Kelvin Davis says obliteration of Māori Party a vote for Labour

Labour co-leader Kelvin Davis has defended the party's sweeping of the Māori electorates, calling it a "historic" moment.

The move wiped out the Māori Party, with co-leader Marama Fox telling The Hui on Sunday she had worked harder than any "waste of space" Labour MP.

But rather than it being seen as a vote against the Māori Party or National, Mr Davis said it was a vote for Labour.

"A block of 13 MPs in one Parliament, Māori MPs, in one party, is a historic occasion," he told The Hui. "Let's use the strength of those numbers to get those gains we're after."

If Labour didn't form a coalition and were in Opposition, the deputy leader says his party will work tirelessly to repay the faith voters had placed in them.

"We have to do the business because Māoridom has said Labour."

But with a National-New Zealand First coalition Government looking likely, Mr Davis said Labour would be fighting "every step of the way" to stop a referendum on the Māori seats.

"The Labour Party will not allow that to happen without a massive fight. Any attempt to get rid of them will be fought vigorously."

Mr Davis hasn't yet reached out to nor heard from Winston Peters, but doesn't think it's appropriate for him to make any moves yet.

"It just depends on the way the conversation heads from today. We could form a Government, and that's what we're aiming for.

"The result isn't actually over yet. The Government has lost their majority to govern - more people voted for change than for the status quo."

It was up to the 13 Māori MPs to get out there and do the work whether they're electorate or list MPs, he said.

Singling out newly elected names on Labours' list, he mentioned Kiritapu Allan, Willie Jackson, and Willow-Jean Prime as strong leaders.