27 Mar 2013

Government challenged at freshwater reform hui

7:11 pm on 27 March 2013

Maori at a hui in Wellington on Wednesday challenged the Government's commitment to giving them a stronger voice on environment issues.

Proposed reforms to the freshwater and Resource Management Act (RMA) were debated and many iwi representatives, while they welcomed the changes, were sceptical as to whether it would give them more influence on council-made decisions.

Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, outlined the Government's proposals before taking questions from the floor.

Environmentalist, Gloria Kuia from Ngati Raukawa, questioned whether iwi would have more authority.

She said Government says iwi may be consulted on law changes, but a lot of it is tokenism.

Ms Kuia said the National Government is looking at what the financial benefits are for corporations in relation to some of the proposed RMA changes.

Amy Adams responded by saying she could not guarantee what iwi want will happen and local councils have the final say, but that it must have more formal statutory regard for what iwi say.

Morrie Love from Te Ati Awa, said the rights of Maori need to be clarified within the RMA.