The Ngapuhi hapu alliance is insisting on police vetting for all negotiators of the iwi's Treaty settlement.
Te Kotahitanga o Nga Hapu Ngapuhi says no-one with a criminal record involving violence or money offences should play any part in negotiating the deal with the Crown.
The settlement for New Zealand's largest Maori tribe is expected to be the biggest yet.
A Ngati Hine leader, Pita Tipene, says Te Kotahitanga and the runanga board, Tuhoronuku, are edging closer to agreement on the make-up of a mandated body.
But he says one sticking point is still the need for negotiators to be squeaky clean, to declare it if they're not, and to undergo police checks.
Mr Tipene says the hapu is also adamant that the Ngapuhi runanga should not have a seat at the negotiating table as of right.