A senior Victoria University lecturer specialising in Maori Politics says a threat by the Maori Party to pull its support for the Government over its over partial asset sales shows the caucus is serious.
The party, headed by co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, is concerned the Government will leave out Treaty of Waitangi provisions in new legislation that will pave the way for the partial sale of four state-owned assets.
The Maori Party caucus supports National through a confidence and supply agreement but Mrs Turia says the issue could be a deal breaker.
Dr Maria Bargh says the next three years are crucial for the Maori Party to reassert its independence.
She says the threat shows the party is serious about its bottom line.
If National removes treaty clauses in the new legislation, Dr Bargh says the rights of tangata whenua would be eroded.