Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi has accused the Government and Speaker Trevor Mallard of co-ordinating an attack on his party in Parliament.
He has now complained to the Speaker, who suggested a former Māori Party president was hindering vaccine rollout plans during a debate on Wednesday, labelling Mallard's conduct "grossly inappropriate and unbecoming of your position as Speaker".
The spat occurred as Waititi was questioning Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson on whether the vaccine rollout had delivered for Māori.
Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins jumped into the fray, asking Robertson whether "having prominent Māori political figures actively discouraging people from being vaccinated help or hinder the vaccination effort".
Waititi took offence to this statement, which was a coded reference to former Māori party President Pem Bird who has been calling for more vaccine choice in his community, rather than just the Pfizer vaccine.
"We're not following the Crown's directive. That has been our position for a while," Bird told Māori TV.
"We won't jump when we're told to. We want the freedom to choose. We want a different vaccine."
Waititi took issue with Hipkins' question, claiming it was an "assertion" rather than a fact and therefore out of order.
Responding to Waititi, Mallard outed Bird as the "political figure" Hipkins was talking about.
"There are some things which are assertions, and there are some things which are matters of fact," Mallard said.
"My old propping mate Pem Bird who I played quite a bit of rugby against in the King Country some time ago is properly described as a leading political figure and I think the member himself will know history in that way - it's just a matter of record,"
Waititi said he was disappointed with the way Bird had been dragged into the debate.
"I take umbrage to the fact that we have mentioned a kaumatua in this room that has taken a position of a professional physician in that community that has created that particular assertion that Māori are encouraging people to get vaccinated - I think that's absolutely wrong,"
Waititi later wrote to Mallard disputing his ruling, and an earlier decision of Mallard's, which ruled that Waititi could not assert that the Government had ignored the advice of Māori health experts. Waititi alleged that this was no more an assertion than the claim made by Hipkins.
They also disputed the fact that assertions of any kind were in fact out of order.