Key Points:

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says National leader John Key has told him already the Maori seats would not be abolished unless Maori agreed.

But Mr Key disputes that.

And he says the seats will not be an issue over the next three years because National would not start the policy process towards abolishing them until the final historical Treaty settlements, which would not be within the next three years.

Dr Sharples made his comments on Sky's Campaign 08 on Sunday, saying: "I've pinned him down. I said, 'You admit to me that you won't get rid of those seats until Maori people say yes,' and he said that's what he would do."

Mr Key said yesterday that he had not said that to Dr Sharples.

"If after the election National was in a position to put together a Government and it needed the support of the Maori Party, it would go back and talk to the party on a range of issues.

"I am simply not pre-judging."