Labour's Maori caucus have met as a group after routing the Maori Party from Parliament and swelling their ranks from 7 to 13.

The MPs gathered after the morning caucus meeting of the whole Labour caucus to celebrate winning back the last of the seven Maori seats from the Maori Party.

That came when Labour's Tamati Coffey took the Waiariki electorate from Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, who had held it since 2005.

Labour's Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said while he had respected the Maori Party MPs, "that's politics".


"The people have spoken. You have your highs and your lows and I've experienced the lows myself, being booted out in 2011. That's just the nature of politics."

He did not believe the Maori Party had a chance of making a comeback in 2020.

"They were formed around a galvanising issue and obviously Maori have moved on because we've won all seven seats. Unless there's some galvanising issue, they will really struggle."

He did not believe NZ First leader Winston Peters' call for a referendum on the Maori seats would provide that - "I just don't think that's going to be an issue".

Labour's leader Jacinda Ardern had made it clear it was "non-negotiable" in any coalition between NZ First and Labour but English has not ruled it out completely.

Labour's campaign for the Maori seats was led by Willie Jackson, who was headhunted by former leader Andrew Little after word got out Jackson was considering standing for the Maori Party.

Jackson is in Parliament as a list MP. Labour adopted the risky strategy of not standing its Maori seat MPs on the party list - meaning winning their seats was a make-or-break thing.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has called for a referendum on the Maori seats - but Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has put it on the "not negotiable" list.