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Bill undermines the treaty process

Maori Party says South Taranaki District Council (Cold Creek Rural Water Supply) Bill undermines the treaty process

Wednesday 20 February 2013

The Maori Party has opposed the South Taranaki District Council (Cold Creek Rural Water Supply) Bill in Parliament today stating that the iwi as the treaty partner were not adequately consulted and the bill should not have proceeded while the iwi were still negotiating their treaty settlements.

The bill which transfers over the Cold Creek Rural Water Supply to a company includes a small parcel of land in Crown ownership which will also be transferred to the company.

“The iwi have been kaitiaki of the whenua and the moana for generations – and with that comes inherent responsibilities to preserve and protect their whenua, moana and taonga,” said Maori Party Co-leader and MP for Te Tai Hauauru Tariana Turia.

“Notwithstanding the cultural and spiritual association with water that the iwi throughout this tribal territory carry, these iwi are engaged in settlement negotiations, and therefore rightfully expect to be involved in the decision-making process around the transfer of Crown assets out of Crown ownership.

“The Crown should be aware that there is very little land still in Crown ownership that can be given back to Taranaki iwi in the treaty settlements process yet they have agreed to hand this land over to a company giving no consideration to their duty to the tribe.

“Taranaki iwi have an unparalleled experience with the Crown as Liana Poutu, General Manager of the Taranaki Iwi Trust described in their submission on the bill.

Taranaki Iwi suffered some of the most serious breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi at the hands of the Crown. It is unconscionable that while the Crown are engaging in a process to redress these serious grievances , on the other hand they continue to perpetuate the unfair and unjust treatment of our people.

“I first took up this issue with the South Taranaki District Council 18 months ago. I urged the Council to initiate adequate and comprehensive consultation and engagement with affected whānau, hapū and iwi. I explained further, that while the iwi would acknowledge particular impacts for Orimupiko Marae and Oeo Marae, the wider iwi interests would also impact on the proposed infrastructural developments. I asked the question – would these impacts result in the diminuition of tangata whenua rights?

“Parliament acted in a way today which undermined the Treaty relationship and adversely impacted on the water legislative landscape before the collective tribal discussions can be held about Maunga Taranaki and the precious water resource which flows form it.

“The Maori Party objected to this Bill and we will continue to stand alongside of iwi in opposing this legislation,” said Mrs Turia.


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