No government ministers will take up the Maori King's invitation to attend a national hui on Maori water rights next week.
Waikato-Tainui member Tukuroirangi Morgan says King Tuheitia has called a meeting to take place at Turangawaewae Marae next Thursday, and has invited the Maori Council and politicians to see if they can reach a consensus on water issues.
The announcement comes just days after the government ruled out holding such a meeting, despite the Waitangi Tribunal backing the idea in its interim report on a Maori Council claim to water rights.
Prime Minister John Key is sticking to his guns, saying none of his MPs nor any government ministers will attend.
However, it will be up to Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, who are both ministers, about whether their party attends.
"Whatever might come out of the hui and whatever range of views might be there about rights and interests would have to be proven to the government, and the government would have to accept those, and that will be, in my view, a very long conversation that's going to take place," Mr Key said.
Mr Key announced on Monday that the government will delay the float of 49 per cent of Mighty River Power until March but rather than a national discussion, ministers will consult with affected local iwi.
He says the government does not believe a national settlement with iwi is warranted because any interests affected by the Mighty River sale would be local interests.
Maori Council spokesman Maanu Paul says the group is very likely to lodge court action by the end of the week because of the government's refusal to consult with the council.
However, his remarks took Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall by surprise.
"I know nothing at all about this ... That is not the instruction I have," she told the New Zealand Herald.
Ms Hall said the council will meet on September 15 to discuss the Waitangi Tribunal's full report, which is due by then, and will confirm its plans for any court action then.