Labour MP Kelvin Davis says many Māori feel disenfranchised and believe the political system is stacked against them.
Last week the Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill passed its third reading which gives iwi and hapū in Hawke's Bay more say in council-making decisions.
Mr Davis said there was not enough Māori representation in local government given that tāngata whenua were a Treaty partner.
He said the current government system was not ideal.
"Māori just seem disenfranchised and feel disenfranchised by this whole system, we feel to an extent that it is rigged against us.
"Whether that's true or not, that's the perception that many Māori have and they've been asked to participate in a system that they often don't believe is in their best interests."
Mr Davis said there needed to be a mature conversation without talking about racism and pointing fingers - that would allow Māori to move forward.
"Māori occupy in general the bottom ends of all our statistics and if Māori had real genuine opportunity to participate in local government and central government decision making and put our views across in a whole heap of ways then we could turn a lot of those statistics around."
He said Māori could prosper as well as anyone else in New Zealand, but iwi needed more representation.