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Ed Sheeran

Māori locked out of water access debate

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An advisor to the Iwi Chairs Forum says ownership lies at the heart of any discussions about the preservation and allocation of New Zealand’s water.

Tina Porou says iwi are still looking at the detail about the Government’s new Kāhui Wai Māori freshwater forum, and every iwi will have its own ideas about what rights and interests they should have in water.

But what they share is an environment where for more than a century the way water has been allocated has amounted to a form of ownership, with Māori locked out.

That conversation about rights and interests seems to be missing from the Government’s plan.

"A whole lot of people who are not Māori generally have access to water and want to keep that access to water. That has caused for us a growing concern because it is locking out an open conversation about what it is going to take to stop water decline in the country and also to equitably share access to water, not just for Māori but also for the betterment of our awa," Ms Porou says.

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