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Ed Sheeran

Tribunal finding offers course ahead for Rotorua lakes

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Te Arawa Lakes Trust chair Taa Toby Curtis says the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal report on National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources are long overdue.

The tribunal says Maori values have not been reflected in freshwater decision-making, there needs to be proper resourcing so Maori can be at the table when decisions are made, and Maori rights in fresh water have an economic dimension.

It recommended the establishment of a national co-governance body for freshwater, along with significant changes to the Resource Management Act, and an integrated partnership with Maori to co-design for relevant policy-making.

Taa Toby says his trust has consistently engaged with the Crown, either directly or via the Iwi Chairs Forum, in an effort to ensure it's settlement is durable and its rights and interests are provided for.

So far the Crown has failed to address those interests.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust is responsible for the sustainable management of 14 lakes within the wider Rotorua region, whose beds were returned to the iwi under its 2006 Settlement.

But it is treated as a stakeholder rather than a partner when decisions are made.

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