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NZ Maori Council prepares for battle on freshwater

The New Zealand Maori Council has told the Government that the latest report regarding freshwater is an absolute indictment on inaction and it is well past time for the Crown to respond to the demands of Maori about a discussion of ownership rights. Matthew Tukaki, the Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, has said that the Crowns handling of freshwater policy over many decades has shown a complete failure in the system and more so with the advent of the involvement of Local and Regional Governments in the consenting process;

“Here is the reality, and lets muck around with this, is that over successive Governments the number of at risk waterways in New Zealand has more than tripled. Our native and freshwater species have seen significant declines all at a time when Local and Regional Government have got into the business of water sales that has led to a consenting process out of control and the over allocation of water resources – not with standing ask any Iwi or hapu who have travelled a journey with these Councils about their stories of being locked out – what has been happening is half a cup of madness and half a cup of stupid.” Tukaki said

“Then we have had the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal report into freshwater with a whole series of recommendations including Maori interests and rights that remain unaccounted for. The lets labor the point about the fact that Central, Local and Regional Government have underinvested in freshwater infrastructure to the tune of billions over the years. What needs to happen is the settlement of the historical question of Maori rights and interests.” Tukaki said

“Now in fairness the Minister, David Parker, is doing an amazing job trying to pull this whole thing together having to navigate a whole series of interests (mostly vested) to try and put something together that is coherent and achievable – but I’ll say again this cannot happen in isolation to responding to Maori interests and rights.” Tukaki said

“On Monday this week the Maori Council convened the National Water Working Group consisting of Water claimants, Iwi, Hapu and experts to being the process of focusing on three tracks: Policy reform and working on all aspects of the Resource Management Act, programs of work and innovative policies, 2 the path towards the High Court for a determination on Maori interests and ownership rights and 3 looking at the geothermal claim.” Tukaki said

“What we need to do is join the working group together with the Crown and move quickly together to knock this historical kaupapa out of the park so we can have a future where the flow is reversed from degradation to a future where our whanau can for once in a generation enjoy clean water not skank.” Tukaki said

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