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Māori Party Pushes for Stronger Māori Role in RMA Discussion

MEDIA STATEMENT
Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki
Thursday 28th February 2013


Māori Party Pushes for Stronger Māori Participation in RMA Discussion

Māori will never have a meaningful role in managing natural resources if the proposed changes to the RMA are passed says the Māori Party.

“The Resource Management Act is the matua piece of legislation that impacts on natural resource management and many local government issues. These are key areas of interest for tangata whenua and yet the discussion document in its current form provides limited scope for hapū, iwi and Māori communities to have a say over the management of their natural resources,” said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“A key policy plank for the Māori Party in the 2011 manifesto was the goal to introduce the RMA National Policy Statement on Māori participation, including iwi/Māori management committees and treaty representation. We were also keen to ensure any amendments of the Resource Management Act will require robust and accountable work practices by local government when working with mana whenua. The discussion document falls short on both accounts.”

“While the Māori Party has relentlessly and successfully fought to strengthen provisions around kaitiakitanga and retain the Treaty clause, we nevertheless seek further change,” said Te Ururoa. “This is only the starting point for Māori participation.”

“We wanted to see stronger wording around the recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and also recognition of the rangatiratanga that hapū and iwi have over their natural resources such as land, water, airspace and other taonga.”

“We also wanted to see mechanisms in place that improve Māori participation and input into decision making over their natural resources. In essence we expect to see active decision-making roles for Māori right throughout the document – not reserved to ‘Proposal 5’ of six.”

“We are disappointed that suggestions put forward to establish iwi advisory groups, Māori statutory boards, recognition of iwi environmental plans and other options were not mentioned in this document.”

“Tangata whenua and iwi play a vital role in the resource management system and we want to see effective and meaningful Māori participation provided for, to recognise Māori contribution towards improving environmental and economic outcomes.”

“We urge tangata whenua to read of this document and put in submissions by 2 April to ensure that their concerns are heard on the proposed changes of the Resource Management Act.”

“Our natural resources are a key part of our Māori identity. Our lands, mountains, rivers, all stand as markers of our whakapapa and who we are as hapū and iwi. It is absolutely critical that Māori have a say on this issue if we want to move toward our goal of self-determination.”


ENDS

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