05 February 2020
Waikato-Tainui leaders are calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government to deal with the issue of iwi rights and interests in freshwater without further delay.
Iwi Chairs met the Prime Minister earlier today to discuss a range of Iwi-Crown partnership issues, including freshwater.
“We join other iwi leaders in calling the government to account on this fundamental issue which has remained unresolved for too long,” says Waikato-Tainui Chief Executive Donna Flavell.
“We have waited patiently for the government to engage with us as Treaty partners to discuss freshwater, but we’re still waiting.
“We have asked the Prime Minister to bring her Ministers to the table so we can work on resolving this issue and to stop using delay tactics,” Ms Flavell says.
Te Whakakitenga o Waikato Chair Parekawhia McLean says the tribe is united with other iwi on urging the government to engage on the issue.
“We have advised the government of our frustrations in the way it has developed policy without engaging us as properly as Treaty partners, and we are prepared to explore all avenues to assert our rights in this area.”
Ms McLean pointed to the co-governance framework for the Waikato River as a successful engagement model for iwi, Crown and local authorities.
“This framework is embedded in our settlement and gives effect to our legal rights – a model that could be applied to recognising Waikato-Tainui’s rights and interests in freshwater.”