The Freshwater Iwi Advisors Group says the Government's freshwater reforms are a starting point for a much longer debate over access to water.
In the proposals, the Government says it wants local councils and communities, rather than the Environment Minister or the Environment Court, to determine how water is managed.
Fish and Game says the reforms will leave rivers and lakes vulnerable to development and are about escalating the grab for public water by private industry, such as farming.
Freshwater Iwi Advisors Group chair Roku Mihinui says fair and sustainable management of water is a grey area in the proposals and it needs to be addressed.
The Government paper on freshwater reforms is out for public consultation until 8 April.