February 12, 2016
Iwi group pushes government to recognise Maori rights to water
The Fresh Water Iwi Leaders Group is pushing the Government to better recognise Maori rights to water.
At Waitangi last week iwi leaders expressed their frustration at progress on the development of new policies through bodies like the Land and Water Forum.
Advisor Willie Te Aho says the group met today in Wellington with officials from the Environment and Conservation ministries to prepare for the release this month of a major discussion document on water policy.
He says every hapu and iwi have rights to water in their rohe, and they should also have a say in the way discharges affect water quality.
The rights are both cultural and economic.
"To some extent Maori have been denied that opportunity from the 1991 Resource Management Act which is a first in, first served, and a lot of our groups have settled in the last decade or two decades, and we have missed out on the opportunity to access water for our economic purposes, so we need to restore that right," he says.
Mr Te Aho says the iwi leaders are holding the Government to the promise it made to the Surpreme Court that it would address the interests of hapu and iwi in fresh water.
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