Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is in the spotlight after saying homeless people should squat in abandoned red zone houses to combat the lack of adequate housing.
However the message from the Maori Affairs Minister contradicts that of his National party colleague and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee, who is maintaining there is no Christchurch housing crisis.
Sharples said he has heard cases of terrible living conditions in the quake-affected city.
"I said if there are houses that are not dangerous then they should squat in there rather than die in the car," Sharples said.
Brownlee responded by saying it is inappropriate for people to squat in the red zone, and inappropriate for Sharples to make the suggestion.
But Sharples is standing by his statement.
"It's the ethical, moral thing really but I've tried to get hold of Minister Brownlee to apologise," said Sharples.
Labour was quick to point out the difference of opinion between the pair at Parliament today.
"Who is right, the Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples who says he is shocked at the hardship and the housing crisis in Christchurch, or Gerry Brownlee and himself who has declared there is no housing crisis," said Labour's housing spokesperson Annette King.
Figured released by Labour show there are nearly 800 vacant
state houses in Christchurch, many of them waiting to be repaired