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Ed Sheeran

New water regime needed before progress

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Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana says a system needs to be put in place that recognises Maori interests in water before more irrigation schemes are done.

The giant Ruataniwha scheme to irrigate the central Hawkes Bay has hit a major obstacle with the High Court ordering the rules over pollution levels be rewritten, because they were based on submissions made by the scheme’s promoters after hearings had finished.

Mr Tomoana says Ngati Kahungunu Inc opposed the scheme because it wants the Tukituki River catchment restored to health, but it also supports economic development.

He says iwi leaders are meeting Government ministers monthly to develop a statutory framework for defining Maori rights and interests.

"What the Ruataniwha dam scheme highlighted was that water would then become a tradable commodity. As Ngati Kahungunu we are not afraid of that move, as long as proprietary rights and interests of Maori have been recognised in the first instance right across the country. We think you would get better management, better allocation, better water quality from that point on," Mr Tomoana says.

 

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