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End secrecy on Waikato negotiations

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

24 May 2006

End secrecy on Waikato negotiations

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says worrying details have emerged in Parliament today about the scope of Labour's negotiations with Tainui over the future of the Waikato River.

"Labour has confirmed the negotiations cover the area from Huka Falls to the mouth at Port Waikato, including its waters, banks and beds (and all minerals under them), its streams, tributaries, lakes aquatic fisheries and vegetation.

"The Treaty Negotiations Minister has confirmed speculation that Tainui's claim includes an issue of royalties involving the iron sands mined by New Zealand Steel at Maioro.

"There's no doubt that water rights are on the table. Of course Waikato River water is used to generate hydro electricity, cool thermal generation at Huntly and provide drinking water to Auckland.

"And the claim is also expected to include valuable privately-owned farmland on the flood plains surrounding the river.

"This is an important natural resource for all New Zealanders and these secret talks appear to have a direct impact on private property rights.

"This is not a negotiation that should be carried out in secret and then presented as a done deal. All Kiwis need to know what Labour is preparing to trade away before they do," says Mr Brownlee.


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