Press Release – Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group
Appropriately recognising and providing for iwi rights and interests in freshwater is critical to developing a durable and sustainable water management regime, the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group said today.Govt Report a Welcome Step Towards Iwi Rights and Interests
Appropriately recognising and providing for iwi rights and interests in freshwater is critical to developing a durable and sustainable water management regime, the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group said today.
The Group welcomed the release today of the Government’s Freshwater Reform 2013 and Beyond paper.
“Freshwater is one of New Zealand’s most important resources and how we manage, use, and protect this resource is of critical importance to all New Zealanders,” Sir Tumu Te Heuheu said on behalf of the Group.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has been actively engaged in discussing these important issues for several years, both directly with the government and with wider stakeholders, including the Land and Water Forum. The release of the Government’s consultation paper provides an opportunity to engage a wider audience in this important discussion.
There are significant challenges for freshwater in this country as both the quality and quantity of this resource comes under increasing pressure from use and development. The way forward needs to balance appropriate sustainable development and economic growth with the inherent value of a healthy environment and our obligations to future generations. This will only be achieved with a widespread understanding of the challenges and potential solutions.
Appropriately recognising and providing for iwi rights and interests in freshwater is also critical to developing a durable and sustainable water management regime that provides the certainty required for ongoing investment in the economy. In this respect, the consultation paper is but a starting point and much more focused work is required throughout the reform process to satisfactorily address the issue of iwi rights and interests.
The Group looks forward to continuing to engaging with the Government and all stakeholders on both the proposals outlined in the consultation paper and the medium- to long-term actions that will be required to address these important freshwater issues.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group will also be convening a series of regional hui and a national hui this year to discuss the freshwater issue as a whole with iwi.
The Group firmly believes that ongoing discussions at both a national and local level will bring about a greater understanding of the benefits that can be achieved for both our waterways and the nation as a whole in a freshwater framework that appropriately recognises iwi rights and interests alongside the interests of other stakeholders and the wider community.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all iwi in relation to fresh water through direct engagement with the Crown. The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group comprises the leaders of Ngai Tahu, Whanganui, Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa and Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu and reports regularly to all iwi through the national Iwi Chairs Forum.