Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has moved to clarify the party's position on asset sales after concerns it was being interpreted as showing support for the proposal provided iwi were given preferential rights to buy shares.
Dr Sharples issued a statement this morning saying the party did not support any asset sales at all.
However, if National's policy to sell up to 49 per cent in four SOEs could not be stopped, it was the party's position to support iwi which wanted to buy shares.
"I have said publicly that if Government was ever to be at the point of considering asset sales then I would expect the first conversation about the process to be with iwi, as Treaty partner.
"While our party position is that we oppose the sales of assets, we are also placed with the responsibility of advancing the best position for our constituency - and unlike other parties - that means we need to listen and respond to the proposals our constituents put forward to Parliament."
He said if iwi decided they wanted to invest in shares of the energy SOEs National plans to sell minority shares in, the Maori Party would support them as a way of keeping New Zealand ownership.
The iwi leaders group has previously expressed an interest in investing in the SOEs if they are sold, saying iwi investment will be long term and ensure the assets remain in New Zealand hands.
Waikato-Tainui's Tuku Morgan and Ngai Tahu's Mark Solomon met with Prime Minister John Key in February this year to discuss potential iwi involvement.
So far Key has not committed to any specific preferential deals for iwi.