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Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu Objects To The Removal Of The Hierarchy Of Obligations Under Te Mana O Te Wai

Removing Te Mana o te Wai hierarchy from the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) consenting process is unacceptable, says Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa.

Ngāi Tahu objects to a proposed amendment that would remove the requirement for resource consent applicants to demonstrate compliance with the hierarchy of obligations under Te Mana o te Wai.

“We do not want the quality of freshwater to decline further in Te Waipounamu. Freshwater ecosystems are under serious threat and freshwater management needs to improve,” says Kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa.

Te Mana o te Wai has universal application, and was instrumental in the 2020 National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM). It acknowledges the importance of healthy waterways and the relationship of mana whenua with water. There are numerous examples within the consenting process that demonstrate its positive impact.

Te Mana o te Wai has also garnered support from various stakeholders, including local government, industry, farmers, and environmental groups, as well as iwi and hapū.

“The hierarchy of obligations within Te Mana o te Wai ensures that development is managed in a way that protects freshwater resources now and into the future, benefiting both our economy and the health of our communities,” Justin Tipa says.

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“Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu will seek the removal of this amendment from the Bill. If it remains, we reserve the right to take any necessary actions to safeguard our freshwater resources, in addition to the ongoing Ngāi Tahu freshwater litigation.”

Additional information:

  • In November 2020, Ngāi Tahu lodged a statement of claim in the High Court seeking recognition of its rangatiratanga over freshwater in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā (tribal area).
  • The statement of claim seeks to address the ongoing degradation of awa (rivers) and moana (lakes) caused by the environmental mismanagement of successive governments, and to compel the Crown to address these issues in partnership with the iwi.
  • Rangatiratanga over water means Ngāi Tahu has rights, responsibilities and obligations relating to the freshwater in its takiwā, including doing what it can to stop the degradation of waterways and the environment.
  • The takiwā of Ngāi Tahu, an iwi of more than 80,000 members, stretches from Rakiura (Stewart Island) to the Nelson Lakes district in the South Island, and includes Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), Wairewa (Lake Forsyth) and the Mataura River.
  • Te Kura Taka Pini is the Ngāi Tahu entity that oversees the Ngāi Tahu freshwater claim process. Its co-chairs are Kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa and Professor Te Maire Tau.
  • Link to the Resource Management (Freshwater and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

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