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Posted by karere under Maori News
The Maori King, King Tuheitia, has called a national water hui on water rights for all Maori, just days after the Government rejected calls for one from the Waitangi Tribunal.
It will be held at the Turangawaewae Marae at Ngaruawahia next week.
The Government this week pushed out a share float for Mighty River Power, the first partial sale of four state-owned energy companies, from November until next March.
It followed a Waitangi Tribunal report calling for the sales to be delayed until a mechanism could be established to compensate iwi who have freshwater claims in the companies’ catchment areas.
The Government has been negotiating with the Iwi Leaders Group - which represents New Zealand’s largest tribes - on water issues, not directly to the Maori Council which took the claim to the Tribunal.
The council and other claimant groups with interests in the areas affected by the asset sales yesterday met to discuss possible court action against the Government. The Government wants to settle water rights through direct negotiation with individual iwi.
King Tuheitia spokesman Tuku Morgan today said next week’s hui would unite all Maori.
“This national summit is for everyone, to enable all Maori across the political landscape, across the tribal landscape, to come together so we can have a significant discussion about how we expect to resolve in a cohesive way, the issue of the ownership of water,” he told Radio New Zealand.
Labour leader David Shearer today said Prime Minister John Key would have to attend the national water hui.
“You can’t really have a hui and not have him, or the National Party, turn up.”
Negotiations on water rights could not be rushed.
“You can’t just push them through in a few weeks and that’s what he’s trying to do in order to get the asset sales off the ground,” he told TV3’s Firstline programme.
The Tribunal report warned the Government would be breaching the Treaty of Waitangi if it went ahead with asset sales before water rights were settled.
Cabinet rejected most of the Tribunal’s recommendations, which included a national hui and pan-Maori water settlement, and a “shares-plus” deal to give iwi claimants veto rights over management decisions.
Key has said the Government will spend five weeks consulting with iwi over the shares-plus option but has said the Government is unlikely to change its position.
Meanwhile, the Hawke’s Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu has lodged a claim with the Tribunal over its rights to New Zealand’s second largest aquifer. Other claims could also follow the Tribunal’s report.
- © Fairfax NZ News[here]