Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox has warned if Winston Peters sides with National, he could do "a lot of damage".
She also says if Labour hadn't shut the Māori Party out of Government by winning a clean sweep of the Māori electorates, chances are the Māori Party would have sided with Labour, strengthening the left's efforts to form a Government.
"People wanted a change, our voters, Māori voters, wanted to change," she told The AM Show on Thursday. "Not everybody, but the majority of them."
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With NZ First waiting until the official election results are released on October 7 to start negotiations, the Government is in limbo. So is the future of the Māori Party, with Ms Fox saying they'll be getting together later this year to consider the party's future.
"This movement of searching for rangatiratanga through a political movement and a political system and getting advantages for our people, it was a beacon of hope for indigenous peoples all over the world," she said.
"People from all over the world used to come and ask us, 'How do we get this going?'... Having it ripped away makes me think, well, does our country not want that?"
Labour's Willie Jackson ran the party's Māori campaign to oust the previously National-aligned Māori Party from Parliament. Ironically Ms Fox says he's now the "poster for Māori Party policy" in Parliament, with interests in charter schools, Whanau Ora and social housing providers.
"Māori voters have gone back to Labour, and that's fine. There are 13 new Labour MPs, but they're hamstrung by their party. If their party wants to go with Winston... the whole of Māoridom rests on the shoulders of Winston... what have we done?"
Mr Peters does appear to be softening his stance on the Māori seats. He's previously said a referendum on the seats is a bottom line, but in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday night said it was no longer a priority, now the Māori Party has been "smashed".
But Ms Fox thinks he'll still manage to wrangle a lot out of Labour - perhaps even the job of Prime Minister.
"They would give it to him in a heartbeat."