The turmoil within the Maori Party over renegade MP Hone Harawira remains unresolved following a four-hour teleconference by its National Council last night.

A complaint against Mr Harawira has now been referred to the party's Disciplinary and Disputes Committee of the National Council.

Mr Harawira provoked the ire of the party in a column published in a Sunday paper criticising the Maori Party and its relationship with the National Government. Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell laid a complaint on January 17 with the party's president Pem Bird, which was backed by the party's four other MPs.

Although Mr Bird was hopeful of "a swift and successful resolution", the council resolved the complaint "cannot be resolved at the electorate level".

After a five-hour hui yesterday, Mr Harawira's electorate committee called on the Maori Party to instantly dismiss the complaint laid against him by party whip Te Ururoa Flavell and backed by the rest of the caucus.

It also called for lawyer Mai Chen, who is advising the party on the process, to be dropped and the estimated $25,000 set aside to pay her be returned to the party.

Decision 'a bit hasty'

Mr Harawira this morning told Radio New Zealand the decision to refer the issue to the Disciplinary and Disputes Committee was "a bit hasty".

"Te Tai Tokerau has done its best to try get this resolved in the proper manner.

"Hopefully the National Council can meet with Te Tai Tokerau so this can be resolved in the best interests of the party."

He said he had the support of both his electorate and the party's members.

"The national executive is half a dozen people in a party of 25,000," he said. "If there are 25,000 people in the Maori Party, 24,500 are not expecting to see one of their MPs thrown out in election year."

Mr Harawira questioned whether the National Party had played some part in the internal fractures within the Maori Party.

"When one of the MPs in the coalition partner is stridently opposed to some of the things that are going to be happening in this election year then National's best interests are served by their coalition partner getting rid of that MP."

'Hone speaks the truth'

About 100 people attended yesterday's hui, including a busload of elders from Kaitaia. While most wanted Mr Harawira to stay with the party, there was also anger about the complaint laid by the caucus.

The MP has continued to criticise his party's relationship with National since the complaint and accuse the rest of the party of losing its identity. Rumours he could mount a leadership challenge are also increasing and he no longer rules it out.

Although there were banners at the hui saying "Change the leadership", electorate chairwoman Lisa McNabb refused to comment on it, saying the hui was solely to discuss the complaint.

Mr Harawira did not speak after the hui. Instead Ms McNabb read a statement which said the electorate believed a select group of people in the party's hierarchy were trying to silence the MP from saying what Maori people believed.

"Hone speaks the truth and the truth should not be silenced." She said the party had insulted its biggest electorate by trying to undermine its integrity.

It is not the first time the Te Tai Tokerau electorate has gone head to head with the party organisation in defending their MP. It backed him when he faced disciplinary action over the "white motherf*****" email he wrote to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere to defend a trip to Paris.

On that occasion there was an admission he had erred and Mr Harawira was encouraged to apologise. The statement issued yesterday was far more defiant, claiming the complaint was completely without basis.

The Maori Party's constitution sets out a process for complaints to be considered and it is likely further hui involving all sides will follow. None of those involved in the complaint process, including Mr Flavell, Mr Bird and mediator Ken Mair, were at the hui.