January 31, 2020
Iwi leaders push mandate for partnership
Iwi leaders hope for serious engagement with the Government during their forum at Waitangi next week.
While the previous National-led Government indicated it considered the Iwi Leaders Forum a treaty partner, Labour and New Zealand First have kept it at arm's length, preferring other ways to take the pulse of Māoridom.
Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa says last year at Waitangi the Prime Minister said she was happy to be held accountable by Māori, and the forum intends to do that.
He says the key to the engagement must be the strength of the mandate, and all 76 iwi chairs are democratically-elected.
“That’s a fairly strong national mandate of communities and with that, we hope we can kick off again on some of our discussions, particularly around water but also around housing, and try to get ourselves back in a situation where we can make a difference to the Government’s agenda and they can make a difference to ours,” Mr Piripi says.
He says the answers don’t all lie with structural reforms at government level, and iwi can be partners in the solutions.
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