14 Sep 2012

Iwi leaders back Maori unity on water

6:27 pm on 14 September 2012

Iwi Chairs Forum leaders have endorsed a resolution by senior Maori for tribal unity over water rights.

Leaders met on Friday at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, one day after a hui agreed to select a panel of Maori to negotiate with the Crown on the issue of proprietary water rights.

Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi - from the Far North - says the 64 tribal leaders are united in not entering individual negotiations with the Government ahead of the planned partial sale of taxpayer-owned hydro power generators.

But Mr Piripi says individual iwi and hapu are still free to enter consultation with the Crown - because each tribe has its own mana.

Prime Minister John Key has said the Government will negotiate with iwi on an individual basis.

The forum also backed the continued work of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group - which meets cabinet ministers to discuss water reforms.