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 the iwi is expected to be the biggest yet.
Ngati Hine leader Pita Tipene said Te Kotahitanga and the runanga board, Tuhoronuku, are edging closer to agreement on the makeup of a mandated body.
But he said one sticking point is the need for negotiators to be squeaky clean, to declare it if they are not, and to undergo police checks.
Mr Tipene said the hapu is also adamant the Ngapuhi runanga should not have a seat at the negotiating table as of right.