The biggest Maori business network says a new law to boost environmental controls over oil and gas exploration companies at sea must ensure Maori are explicitly recognised as a Treaty partner - and not just an affected party.
The Federation of Maori Authorities (FoMA) makes the point in its submission on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Environmental Effects Bill.
FoMA represents about 150 Maori authorities or entities.
Its chairperson Traci Houpapa says consultation with Maori is a must - not a may.
She says it's important FoMA's views and input into the drawing up of new legislation is considered and recognised as part of the development of marine protection policies.
Ms Houpapa says today is an age when Government and iwi authorities acknowledge the need to partner strategically and economically on key issues.
She says after speaking to members, one thing FoMA is clear about is they appreciate how the new law aims to protect oceans from potential environmental risks - and Maori are keen to be a part of that.
FoMA was one of the 129 organisations that made submissions on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Environmental Effects Bill.