18 May 2009

Maori take part in Supreme Court water rights hearing

10:16 am on 18 May 2009

Maori representatives have joined a critical Supreme Court case on the way water rights are allocated.

The New Zealand Maori Council, the Federation of Maori Authorities and Lake Waikaremoana claimant Vern Winitana have been given permission to join major South Island power generators and irrigation companies as intervenors in the case between Ngai Tahu Property, Central Plains Water and Canterbury Regional Council.

At issue is whether rights to water and other natural resources should be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Federation of Maori Authorities chief executive Rino Tirikatene told Waatea News his organisation wants consent authorities to be given more discretion.

He says notice should be taken of sections of the Resource Management Act relating to the Treaty of Waitangi principles, and Maori cultural practices.