Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples used his State of the Maori Nation address at Waitangi on Saturday night to defend the party's coalition deal with the National Party.
Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has criticised the coalition and also the party's backing of the revised foreshore and seabed legislation.
During his speech, Dr Sharples said working outside the Government had done little for Maori.
He said the coalition with National means the party has a better chance of creating legislation, which benefits Maori.
Dr Sharples also said there is grassroots support for the party's position on the foreshore and seabed bill, which he says is simply better than the current law.