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“Will Government listen this time” says Turia

“Will Government listen this time” says Tariana Turia "or will they drown in their own rhetoric?"

Co-leader, Maori Party; 10 April 2006

Hot on the heels of the damning report by international human rights expert, Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen, today’s back-tracking by the Government on how water resources will be managed, signals a new caution on significant matters.

“The Maori Party welcomes the decision by the Government to back down from a hastily thought through plan on managing our freshwater resources”.

“Water is a basic human right under international human rights law (United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)” said Mrs Turia.

“We are delighted to see that the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people from Rodolfo Stavenhagen has clearly had an impact in getting the Government to rethink such a crucial concept as their proposals for sustainable management of water.

“The Stavenhagen report emphasized the widespread aspiration of tangata whenua to retain or reclaim their decision-making capacity over certain intrinsic matters, including social and political organization, lands and resources, and wider way of life” said Mrs Turia.

“In this context, the strong cultural, traditional and historic links that tangata whenua have with wetlands and inland waterways, including lakes, rivers, streams and springs, are seen as intrinsic to our responsibilities as tangata tiaki” said Mrs Turia. “Our people have often asked the question, what is the cost of continuing to steal from (Papatuanuku) Mother Nature?”

“We look forward to being involved as key players in advising the membership of the National Leadership group, the National Maori Reference Group, and possible approaches towards the development of a National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standards”.

The Maori Party is currently meeting with their constituencies across the Maori electorates, considering responses to key Maori Party policy initiatives including the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and the protection of the Maori seats.

“The involvement of tangata whenua in protecting and preserving water rights will be another key issue for discussion in these hui” said Mrs Turia.


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