Opposition parties are accusing the government of trying to divide Maori groups opposed to asset sales.
They're saying ministers are ignoring the Maori Party and are claiming the Maori Council doesn't represent Maori interests because they want to deal with iwi leaders on a case-by-case basis.
Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia on Monday night met Prime Minister John Key and senior ministers for two hours, and came out with no assurance that the partial privatisation of Mighty River Power would be put on hold.
They're trying to negotiate a delay until the Waitangi Tribunal has decided whether the sale of shares in Mighty River Power and three other energy companies will compromise Maori water rights.
They were told the government wants to keep the first share float on track for November, and Dr Sharples thinks its intransigence will lead to the Maori Council seeking a court injunction.
"The government's strategy has been to try to use the water rights issue to split the opposition to asset sales," Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said on Tuesday.
"It's trying to pitch Pakeha against Maori and Maori against Maori."
Labour says it's clear the Maori Party, which has a support agreement with the government, has no influence over policy.
The government has been dealing with iwi leaders for the last three years to discuss and in some cases settle water rights issues.
It intends continuing to do that, while the Maori Party wants it to negotiate on a national basis with a pan-Maori group set up at a hui on Monday.
The tribunal has told the government it will try to meet its August 24 deadline for a report on Maori water rights, but says it will only be an interim report.
Ministers say a decision on the Mighty River Power share sale has to be made in the first week of September and has given no indication it is going to delay that.
It is going to sell 49 per cent of the shares in Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy and coal miner Solid Energy.