Maori at a hui in Wellington have voiced scepticism of Government proposals making it a legal requirement for councils to be more receptive to their environmental concerns.
The hui on Wednesday debated proposed reforms to freshwater management and the Resource Management Act.
Environment Minister Amy Adams outlined the Government's proposals and was challenged by iwi representatives as she took questions from the floor.
During the debate environmentalist Gloria Kuia, from Ngati Raukawa, asked Ms Adams how much more authority iwi would have if the reforms were introduced.
Ms Adams replied that councils will have to have better statutory regard for Maori."They're going to have to have a much better process by which they engage with iwi," she said.
"I'm not saying it's joint decision making, I'm not saying they have to do what iwi suggest is the right thing but they do have to do a lot more than just consult."
Ms Kuia says there have been many other hui with governments where Maori were consulted on environmental issues but they always amounted to tokenism and this one was no different.