Mr Key took the unusual step today of g' />

The Government isn't going to hand over the Urewera National Park to Tuhoe, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key took the unusual step today of going public with an issue that is part of a treaty claim, saying he had told Tuhoe's chief negotiator about the Government's bottom line.

"The Tuhoe negotiating team has indicated strongly their desire for the sole vesting of the Urewera National Park in the people of Tuhoe under conditions which would have preserved universal access and universal rights for all New Zealanders," he said at his post-cabinet press conference.

"Today I spoke with Tuhoe's chief negotiator to communicate that sole vesting of the Urewera National Park in the people of Tuhoe is unacceptable to the Government.

"The proposal falls outside the broad principles that have operated for other treaty negotiations."

Mr Key said he was making the Government's position clear because Tuhoe was planning a hui on Friday and there had been speculation in the media about the future of the park.

"It's been a long held view from the Tuhoe negotiating team that this is very important to them," Mr Key said.

"We acknowledge and understand that. But it's also been a long-held view from the Government that that would be very challenging - and they were always aware it would be very challenging."

Mr Key said the Government still wanted to negotiate a settlement with Tuhoe and was going to work with the iwi to see if there was another proposal that was acceptable to both sides.

Asked whether co-governance was possible, like the Waikato River settlement with Tainui, he said there were various options on the table and all of them could be discussed.

- NZPA