Most Māori don't care about foreshore and seabed - Jackson

The head of Labour's Māori caucus claims the country has moved on from the foreshore and seabed debacle.

The controversy under Helen Clark's Government led to a split between Labour and tangata whenua, out of which the Māori Party was born.

Willie Jackson told Three's The Hui on Sunday the issue has been put to rest.

"This waffle about foreshore and seabed is exactly that. I think most of our people don't care - that's why they voted against the Maori Party. They care about housing, health and education."

The Māori Party was bundled out of Parliament at the election, winning no seats and falling well below the 5 percent threshold.

Mr Jackson says it's no longer needed.

"What's done is done, what's gone is gone. We will never, ever do that foreshore and seabed stuff again."

There's one Clark-era policy he's keen to see come back, however.

The controversial 'Closing the Gaps' scheme to help Māori and Pasifika could be revived by the new Government. The programme was wound down in the early 2000s following Pākehā backlash.

That racial resentment was harnessed by Don Brash in his infamous Orewa speech in 2004, which led to a revival of the National Party, which almost won the 2005 election.

Mr Jackson told The Hui Labour's 13 tangata whenua MPs will be pushing for big changes.

"It might be something like Closing the Gaps - something along those lines."

NZ First leader Winston Peters has previously described the policy as "social apartheid". His party is now in coalition with Labour.