Legal action by two iwi over the sale of public land for housing in Auckland could have huge ramifications for Maori, the co-leader of the Maori Party says.
Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui will ask the High Court to clarify whether they should have been offered the surplus Crown land for purchase first.
Prime Minister John Key said the Government was quite within its rights to do what it wanted to do, which was release more land for housing.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the legal action is the best course of action, and the Government should join the iwi in seeking clarification from the court.
"I think that the Crown should also have some part in taking a joint approach to deal with it because it does have huge ramifications for all the other iwi."
Ngāti Whātua spokesperson Ngarimu Blair has said that, under Treaty settlements in 1995 for Waikato-Tainui and 2014 for Ngāti Whātua, the iwi have the right of first refusal when the government plans to privatise land.
However Mr Key said yesterday the Government was very sure of its legal position regarding the land.
"[We are] quite entitled to use existing government land for a stated government purpose, which in this case is the provision of housing.
"We've done this before, it's not new, so we did this in Christchurch for instance, where Ngai Tahu had first right of refusal and carried on down this path."
Labour Party leader Andrew Little is questioning whether Dr Smith is up to the job as Minister for Building and Housing.
He said iwi would not be pushing the issue if they did not have a strong case and Dr Smith had failed to do his homework.