Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is refusing to comment on his prospects of becoming the party's leader after his challenge of Pita Sharples was put on hold last night.

Mr Flavell arrived at Ratana this morning but said the leadership issue was in the hands of the party's governing council.

"I have nothing to say.''

The council decided last night to keep Dr Sharples as leader at least until a further meeting to discuss the matter was called in a few months. It has to sort out how to deal with the challenge - something its rules do not provide for.


Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said she was surprised the Maori Party had no process for it.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said the Maori Party was in a shambles and did not think it could survive.

"This is unseemly and a great number of Maori who have given their support to the Maori Party realise that faith was misplaced now.''

He did not think Hone Harawira's proposal of a merger between Mana and the Maori Party would increase its chances of survival.

"I think it would be very damaging to both of them.''

He said he was happy being the leader of his own party - ``a very, very high prospects party which is on its way to holding the balance of responsibility at the next election''.