Iwi have pushed pause on a new partnership plan with the South Taranaki District Council to strengthen the rules.
Since November last year the council and the four iwi in South Taranaki have been drawing up the Iwi-Council Partnership Strategy.
Council officers had recommended the Iwi Liaison Committee approve a draft strategy and send it to the full council for adoption next week.
Te Korowai o Ngāruahine's pouhautū Emma Gardiner said the strategy needed to be stronger.
"The goals are quite diluted. They're a mixture of goals, actions and protocols –– we probably need to flesh that out so it's a strategy."
Ngāti Ruanui's policy and strategy advisor Graham Young said the iwi had suggestions to make the partnership rules more active.
He pointed to a clause that iwi and council "explore and actively promote" decision-making and co-governance partnerships.
"We've put 'promote and establish' on the basis that it's a more active statement… There's a connection between exploring and then establishing an active decision-making arrangement."
Young said collective decision making was not a challenge to the council's legislated final decision-making power.
"It merely means that if we go there collectively, and reach a collective point, and if council makes a decision based on that collective point – that would be partnership working in this strategy."
Chief executive Waid Crockett said Council was obliged to consult and engage iwi on all policies, strategies and plans.
He said taking another couple of steps when making important decisions did not undermine the council's power.
"This starts to tick the box about collective decision making… Council is the final decision maker around statutory plans and the like anyway, but this is providing a decision-making process along the way."
Te Kāhui o Taranaki's John Niwa said the iwi needed time to make sure the strategy was correct.
"Do we understand, Māori and others, what we are all in for? This is historical. It's got to be right, it's got to be clear what we're going into partnership with and for."
The Iwi Liaison Committee resolved to incorporate suggested changes to the partnership agreement and reconsider it at its next meeting.