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Draft Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River

Hon Dr Michael Cullen

Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

7 May 2008 Media Statement


Draft Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River welcomed


The Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Dr Michael Cullen and Waikato-Tainui co-negotiators Tukoroirangi Morgan and Lady Raiha Mahuta welcome the release of the Draft Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River for public consultation by the Guardians Establishment Committee (GEC).

Dr Cullen and Mr Morgan are co-convenors of the GEC, which was established in accordance with the Agreement in Principle signed by the Crown and Waikato-Tainui on 16 December 2007.

Members of the GEC include representatives of Waikato-Tainui, other River Iwi, Environment Waikato, and Crown appointees representing the regional community. The GEC is jointly chaired by Tukoroirangi Morgan and Gordon Blake.

“This unique endeavour has brought together all the interests of the river iwi, the general public and the Crown, to design a Vision and Strategy to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the river for future generations,” Mr Morgan said.

“The GEC should be congratulated for their work on developing the Vision and Strategy to this point. It is now ready for release as a draft, so that the GEC can begin consultation with iwi, local authorities, businesses and other groups who have an interest in the river”, said Lady Raiha.

Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Dr Michael Cullen is encouraging everyone who has an interest in the River to have their say on the Vision and Strategy.

The GEC will hold consultation meetings during May, and report back a Vision and Strategy to the Crown and Waikato-Tainui for their final approval.

“I look forward with interest to seeing the results of the consultation. The Vision and Strategy will be an important tool for restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River”, said Dr Cullen. Dr Cullen noted that the draft does not represent Crown policy or the confirmed views of Waikato-Tainui; rather it provides a good starting point for further engagement with the community.

Once the Crown and Waikato-Tainui have approved the final Vision and Strategy, it will be included in the settlement currently being negotiated between the Crown and Waikato-Tainui.

The establishment of the Guardians of the Waikato River and a Statutory Board who will both have ongoing roles with the Vision and Strategy are also included in the proposed settlement.

Submissions on the draft Vision and Strategy document, which is called ‘Restoring and Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of the Waikato River’, close on Friday 23rd May.

Submissions should be sent directly to the Guardians Establishment Committee Secretariat through www.river.org.nz or you can request a copy from:

Tuti Cooper
GEC Secretariat Manager
Private Bag 542
Ngaruawahia 3720


ENDS

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