Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he "didn't call anybody a house n*****", and New Zealand needs to "mature".
Harawira used social media yesterday to launch a scathing attack on the Maori Party and Prime Minister John Key's handling of the sale of state assets in relation to Maori water rights.
A post appeared on his Facebook page saying: "Time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house n****** what to do, but (2) the rest of us don't give a s*** for him or his opinions!"
The comments have now been deleted, and Harawira told TV ONE's Breakfast that they were aimed at Prime Minister John Key, not at Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples.
"I didn't actually call anybody a house n*****, let's be clear about that, my comment was about the way in which John Key is treating his Maori MPs."
Harawira said if he had wanted to call the Maori Party MPs "house n******" he would have said that outright.
"I notice a comment that Tariana made last night, well I didn't say it Turi so nothing to apologise for. Best she focuses on deciding on whether she is going (to the hui)."
Harawira told Breakfast that he thinks "New Zealand needs to mature", saying he is "not the first person to use the n-word" and "won't be the last".
Harawira yesterday accused Maori Party MP's of following Key's decision to not attend the hui.
The post on his Facebook page had said: "Notice how John Key says none of his Maori MPs are allowed to go to the National Maori Hui on Water ... and two minutes later Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples say that they're not going.
"Not hard to see who's the REAL leader of the Maori Party."
"Oh yeah, and Mr Prime Minister ... when you say that there won't be a national hui on water, please understand that if we want a national hui we're going to have one. OK? And when you say you're not coming, please note ... nobody invited you anyway!!," Harawira commented on Facebook.
He said Maori Party MPs are intelligent people and Key should have let them make up their own mind about whether they want to go to the hui or not.
"They have their own standing in the Maori community and he shouldn't be treating them like he's a plantation owner in Alabama from the 1950s."
"Right from the start of this whole exercise he (Key) opposed the urgency claim, he was scathing in his comments about the tribunal, he was condescending in his comment about the Maori Council, he demanded an early report, he got the report he didn't want and he said he refused to call a hui, he's not going to go to hui and now he's telling all of his Maori MPs he can't go to the hui," he told Breakfast.
The post on Harawira's Facebook page had said he would not be surprised if the Maori Party co-leaders backtrack on the decision.
"What's the bet that Tari and Pete cop so much flak from Maori for saying that they're not going to the hui on water - that they find some reason to change their mind and say they're gonna go now (or send Te Ururoa).
"Knowing how the Maori Party works, they'll have to clear it with John Key first though ... but if they come I'll still be happy to see them - they need to see how p***** off everyone is with these asset sales."
Sharples confirmed yesterday afternoon that he will attend a national hui into water rights, and Harawira told Breakfast he is happy about this.
Sharples' co-leader Turia denies Key told Maori Party members not to attend and said she feels "very resentful" and found the comments by Harawira "extremely insulting and derogatory".
"He's not only talking about me, he's talking about my ancestors, he's talking about my family, the people who I belong to," she said.
King Tuheitia called the national hui, just days after the Government rejected calls for one from the Waitangi Tribunal.
It followed the Prime Minister's announcement that the sale of Mighty River Power will be delayed until March next year.
The Government has rejected most of the Tribunal's recommendations, and will not negotiate a "national" settlement on water rights, instead preferring to do deals iwi by iwi.
Key has said the Government will spend five weeks consulting with iwi over the shares-plus option but has said the Government is unlikely to change its position.
The decision comes after the Waitangi Tribunal ruled the move to float part of the SOE without taking Maori water rights into consideration would be a breach of the treaty.