Freshwater plan lacks treaty partnership

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu acknowledges the intent of the announcement today by Minister Parker, “Action on Healthy Waterways” but notes the resources required to deliver the reforms will be significant and the devil is in the detail.

Of greater concern to the iwi is the lack of acknowledgement by the Crown of its Treaty responsibilities.

“Our 1997 Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement is a legal contract with the Crown. It confirms our Treaty relationship and tino rangatiratanga. The current national body is not reflective of this partnership and was set up in opposition to direction from Ngāi Tahu. We will only speak directly with the Crown about solutions that work in our takiwa (region).

Over 75% of all irrigated land in New Zealand is in Canterbury and Otago,” says Ngāi Tahu freshwater spokesperson, Dr Te Maire Tau.

“Ngāi Tahu has spent the past decade investigating water issues both locally and internationally. We know it is possible to develop a science-based system that satisfies iwi, recreational users and the farmers, he said.

The Essential Freshwater reform has been released for consultation just one week after the Wai 2358 Stage 2 Report was released by the Waitangi Tribunal. Key findings of the Waitangi Tribunal report included that the Resource Management Act is not Treaty compliant and that there is a need for Māori to have greater participation in management and decision-making of the resource. These findings are not reflected in the document.