April 16, 2015
Brash water bomb unhelpful
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox says some people own water and they’re not Maori.
Prime Minister John Key has leapt into negotiations with iwi leaders over water management by declaring no one owns water, and he won’t do a national water settlement.
His predecessor as National’s leader, Don Brash, has backed him up, saying the party could lose the regions if it gives Maori preferential access in fresh-water reform.
Ms Fox says those sorts of comments are divisive and unhelpful.
She says in most rural areas water is already fully allocated in a way that is akin to ownership.
"Certain sectors of our rural communities have had a monopoly over the water. Anyone who comes into that space who is a new farmer will find themselves without any rights to any water allocatioon, and if they think there is no ownerhip, they are completely wrong, and we need to address that and even out the playing field, and that is what our iwi are trying to do," she says.
Marama Fox says when the issue was discussed with the Iwi Chairs Forum in Waitangi the Government seemed more open to the conversation than they are now.
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