By Richard Knight

An endorsement by Independent MP Tuariki Delamere urging voters in the Waiariki electorate to give their party vote to Mauri Pacific could mean the party will not stand a candidate in the Maori seat.

Mr Delamere and Mauri Pacific have been in negotiations for the past few months, with the possibility that he might stand for the party at this year's general elections.

At the opening of Te Rau Aroha dining hall in Rotorua at the weekend, Mr Delamere told more than 800 people that he would stand as an Independent, but he urged them to support Mauri Pacific at the polls.

"Everyone knows my views on a Maori party. I could not think of any party better to carry Maori wishes then Mauri Pacific. Give me your vote but give them [Mauri Pacific] the party vote," he said.

Party leader and Maori Affairs Minister Tau Henare welcomed Mr Delamere's endorsement.

"We will get together after the elections and form some sort of coalition or party with Mr Delamere. Maori must learn to work together in Parliament if they want to be effective," he said.

The Waiariki seat was part of Te Tai Rawhiti - won by Mr Delamere for New Zealand First - at the last elections, but because Maori seats increased from five to six after the Maori voting options, the boundaries were redefined.

However, Waiariki still takes in a large part of the old seat and is within Mr Delamere's tribal affiliations.