Former Minister of Maori Affairs Dover Samuels says the National Government capitalised on Pita Sharples' vulnerability - because he was Mr 'Good Guy'.
Mr Sharples is quitting as co-leader of the Maori Party - after dragging out a leadership dispute and the loss of party seats.
Mr Samuels said Dr Sharples could have scored more Government gains for Maori through economic development and housing initiatives - gains co-leader Tariana Turia managed to achieve through Whanau Ora.
He said Dr Sharples was Mr Good Guy - and he wanted to acquiesce to all sides.
Mr Samuels said Ms Turia has a sharper insight into Maori politics and the politics of compromise, as opposed to Mr Sharples - who has a background in reconciliation.
Mr Samuels was a Minister of Maori Affairs under Labour.