April 17, 2015
Mana o te wai the priority
An advisor for the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group says water quality rather than ownership is the primary concern of iwi.
Willie Te Aho says it’s good a political flurry has arisen now about iwi proposals such as a shift to tradeable rights, as it’s still two years from an election and there is plenty of time to come up with a solution acceptable to a wide group of New Zealanders.
He says Maori have been shut out of the existing regime of water allocation by territorial local governments, which has degraded the nation’s waterways.
They want their values respected.
"Te mana o te wai. It means the water has its own mana. It means you've got to leave enough water in the system to look after the water and the life within it. That hasn't been happening as peole put economic imperatives over te mana o te wai so even though people have focused on allocation our number one priority is looking after the water, getting better quality and addressing the issue of what's taken and what’s discharged back to the water," Mr Te Aho says.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group wind down their information hui on water negotiations over the next few days, with hui at Taupo tomorrow, Tokoroa and Blenheim on Monday and Gisborne, Wairoa and Nelson on Tuesday.
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