October 13, 2020
Water schemes shows wider opportunity missed
New Zealand First Northland candidate Shane Jones says iwi leaders missed a major opportunity with their insistence on fighting through the courts for water rights.
At the start of the year the Iwi Leaders Forum rejected a proposal to park up their litigation while the Government created a fund to support water storage projects.
The opportunity for such a deal has receded, but Mr Jones shows how the concept could work by using COVID recovery and Provincial Growth funding to get the first water storage scheme built on Te Rarawa land at Ahipara and a second consented for land near Kaikohe.
He says New Zealand First stands by its opposition to iwi corporates using the rights to the water that falls from the sky to strengthen their balance sheets.
"What we sought to promote was using the crown balance sheet to meet the upfront cost of creating water storage in those areas where there is underdeveloped Māori land. I think that is absolutely the way to go and the prospect of spending the next 15 to 20 years in front of the Waitangi Tribunal, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, trying to create a raft of property rights for hapū in water is not something I see as a priority," Mr Jones says.
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