New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says budget cuts at Te Puni Kokiri are the realisation of the National Party's long-term goal to shut the ministry down.
Mr Peters was the Maori Affairs Minister who oversaw the replacement of the former Maori Affairs Department with Te Puni Kokiri in 1991.
He told Morning Report that TPK is being sacrificed to fund Whanau Ora which, he said, is not supported by empirical evidence that it will be effective.
Mr Peters said National has been trying to shut down Te Puni Kokiri ever since the ministry was established.
Job cuts will gut TPK - Labour
The Labour Party says cutting 50 jobs at Te Puni Kokiri will gut the organisation.
Ministry of Maori Development staff were told on Wednesday that up to 50 jobs may go in order to save $8 million over the next four years.
Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says Te Puni Kokiri is a small ministry, but is influential and valuable to Maori.
He says cutting 50 jobs will leave a huge hole in the ministry.