Labour MP Shane Jones has begun the year vowing to drive the Maori Party out of Parliament, saying they had betrayed their own people and lured the Government into funding their policies of "buying favours by giving money to a favoured few".

The criticism following Labour's first caucus of the year yesterday was a clear sign that the gentle approach Labour has thus far taken to the smaller party is over.

It had pulled its punches for much of last year, aware it may need the Maori Party for support in the future and reluctant in case criticism resulted in accusations of racism.

Mr Jones said he did not believe Labour should have to stay silent when it saw wrong, just because it was the Maori Party.

"The Maori Party is what we are going to tackle. I certainly am not going to tolerate any longer their betrayal of Maori voters and the fact we're not meant to criticise them because they wear the cloak of Maoridom.

But Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was not intimidated by Mr Jones' threats..

"Let him talk, because he is digging himself the biggest grave he has ever dug."

Mr Jones also criticised the whanau ora policy, describing it as a billion dollar present to Mrs Turia to "dole out to her selected clients".