Te Pāti Māori's Debbie Ngarewa-Packer sees "extreme difficulties" working with parties that oppose the new Māori Health Authority after multiple political polls have shown the party may potentially hold the balance of power at the next election.
Speaking to Q+A with Jack Tame, co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said they would want to work with parties that "don't subjugate Māori".
Two recent political polls suggest Te Pāti Māori will hold the balance of power in the 2023 general election - assuming that co-leader Rawiri Waititi retains his Waiariki seat.
A 1News Kantar Public Poll in March found party vote figures that would result in National and ACT holding 59 seats in Parliament, with Labour and the Greens on 58.
On Tuesday, a new Newshub-Reid Research poll found similar results.
Both polls had the party receiving around 2% of the party vote, which would result in three Te Pāti Māori seats in Parliament.
"There has absolutely got to be a relationship with those who don't subjugate Māori, who don't race-bait, who don't sit there and support policy that are going to be at the detriment of not only our ability to advance but our ability to survive," Ngarewa-Packer said.
Ngarewa-Packer referred to the Government's Pae Ora legislation in her comments. The legislation is intended to reform the health sector and would see the establishment of Health NZ and a new Māori Health Authority. National and ACT opposed the legislation at its first and second readings in Parliament.
"When you see a party that is having problems with legislation, that will be towards a solution of stopping us from dying seven years earlier than everyone else, then I would have extreme difficulties being in any relationship, more or less a conversation, because I cannot gather how somebody would refuse any other human beings that, but specifically, their tangata whenua.
"I think we've been really bold now in pushing back and saying: 'We have to call this out and there's no way that we would ever be able to be in any relation - doesn't matter if they're blue, green, yellow, orange - and it's not just ACT that are playing into that game at the moment."
She continued with pointed criticism of the ACT Party.
"We've got a party like ACT that comes out and then goes to fundraise off the fact that they don't want Te Pāti Māori in, they don't want a tangata whenua voice".
Meanwhile, co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the party would be "kaupapa-driven" as to whether it would negotiate a role of deputy prime minister in a coalition government.
"We don't have ambitions to do that, we are here because we are a kaupapa-driven party and so if it fits well, with our kaupapa to be in one of those positions."
He said a "Tiriti-centric Aotearoa" would be the basis of any negotiations.