Yesterday’s national hui on water rights has resulted in the best possible outcome for Maori, a decision to present a unified front in the face of National’s divide and rule tactics. Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:
Maori speak as one on water rights
A 1000-strong gathering of Maoridom has voted to boycott the Government’s fast-track consultation over asset sales and agreed to a united front on Maori water rights.
In the biggest threat to the Government’s asset sales programme so far, Maori representing some of the country’s biggest and smallest tribes descended on Ngaruawahia’s Turangawaewae Marae for the gathering – a show of strength after the Government rejected a Waitangi Tribunal call for a national hui on water.
The hui, convened by Maoridom’s King Tuheitia, overwhelmingly backed a resolution calling on the Government to halt the sale of power company shares until it had thrashed out a framework recognising Maori proprietary rights in water.
It also backed a resolution for that framework to be agreed before iwi and hapu enter into negotiations with the Crown over their water claims – and warned they could test the case in court if the Government worked around it.
Finally, it agreed that Maori should speak with one voice on the issue – a new body representing Maori interests across the spectrum will be set up to spearhead the negotiations instead.