The Maori Party's political survival is on the line over water rights, according to some movers and shakers within Maoridom.
The party has a crunch meeting with the Government on the issue on Wednesday, and its leaders are facing increasing pressure to cut ties with National over a controversial comment from John Key.
Key said the Government could ignore the Waitangi Tribunal's findings on water rights.
Maori Council co-chair Maanu Paul said the Maori Party had become "virtually useless" at representing Maori.
"Well you see they went in on the premise that they were representing all Maori. That is a nonsense now."
Wednesday's meeting is now seen, for some Maori, as something like a gunslingers' final showdown.
"Their political life is almost at the 'OK Corral stage,'" said Paul.
Traditional political opponents are also dumping on the Maori Party for supporting National.
"When you're given the baubles of the Crown to sit at a table and you are going to have those baubles taken away, it does sometimes impact on moral appropriateness," said Mana Party president Annette Sykes.
ONE News political editor Corin Dann said given the tribunal has not reported back, it seems unlikely the Maori Party would walk away from Government just yet.
But they have not ruled it out and Dann says given the pressure now coming on from within Maoridom, the likelihood of a bust up down the track is increasing.
The Maori Party would not be interviewed today, but issued a statement saying the focus should be on the water rights claim, not party politics.
Meanwhile, the Government said it remains confident about what it calls constructive discussions it is having with the iwi leaders group about water rights.
That is despite the group signalling it is also keen to also support the Maori Council's water ownership bid now in front of the Waitangi Tribunal.