“The Prime Minister continues to stick his head in the sand by his refusal to deal directly with the New Zealand Māori Council on water,” said Council co-chair Maanu Paul today at Waitangi.
“The Waitangi Tribunal’s report into the first part of our claim against the Crown was very positive, and Council has now released its water policy framework which sets out comprehensively how Māori proprietary interests in water should be recognised,” added Council co-chair Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie.
Maori Council and the Crown are preparing for the second stage of the Waitangi Tribunal hearings, deferred at the request of the Crown. In the meantime, John Key continues to refuse to talk to Council, preferring instead to talk to the commercially focussed Iwi Leaders Forum.
“Council has been working with Iwi leaders on a combined policy, and while some Iwi commercial interests in water may in some cases clash with cultural obligations of protection and pragmatic concerns of continuing supply, we all realise that water as a resource is finite and needs a national solution,” Sir Edward stated. “Water issues go beyond conservation or irrigation. While this government continues to focus solely on narrow interest groups and short term gains, Māori have to look at the bigger picture and the long term.”
“Our concern, as reiterated by us repeatedly since before we took the Water case to the Tribunal, and stressed by our people at our public forum here yesterday, is for the future of our mokopuna. And that includes Mr Key’s grandchildren. We must get this right now, the rangatahi have told us,” Mr Paul said.
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