Te Pāti Māori says it will not stand a candidate in the upcoming Tauranga by-election because of the threat from white supremacists.
The election is to replace former National Party leader Simon Bridges, who is retiring from politics.
Te Pāti Māori president Che Wilson says its co-leaders have been the recipient of threats and hate speech by Tauranga residents.
"The first hate-speech conviction and the belittling of te reo Māori at a public event took place in Tauranga," Wilson says in a statement released this morning.
"Residents have been subjected to white supremacist leaflet drops, and even our co-leaders have been the recipient of threats and hate speech by Tauranga residents."
Wilson references an Internal Affairs report from last month. He also says Tauranga is a hot spot for white supremacists on social media.
"We know Tauranga Moana is an amazing place, rich with history and there is hope ... but sadly, this is politics and the race card will mean that Māori will be used by some as a political football and we are unwilling to expose our people to that rubbish," Wilson says.
Wilson says the decision not to stand a candidate is a safety issue.
Nominations for candidates close on May 17, with election day being June 18.
So far, National, Labour, ACT, New Nation Party, the NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party, the New Conservative Party, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and an independent candidate have confirmed they are standing a candidate in the by-election.
A full list of candidates will be confirmed and released at 4pm on May 17.