuits and tea.

"Cabinet is not so different from a marae committee meeting."

Yesterday, speaking at a tourism event in Auckland, Mr Key made a joke about enjoying a dinner at a Ngati Porou marae on the East Coast this week.

"The good news is that I was having dinner with Ngati Porou as opposed to their neighbouring iwi, which is Tuhoe, in which case I would have been dinner, which wouldn't have been quite so attractive," he said.

The politics of selling the deal to the public, hard on the heels of opening up conservation land for mining, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Foreshore and Seabed consultation process has given some government ministers huge concerns about how it could affect National's support.