Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Tikanga can help solve water issues – Sharples

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs

27 July 2009
Media Release

EMBARGOED TO 9.10am – Check against delivery

Tikanga can help solve water issues – Sharples

Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples has called for continuing dialogue on the role of iwi in the management and allocation of fresh water.

In a speech this morning to the Indigenous Legal Water Forum in Wellington, Dr Sharples said local hapü and iwi need to be full participants in decisions on water management in their areas, and water ownership issues need to be allowed to come onto the national agenda.

“Throughout time immemorial, indigenous peoples have expressed water as being significant in sacred terms,” said Dr Sharples. “We talk about respecting the significance of the tapu and the wairua – the spiritual force of the water. We refer to the mauri – the lifeforce.

“It is because of this sacred significance, that we, as indigenous peoples, are honour bound to play an active role as tangata tiaki, to ensure that water is protected and used wisely,” he said.

“We seek to maintain our collective responsibilities to respect and protect the environment and communities that give us our identity, our rangatiratanga, our mana.

“It is critical that arrangements for the governance and management of freshwater recognise the rights, interests and perspectives of Māori. Unfortunately, the reason we are all here today is that this is not always the case.

“The state of freshwater is not just an ecological problem, but a problem of governance. Māori, as Treaty partners, need to have a strong voice in any decisions that are made about water,” Dr Sharples said.

“The message that is coming consistently from Māori is that, to date, the legal framework for managing water has not provided an adequate role for Māori.

“There remains a lot of uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Māori rights and interests in freshwater and how these rights might be better reflected in New Zealand law,” he said.

“The new Government has shown an encouraging willingness to engage with Māori on these matters.

“I am committed towards ensuring that the Government continues to respect the leadership of iwi on how to best proceed in the complex process of addressing Māori concerns, interests and rights relating to freshwater.

“I want to be quite upfront – I do not support amendment of the Resource Management Act to better facilitate the trading of water consents (or excess water) as a way to manage availability issues,” said Dr Sharples.

“Not only does this set up quasi private schemes where big business is able to buy up consents and control access to water, but allocating consents to maximise land-based activity inevitably leads to greater water quality issues.

“This narrow focus on economics is driving the degradation of natural water sources by pollution, abstraction for irrigation or power generation, and the flooding and droughts made worse by deforestation and climate change.
“I want to see us turn around our sense of responsibility for each other, and for our natural world.

“Māori can bring a unique contribution to freshwater management through the ethic of kaitiakitanga. The contribution that tangata whenua can make towards sustainably managing our water resources will be of benefit to all New Zealanders,” Dr Sharples said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government
More Open

It’s true that New Zealand scores well on many international rankings of openness... Those findings are all important, and welcome. But we cannot ignore the fact that there are still serious problems.

For a start, those international surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

 
 

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

Visions: National Party Conference

National Party leader Bill English today outlined his vision to take New Zealand into the 2020s and his key priorities for the next Parliamentary term – including further raising incomes and reducing taxes. More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog