At today’s meeting of the Iwi Chairs Forum at Turangawaewae Marae more than 45 iwi organisations unanimously passed formal resolutions endorsing the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and its continued engagement with the Crown.
The call for kotahitanga arising from the previous day’s water hui was acknowledged.
However, it was made very clear by the assembled iwi that the mechanisms for working together are matters for each iwi to consider and discuss with their respective hapu and could not be imposed on iwi in some generic way.
"Two things were made clear by the iwi present today", said Sir Tumu te Heuheu, Chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group. "First, it is for each iwi to determine how they wish to advance the issue of their rights and interests in fresh water and it is not a case of one size fits all. Secondly, our current engagement with the Crown must continue given the important decisions that are likely to be made by the Crown over the next three to six months in relation to a new freshwater framework for Aotearoa."
"While matters relating to the sale of SOE shares are important, the focus of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has always been clear," said Chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Mark Solomon. "Our focus is on the Crown’s ongoing review of the framework for freshwater, including important issues of governance, decision-making, limit setting and allocation. Iwi rights and interests have a place across all these issues and must be appropriately recognised."
"It is critical that this engagement continues because the health and wellbeing of our waterways and iwi rights and interests must be at the forefront of any new freshwater system. We are in discussions with the Crown on these issues, not in negotiations, and we will continue to report back and seek further direction from the motu as those discussions progress."
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all iwi in relation to fresh water through direct engagement with the Crown. The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group comprises the leaders of Ngai Tahu, Whanganui, Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa and Tuwharetoa and reports regularly to all iwi through the national Iwi Chairs Forum.
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