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Te Mana o Te Wai – the quality and vitality of water

Media Statement

26 August 2014

Statement and attached environment policy embargoed until 6am

Te Mana o Te Wai – the quality and vitality of water

The Māori Party intends introducing legislation that gives the status of taonga to freshwater and will prioritise the improvement of its quality and vitality making it safer for drinking, swimming and gathering food.

Today the party released its environmental policy outlining three key areas of focus: Te Mana o Te Wai - water quality and vitality; Kaitiakitanga - Guardianship and Climate Change Solutions.

Te Mana o Te Wai

“For generations New Zealanders have been swimming and gathering kai in freshwaters. It is a part of our lifestyle and culture. We want to make sure that our children, grandchildren and beyond can drink fresh clean water and are able to swim and fish in their local waterways without fear of becoming ill, ” says Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Hauāuru, Chris McKenzie.

“We made a significant gain in Budget 2014 that saw the health of fresh water - Te Mana o Te Wai feature clearly in the National Policy Statement on Freshwater. Introducing legislation that ensures specific targets are set for water quality for drinking, fishing and swimming is the next logical step.”

Kaitiakitanga - Guardianship

“We also intend giving stronger effect to the role of kaitiaki for whānau, hapū and iwi by redirecting resources in the Department of Conservation. This will continue to support iwi to demonstrate their role as kaitiaki in their tribal regions and support their role of kaitiaki within the iwi treaty settlements arrangements.”

“In my own tribal region of Raukawa we have a co-management arrangement with Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa and Waikato over the Waikato river. Māori have had a long standing spiritual relationship with the natural environment and take their role of kaitiaki seriously,” says Mr McKenzie.

“The role of kaitiaki also includes protecting endangered species like the Māui dolphin. The Māori Party will promote ways to enhance biodiversity within the marine area that will help provide protection. We will also promote transitioning from net setting and trawling to sustainable fishing methods that will further assist in protecting endangered species.”

Climate Change Solutions

“The Māori Party recognises the urgency in establishing alternative sources of energy that are environmentally friendly and do not depend on fossil fuels. We will introduce tax breaks for renewable energy research institutions and businesses and we will promote innovative ways to support the development of alternate fuel from raw materials.”

“We will also develop a trial in collaboration with the Māori Centre of Research Excellence and the Government to test viability of a locally focused alternative fuels project as well as develop grants to fund Generation Zero mentors to support whānau to develop alternative energy sources.”

“Our country must do more to encourage the use of solar energy so we will champion solar panels for government agencies, hospitals and schools and support subsidizing solar heating and expansion of energy hubs for rural communities.”

“The Māori Party intends building on its investment of the highly successful Kura Taiao and Enviroschools where students learn how to care for the environment in practical ways. It is important our children learn from an early age how to care for all our taonga, so that future generations can also live in a healthy environment and enjoy these wonderful resources,” says Mr McKenzie.


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