New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Maori Party is being "treacherous" in saying it does not support Helen Clark's bid to become UN Secretary General.
"It is petty grand standing without any principle," he said. "the reality is the Maori Party is desperately appearing to be relevant."
"It is treacherous in the extreme," he said.
All of Helen Clark's opponents would be listening and the criticism would now become part of their campaign, although she had bigger problems than that.
Labour Party leader Andrew Little said the criticism of Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox "stinks."
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said today that Labour did not support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) and it introduced the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
In response to a Court of Appeal decision, the act removed the right of iwi to claim legal ownership of New Zealand beaches through the courts but set up a process for tribes with close connections to specific marine areas to exercise management over it.
Fox said on Radio New Zealand that Clark should apologise to show she had learned from her "mistakes".
"I would think at the very least somebody who is seeking the top role of the UN would also have the foresight and the ability to look back at those past mistakes, acknowledge them and move on and until she does, how can we be supportive of that role?"
Clark, a former Labour Prime Minister of nine-years standing, and currently head of the UN Development Programme, is one of 12 candidates seeking the position.
She has the support of almost all the Parliament, especially the exuberant support of Prime Minister John Key, the politician who defeated her in 2008.
Relations between Labour and the tiny Maori Party have never been good.
Labour holds six of the seven Maori seats and the Maori Party holds one of them. It was founded by Dame Tariana Turia who broke away from Labour over the foreshore and seabed policy.
The Security Council will hold a second secret ballot early Saturday morning, New Zealand time. Clark finished sixth in the last ballot.
Peters, Parliament's longest serving Maori member of Parliament, was particularly annoyed that Fox was blaming Clark for not signing up to DRIP. He himself had been responsible for that, when New Zealand First supported a Labour minority Government.
"I'm proud of the fact we stopped that sort of nonsense going on."
Andrew Little said Fox's comments were disappointing.
"Helen Clark is widely known internationally, representative of New Zealand. This a great opportunity for a New Zealander to take one of the prime roles in international and diplomatic affairs.
"Every New Zealander should be behind that and I think it, frankly, stinks that the Maori Party say they are not going to support it."
Helen Clark said in a statement that New Zealand fully supported the negotiations on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
"We asked for more time to improve the Declaration to make it fully capable of implementation in all countries.
"At that time we were concerned that some aspects of the UNDRIP cut across New Zealand's constitutional framework and legal system.
"New Zealand was however at the forefront of implementing most of the rights in the UNDRIP.
"was pleased to see that the Government was able to support the Declaration in 2010."