Te Mana O Te Wai – Freshwater Reforms
The Kahui Wai Maori Advisory group welcomed the announcement made by the Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment today of the new rules designed to clean up our waterways.
At the heart of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) is Te Mana o te Wai which provides the national policy direction, practice and decision-making on activities that affect the health of freshwater.
Giving effect to Te Mana o te Wai prioritises the health and wellbeing of our water and the provision for basic human health needs before providing for other consumptive uses such as irrigation.
“The health of our water is the health of our nation. We should never see a situation where irrigation takes priority over the availability of drinking water in homes”, says Kingi Smiler, Chairman of the Kahui Wai Maori Advisory Group.
The inclusion of mahinga kai as a compulsory value in the National Objectives Framework (NOF) further strengthens the measures that are applied in setting limits that are important to restoring the health of our waterways.
There will also be Iwi appointments to all new freshwater hearing panels.
The Kahui Wai Maori Advisory Group have collaborated closely with the Ministry for the Environment and other advisory groups representing a broad spectrum across New Zealand to make this vision of Te Mana o te Wai a reality.
“We are supportive of the initiatives announced by Minister Parker but further strengthening of a co-governance arrangement is required with Iwi/Maori to ensure the values of Te Mana o te Wai and mahinga kai attributes are meaningfully applied in the effective management of our water.
Te Kahui Wai Maori have been consistent in their message to Government that Maori rights, interests and obligations in water remain undefined and unresolved. The Waitangi Tribunal has made extensive recommendations in this regard to Government. The major industry groups also support the resolution of Maori rights and interests in water, to provide the certainty that is necessary in resetting water allocation in the future”, said Kingi Smiler.
Link to the Kahui Wai Maori Report to Hon David Parker