Te Pāti Māori have called for the resignation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade chief executive Chris Seed after the erasure of te reo Māori from some briefing papers.
The move was made by the CEO last week, without any prior consultation while the country waits for a new government to be formed.
Te Pāti Māori said: “[Seed] is either bowing to the anti-Māori rhetoric that was prevalent throughout the election campaign, or he has only been paying lip service to te reo Māori until we had a change of government.”
Both co-leaders of the party have also expressed concern with the decision.
“The ministry is happy to sell our culture and language overseas while showing no respect for it at home,” said Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi.
“If this is how you are going to treat te iwi Māori behind closed doors then you are unfit for office and need to step down.”
Meanwhile co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said she is “deeply concerned” the move signals “things to come under a new government”.
Last week, the Public Service Association’s Marcia Puru called the ministry’s move “ridiculous”.
“It’s gotta be stopped and we’ve gotta challenge this behaviour that we’re starting to see already prior to the ministers being sworn in,” said Puru.
“We think that it’s a progression of the racist rhetoric that we’ve seen.”
At this stage, it is unclear what the incoming government’s position on te reo use will be as coalition talks continue.
In a statement, MFAT told 1News the use of te reo within the ministry and across its communication channels “remains unchanged”.
However, it admits it has made an adjustment to one briefing template while the government is still being formed.
“We have made an adjustment to one template during the caretaker period,” the statement read.
“The Ministry will consult with the incoming Minister for their preferences on receiving advice.”