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Ed Sheeran

Wider view of Maori rights in RMA reform

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A Whanganui tribal leader says replacing the Resource Management Act is a chance to give hapū and iwi more say about what happens in their communities.

Gerrard Albert is the co-chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group, which is one of five groups in the Māori collective working with government on the new Natural and Built Environments Bill.

He says the RMA failed to provide for Māori because its focus on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi became a way to sideline them.

What’s needed now is recognition that Māori interests are more than cultural and spiritual, but also cover political social, economic and environmental considerations.

"If we are looked after, the community is looked after. Decision making shouldn't be an adversarial process. It should be an inclusive process that recognises our rights up front and then the rights of the resources we are talking about, and then we go ahead and work as a community to look after those resources and ensure everyone is provided for," Mr Albert says.

He says the RMA created a first in, best served approach to resources which hasn’t served the interests of Māori.

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