Māori values feature in freshwater discussion paper

A discussion document
on the management of freshwater has been released
by the government today. It aims to improve the way
freshwater is managed in NZ and it has a particular focus
on Maori values for freshwater. For more on this paper, we cross to our political reporter
in Wellington, Irena Smith. Irena. Water rights are important to Maori
because of its intrinsic value. The Health and Mauri of the Water
is the title in this report that details the connection
and value Maori place on water and the role Maori play
in its conservation. Environment Minister Amy Adams says
the most important lesson to learn from the paper is that Maori
and non-Maori share the same outlook on water. What is in the discussion document
that we need to know about? It’s all about improving
the quality of our fresh water, and it’s up to the communities
and the councils who make those important decisions. The big question is whether
Maori values will hold any weight when it comes to the crunch. What has been the response
from iwi leaders regarding these proposals
to fresh water management? Iwi leaders have been working
with the government for a while now in regards to Maori’s rights
to water, as well as, who has the power
to allocate water shares. Toby Curtis of Te Arawa says even though non-Maori
have started to grasp Maori customs, they still need to understand that Maori value water
differently to others. The government is listening to us, but they have yet to take any action
to back up their words. They’re still considering
their option. Next week we’ll be talking
to the Minister, giving our opinion on the issues
raised in the report. So where to from here Irena? The public can now send in their
submissions on this matter, and consultation meetings
will be held in two months’ time. However, Labour’s spokesperson
on water, Meka Whaitiri, has already opposed the plan. She says there’s no proper plan
in place for councils to reach the level required,
Scotty. Irena Smith
thank you for your report.

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