Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox says Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis is a "token gesture."
Speaking to Patrick Gower during a Newshub Facebook live, Ms Fox said she wouldn't be surprised if Mr Davis was no longer deputy after the election.
"He's there to attract the Māori vote, to say, 'We finally respect you Māori mā, and we put one of your own up as a deputy leader."
Ms Fox and the Māori Party are in fierce competition against Labour in the Māori electorate seats. If the Māori Party can't grow its party vote, Ms Fox faces the very real possibility of not making it back into Parliament, despite taking the first spot on the party's list.
The accusation of a powerless Māori leadership in Labour was part of an argument Ms Fox was making about why the Māori Party needs to be in Parliament alongside Labour.
Ms Fox said if it was up to her, she would choose to work with Labour over National after the election because she's "probably a bit left-leaning".
But she said the reason the Māori Party need to be in Parliament is because Labour's "not the Labour-Māori Party. That's the Labour-Pākehā Party".
Ms Fox said Māori members of Labour "still have to go cap in hand to their leadership to get permission to do something like compulsory te reo Māori in schools."
"That tells me you do not have independent voice inside the Labour Party and their contention as we go around the traps is saying that, 'You don't need the Māori Party. You've got us inside the Labour Party.' And I say to them, 'Weak. Weak.'"
Turning her attention to Kelvin Davis, Ms Fox said he looks like a token gesture and implied he'd been disrespected by the leadership.
"I don't believe that he will be there after the election. His performance with Paula Bennett had him told off. The day after they announced him, he was told off.
"If they are going to do that to one of their Māori MPs who is the Deputy Leader, the possible Deputy Prime Minister of this country, what hope have we got that they are ever going to be the bastion point of kaupapa Māori issues for that party?
"I'm proud of having a Māori in that position, but it looks to me like he's been the token gesture who's been told off over and over again every time he takes his foot and steps out of line."
During the interview, Ms Fox said she was disappointed in the way the Green Party "turned on each other" when two members said they would not stand for re-election unless Metiria Turei stood down.
Ms Fox said she spoke to Ms Turei during the weeks of turmoil and told her she was a good MP and should stay in Parliament, but said she did not approve of Ms Turei claiming an additional accomodation allowance.