The Waitangi Tribunal has agreed that the WAI 2358 – Water Claim remains one of priority, and it has decided that the Stage 2 inquiry should take place in early 2016. That will be after the Crown’s consultation on water reform, which is planned to finish in February 2016, and before “final” Crown decisions on water reform have been made. Tribunal hearings at that stage will enable the Crown’s decisions to be informed by a Tribunal report on the Treaty compliance of the Crown’s water reform options.
Reflecting that priority status of the Claim, the Tribunal has also directed claimants to begin the preparation of whatever evidence they consider will be necessary for Stage 2 hearings, noting that some of the claimants proposed evidence “will be essential for the evaluation of whichever policy options are put out for consultation in 2016”.
That proposed evidence, which the claimants will now begin assembling, includes:
- Scientific evidence: including on the current state of water degradation and any scientific ‘bottom lines’ that will be relevant to Treaty-consistent reforms
- Evidence on shortcomings in existing RMA processes: including procedural and substantive failures of these processes to recognise and provide for Māori
- Evidence on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: including the relevant indigenous rights ‘bottom line’ set out in it
- Evidence on financial modelling: including on how to calculate compensation for (past) expropriation of Māori rights and interests in water.
View the Waitangi tribunal decision below:
Wai 2358, 2.5.56 decision on application for adjournment