A bill that aims to entrench the Māori seats in parliament has been introduced to the house.

The proposed legislation passed its first reading thanks to support from New Zealand First.

The party, led by Winston Peters, still wants a national referendum to decide the fate of Māori electorates.

Rino Tirikatene's bill would give the seven Māori seats the same protection as the general seats, meaning a 75% majority is needed to overturn them.

Currently, Māori seats can be abolished with a majority of just 51% and Tirikatene says Labour applaud the opposition changing their mind. 

"Just grateful for their tautoko that we could get it to this next phase and will see where we go."

But Shane Jones of NZ First says don't be fooled. 

"Kei pōhēhē a wai rānei kei te tautoko tō mātou rōpū i te pire ki tōna whakamutunga mō te wahanga tuatahi anahenahe."

He also says NZ First's stance is that a referendum should decide the fate of Māori electorates. 

"Me tō mātou hiahia me whakauru he wāhanga ki roto mā te motu katoa e whakatau mēnā ka noho ka murua rānei nga tūru Māori."

It is our desire that a provision is added to allow the country to have a referendum on the whether the Māori seats are kept or not. 

With two more hurdles before it becomes law, who knows which way the two coalition partners will swing.