The Maori Party has accepted it would not have a ministerial role in a potential Labour-led government.
Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said based on its historical relationship with Labour, it thought it would have had every possibility of working with them.
But, Labour leader David Cunliffe said his party would only do ministerial deals with two other parties - the Greens and New Zealand First.
Mr Flavell said he was surprised by Mr Cunliffe's statement and if that was how he wished to play the game, then so be it.
He said his party would make sure the Maori voice was retained in Parliament, because under Labour it had always been undermined.
Mr Flavell said the Maori Party was established because that voice was stifled and not given an opportunity to express itself as much as it could have.