On the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the Key Government needs to honour its commitments under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) and agree to negotiate with the pan-Maori group on water rights, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
Maori have agreed to create a single forum to negotiate water rights with the Government. John Key has so far not acknowledged this new pan-Maori group and has stated that the Crown will negotiate with Maori iwi by iwi.
The right of indigenous people "to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures" is guaranteed in the DRIP. The Key Government endorsed the DRIP in 2010.
"If the international commitments that New Zealand signs up to are to have any meaning, then the Government must honour them at all times, not just when it is convenient," said Mrs Turei.
"The Key Government must honour the pledges it has made and negotiate in good faith with the representatives that Maori select for themselves on the issue of water rights and asset sales.
"The Key Government also needs to give proper consideration to the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal.
"Bullying the Tribunal into producing an interim report and leaving just one week to consider it does not meet the commitment made by the Government to "a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process ? to recognise and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples".
"Either the international agreements that we sign up to mean something or they are just so many hollow words: which is it Mr Key?" said Mrs Turei.
Relevant articles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Article 18 Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions
Article 27 States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples' laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.
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