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Ed Sheeran

Water rights deal possible under Labour

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Labour leader Andrew Little is unimpressed with the way John Key is conducting treaty negotiations by press conference.

The Prime Minister used his post-cabinet press conference this week to decry an Iwi Leaders Group proposal to resolve water claims through mechanisms such as tradable water rights.

He says no one owns water, and he won’t accept a national settlement, although there could be specific local deals with regional councils about specific bodies of water.

Mr Little says the fact Maori have rights to natural resources is clear from the Treaty of Waitangi, and it is possible to negotiate a settlement tat can win widespread acceptance.

"In the same way that we successfully negotiated ways for Maori and Pakeha to have co-governance over for example the Waikato River and Lake Waikaremoana, maybe we have to find a way for Maori rights under the treaty in relation to water are also observed and respected, but understanding there is a political issue around whether people want to pay for water or whether we should have tradeable water rights," he says.

Andrew Little says tradeable rights could be a step too far for Labour.

 

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