20 Sep 2012

Iwi say scope of discussion at water hui too narrow

3:22 pm on 20 September 2012

Two more Government-sponsored hui on water rights took place on Wednesday, but iwi say the scope of the discussion was too narrow.

The Government is holding six meetings throughout the country over two weeks after it decided to delay the sale of shares in state-owned company Mighty River Power until early 2013.

The hui are being held to consult iwi and hapu on the Waitangi Tribunal proposal that they be given a special shareholding (known as shares plus) in the partially-privatised power companies and rights above those of other shareholders.

The Government rejects the proposal, but is still consulting iwi who have a specific connection to freshwater and geothermal resources used by state-owned power companies Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis.

About 70 people attended the hui in Taupo and 80 were at the meeting in Whanganui on Wednesday.

The chair of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, Eru George, says as the hard questions such as who owns the water were not debated at the hui in Taupo, his iwi will instead address its concerns to a select committee.

A spokesperson for Whanganui iwi, Gerrard Albert, says the Crown was told any discussion about the partial sale of power generators is inappropriate until the Treaty claims of Whanganui River iwi are settled.

Mr Albert says the Crown and Maori must first come to an understanding about the mana of the river and the iwi who protect it.