Te Tai Tokerau byelection candidate Hone Harawira wants to set up a "Maori Parliament" of Maori MPs from all parties to encourage them to act in the interests of their people rather than their parties.

Mr Harawira outlined his plan yesterday at a meeting in Panguru - a small township in Hokianga.

He said the power of the Maori voice in Parliament was diluted because Maori MPs were spread across parties and had to stick to party lines.

"The trouble is that there are 20 of us and 19 are too scared to stand up. There are some very talented Maori MPs in there, but they are locked in to their parties and so they just go quiet. Well, I don't think anyone elected us to go quiet."

He said he wanted to set up a "parliament" of those Maori MPs who would visit different electorates together on a regular basis, such as every three months. He said it would ensure all Maori MPs heard the message from their people and would become more independent thinkers. A bloc of 20 MPs was a significant force.

Mr Harawira said his plan did not amount to a completely separate Maori Parliament, "not yet, anyway". It would start off with no obligations beyond listening, and the "Speaker" would be an MP generally well regarded across party lines so it could not be dismissed as "Hone's Parliament".

"In the early days I'd have no obligation or expectation on any of the MPs except to attend and to listen. If you want this thing to work, you've got to grow it in a way that people feel comfortable with their participation."

Mr Harawira also said he doubted the accuracy of a Native Affairs poll which put Labour's Kelvin Davis at just one point behind Mr Harawira on 40 and 41 per cent respectively.

However, it emphasised the need for his team to ensure supporters cast their votes.

He said the Maori Party could rue the day it decided to break its agreement not to stand against him in the northern seat.

There had been a possibility of the Mana Party and Maori Party jointly securing eight seats in Parliament if the agreement stood. However, an all-out war over the seats could result in all but himself and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia losing their seats to Labour.

Labour's deputy leader, Annette King, said the poll was heartening and had given Mr Davis a boost.

Although Mr Harawira had a lot of support on some issues, she believed the division between the Maori Party and Mana was now working in Mr Davis' favour. A win in the seat would also bode well for taking back the other Maori seats.

"We prize those Maori seats. They have been ours for many years and we would be very keen to win as many of them back as possible."

Mr Harawira said voters in Te Tai Tokerau knew he was a strong leader and someone who could be trusted, contrary to the poll's findings.

He told his supporters in Panguru that Labour's candidate, Kelvin Davis, was "a good fella, but he's just a teacher and is looking at change that happens 20-30 years away. Well, we need change now."

He also said Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene was "way out of his depth".