February 18, 2020
No truce for iwi in water battle
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A far north iwi leader is rejecting a tag from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones that he is selling out his people putting court action ahead of practical steps to improve water infrastructure.
Mr Jones was disappointed the Iwi Chairs Forum voted against a proposal to set aside legal action.
Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa says the iwi chairs fear if they put their claims on hold for five years they will never reclaim their position.
"Our contention is we have an ownership issue in water and until the ownership interest had been recognised and catered to by the government, it's very difficult for us to agree to anything the government wants to do with water, particularly when it comes to allocation and distribution. If he wants us to run before we can walk, that’s what we would be doing," he says.
Mr Piripi says Te Rarawa is working with local government on addressing the water crisis in the far north.
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