Media Release – 28 August 2019

Te Wai Māori Trust welcomes the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations for the Crown to urgently address the serious situation facing many taonga water bodies, and to provide more effective mechanisms for freshwater decision-making.

The Waitangi Tribunal released their report on stage 2 of its Wai 2358 National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources inquiry today. The initial claim was filed by the New Zealand Māori Council in February 2012 and was supported by a number of Māori parties including the Te Wai Māori Trust.

“The Tribunal report notes the failure of the Crown to be Treaty compliant, which is extremely concerning. The Crown must immediately rectify this matter by having a discussion with Iwi, hapū and Māori leaders”, says Te Wai Māori Trust Chairman Ken Mair.

“Te Wai Māori Trust has long been concerned about the degradation of freshwater and freshwater habitat, and the impact this is having on the health and wellbeing of freshwater taonga species such as tuna and īnanga. The Trust has been working with the Crown to address these concerns for some time, but we are unsatisfied with the speed of progress to restore freshwater fisheries habitat. We support the Tribunal’s recommendations that the values of Te Mana o te Wai be incorporated into the Resource Management Act, and in a National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management at the highest level. The recommendations are heartening, and we would expect the Crown to make these changes to ensure the future health and wellbeing of our water.”