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Sir Eddie Durie allays fears on water rights issue

Sir Eddie Durie allays fears on water rights issue

The Co-chair of the NZ Māori Council says New Zealand has nothing to fear from the Māori claim for water rights. 
Moving to allay fears that the claim could cover all the country’s water, Sir Eddie Durie spoke on TVOne’s Marae Investigates programme this morning to clarify that the claim is for some proprietary interests in very specific plots.
Sir Eddie told presenter Scotty Morrison “We are looking at particular areas and what we need to do is define how far it can and should go so that it doesn’t intrude on the general public’s interests.”
He pointed to cases such as Poroti in Northland where water from springs on a reserve set aside for local Māori was being used by Whangarei City, horticulture business and a bottling plant with no benefit going back to local Māori.
The former chair of the Waitangi Tribunal told the programme that he would like to see a framework that delivers compensation to Māori who have lost the use of their traditional water sources and a royalty scheme for those where outside businesses are making a profit from water Māori have rights to.
“We need to ensure that they are protected and then we need to put a framework around it so that it just doesn’t go too far and the general public is not held to ransom by Māori people, because that is not the objective.”
Sir Eddie says the NZ Māori Council claim is not about the asset sales but he has urged the Government to heed the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendation on the issue when it’s delivered.
“The Government is not legally bound to follow the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal, it’s just Treaty bound. If it’s going to stand by the undertakings it made at the time of the signing of the Treaty than, oh yes, it should certainly be listening to the Tribunal.” said Sir Eddie Durie.

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