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Ngāpuhi Responds To Repeal Of Water Services Legislation

Te Pourewa o Ngāpuhi, an Education Research & Development group rooted in the country's founding documents, He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is deeply concerned about the recent announcement regarding the repeal of the previous government's water services legislation.

While we acknowledge the government's intention to restore council ownership and control of water infrastructure and services, we believe that disestablishing the Northland and Auckland Water Services Entity, Wai Tāmaki ki Te Hiku, will result in a significant loss and oversight.

Wai Tāmaki ki Te Hiku was set to play a crucial role in the management and delivery of water services, including the responsibility for water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, and an extensive network of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater pipes. These services are essential for the health and wellbeing of our waterways, our people, and our economy, as guided by Te Mana o Te Wai. In Council’s control these services are found to be neglected, under resourced or inadequate.

As a group committed to upholding the principles of He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we understand the importance of effective governance and collaboration between councils and iwi in managing water resources. Disestablishing Wai Tāmaki ki Te Hiku without a clear plan for maintaining iwi involvement and support raises concerns about the future direction of water services in the region.

Te Pourewa o Ngāpuhi is committed to working collaboratively with the government, councils, and iwi to ensure that the Local Water Done Well approach includes robust mechanisms for iwi participation, decision-making, and the protection of our waterways. We believe that a locally determined approach, founded on the principles of partnership and kaitiakitanga, is essential for the long-term sustainability and wellbeing of our communities.

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We urge the Minister of Local Government and the Minister for Māori Development to prioritize meaningful engagement with iwi and hapū in the development and implementation of the repeal bill. It is crucial that the voices and aspirations of our people are heard and respected throughout this process.

Te Pourewa o Ngāpuhi remains committed to advocating for a water services system that upholds the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ensures the health and wellbeing of our waterways and communities, and promotes sustainable and equitable outcomes for all.

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