11 May 2012

Tuwharetoa criticised over approach to fresh water claims

6:27 am on 11 May 2012

A Maori council member says Tuwharetoa should be supporting the Waitangi Tribunal claims over fresh water rather than threatening the Crown with legal action over asset sales.

Tuwharetoa speakers have told a select committee the iwi is prepared to go to court to get compensation for the way its land and water are used by power companies.

Maori council member Maanu Paul says Tuwharetoa's stance is contradictory.

He says the iwi and the iwi leaders' forum rejected an invitation to support the Maori Council and 11 hapu who have asked the Waitangi Tribunal to define Maori proprietary rights in freshwater.

Mr Paul says the tribunal has agreed to an urgent hearing and Tuwharetoa has missed its chance to be part of the real action.

He says water is an issue on which all Maori should be standing together making a strong combined case rather than taking random potshots at the Crown.

The Waitangi Tribunal will hear the Maori claims over freshwater from 9 to 17 July.