03 February 2015
Maori rights to fresh water is firmly on the agenda this week at Waitangi for both the New Zealand Maori Council and the Iwi Leaders Group.
The council will hold an open forum at Te Tii Marae on Thursday to discuss its water policy proposal, Maori representation, Maori wardens and te reo Maori policy.
Co-chair Maanu Paul says the council wants to report back to te iwi Maori about what it has achieved over the past year and what is coming in the year ahead.
Up the road in Kerikeri, iwi leaders will talk among themselves about their attempts to influence the government’s freshwater allocation policy.
Advisor Willie Te Aho says the freshwater iwi leadership group was told last week that cabinet has approved a timetable to get an agreement by May on over-allocation and on defining rights and interests for hapu and iwi.
He says with some regions likely to experience lower rainfall because of climate change, new allocation systems are critical.
“We’ve got some areas that are pressurised for water. You see Canterbury and the droughts going through. Well that is an over allocated catchment. We have got to delve into the hard issues of how we look after the water source itself. How we recognise the mana of the water source and then we deal with the allocation of water over and above that to the different industries ” says Willie Te Aho
Meanwhile the NZ Federation of Freshwaters Anglers has warned against the approach to water trading taken by the New Zealand Maori Council policy.
President David Haynes says while the document suggests water for commercial use should only be available once environmental and domestic needs had been satisfied, the charge it proposes on all commercial water takes will establish the concept of tradable water rights.
He says taking the fisheries quota management system as an example, its likely the system would be hijacked as big commercial users lobby cash-strapped councils and governments to set water takes and pollution discharge at levels which would compromise the life supporting capacity of rivers and lakes.
Water quality is always major issue around the world. It always make me sick when people blames climate change for water quality and other problem on planet Earth because climate always changes around world and it well never cease. There times when there is warm periods and cold periods in the past and will be in the future.