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Maori Own Water

MANA Leader Hone Harawira and MANA President Annette Sykes

Maori Own Water

14th February 2012

“Moana Jackson made the simple statement that ‘every tribe has a river’” said MANA leader Hone Harawira “and that is why MANA supports Maori claims to the ownership of water and recognition of their right to have a primary say in its future management and care.”

“Government has been giving electricity companies the right to use water to generate power and local government has been granting water rights to farmers for a long time now” said Harawira. “They have assumed ownership of water all of this time, but now that they’re being challenged on it, they’re adopting a new line; that ‘nobody’ owns the water”.

"Maori ownership, control and use predates that of both central or local government, and that right must be confirmed before government takes any further action on its management or use."

MANA President Annette Sykes states “The government stole the rights to water through legislation. The way they got around using the word ‘own’ was to replace it with the word ‘control’. If you control something, then by definition you own it. Maori never ceded their rights to water under the Treaty. Maori are right to claim ownership. This claim should come as nothing new to the public or to the government – Maori have always maintained ownership over water and have struggled for years to have this right acknowledged”.

Sykes continues “People need to be aware that with global warming and growing populations across the world, water is fast becoming the new gold. Given our country’s dismal record of polluting our waterways, the public should support Maori claims over the ownership of water. Under Maori tikanga water is a precious resource that is to be preserved for the benefit of all. Not for those who can afford it”.

ENDS

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