Any deal reached on Ihumātao should spur an overhaul of the "unfair" Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and open up millions of hectares of confiscated land to negotiation, says the Māori Party president.

This week speculation has re-emerged the Government could lend money to Auckland Council to purchase the land at Ihumātao, highly regarded for its cultural and heritage values.

At a post-Cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to confirm or deny the various proposals were discussed during the meeting, but added "nothing was rejected by Cabinet".

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Māori Party president Che Wilson said he hoped any deal involving the private land owned by Fletcher Building, initially confiscated from Māori in 1863 for refusing to denounce the Kīngitanga, would spur a revisit of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

"The deal we hear is being proposed, is a great deal, because it is being done through the council, and so will not affect previous negotiations there.

"However, this momentum is our chance to overhaul the whole process."

Wilson, who was chief negotiator for central North Island iwi Ngāti Rangi, said all confiscated land across the country should be able to be looked at.

He is talking about the millions of hectares of land, confiscated from Māori by the Crown, and that has ended up in private ownership.

In negotiations relating to breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Crown has not included private land, but Wilson said in areas of significance - such as Ihumātao - this needed to change.

"Private land should be up for negotiation, and the key is negotiation.

"It should not be compulsory, repeating what the Crown did to Māori, but where it is a wāhi tapu site, sacred site, and the owners are open to returning it, then there should be negotiation."

Māori Party president Che Wilson says the Treaty settlement process needs to be revisited. Photo / File
Māori Party president Che Wilson says the Treaty settlement process needs to be revisited. Photo / File

Māori often received less than two per cent of what they lost in "unfair" settlements, Wilson said.

The process was also far too slow, and left Māori feeling pressured to accept deals.

"Our settlement took 28 years, and most of the original claimants had died before they saw any justice."

National Party leader Simon Bridges said any deal that involved the Government loaning millions of dollars for the land at Ihumātao was a "slap in the face to everyday New Zealanders", and would set a "disastrous precedent, rewarding protesters and unwinding full and final Treaty settlements".

"Reopening full and final Treaty settlements and private property rights will never fly in a National-led government," Bridges told the Herald.

"We will be clear about which parties we will and won't work with after the election in the near future."

Wilson said Bridges' comments ignored the fact the Treaty settlement process was "unfair" on Māori anyway.

"There is no issue when government money is handed out for South Canterbury Finance, or 'leaky homes', but when it comes to Māori the racism comes out.

"We now have a new generation not happy with the process. There needs to be an overhaul to ensure it is fair and there are no double standards."

University of Auckland Māori studies professor Dr Margaret Mutu previously told the Herald fears any Government deal on Ihumātao would open the floodgates for private land across the country to be returned were unfounded.

"It is not as if Māori are asking for the whole country, just areas where (it has) been onsold by the Government that have a really strong impact, that have really clear wāhi tapu values, and Ihumātao is a classic example.

"The group is not asking for it so it can profit, but so it can give back to New Zealand. That must speak volumes."

The reason private land had been excluded from negotiations was arbitrary and made no sense if there was a willing seller as in this case, Mutu said.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said the current process was about acknowledging past wrongs and providing redress for the Crown's "egregious conduct".

With any grievance, there had to be an end to the process, he said.

"However, it would be wrong to see full and final agreements on redress as the end of a transaction. It is the beginning of a restored relationship, and it is in the hands of the Treaty partners how that relationship develops and flourishes."

Wilson's comments come soon after five Māori women leaders with connections to the party filed an urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal alleging that the Government is underfunding and undermining Whānau Ora.

Wilson said the Treaty process would also be an election issue for the Māori Party, ousted from Parliament in 2017 after Labour won all Māori electorates.

Based on National's current statements on Ihumātao, the Treaty process, and policing, the Māori Party would "struggle" to work with them, Wilson said, but he wasn't ruling anything out, yet.

"We can't really comment on any kind of relationship until after September 19. We are keen to have conversations with Labour, but we are not cutting ourselves out from talking to all parties after the 19th."