February 19, 2020
Audit finds Maori left out of water management
The Auditor-General is calling on local and central government to do more to involve Māori in water management.
In a report tabled in parliament today, John Ryan said a more strategic and integrated approach is needed to address New Zealand’s water management challenges, and more flexibility in the system to resolve water management issues.
While he did not comment on Māori claims to water ownership, he highlighted the Waitangi Tribunal's National Freshwater Report that called for Māori to be involved in co-designing policy involving Māori interests.
The current system for managing water under the Resource Management Act creates an obligation for regional councils and others involved in the process to recognise and provide for the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with water.
However, the commitment required to establish relationships and processes, and to build and maintain a shared understanding of what everyone is trying to achieve, is significant and often underestimated.
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