Ad asking whether one race should control fresh water labelled as 'nonsense'

By Talisa Kupenga

Should one race control New Zealand's freshwater? That was the question asked by an ad in Saturday's Weekend Herald.

It goes on to say that it's only a matter of time before iwi demand a royalty every time a tap is turned on.

The advertisement asks whether one race should control New Zealand's freshwater.

So what does the co-chair of the Freshwater Iwi Leaders group make of the ad?

Sir Mark Solomon says, "It's nonsense, there has never been a proposal put on the table by either side that iwi have the total right of veto against all water."

The ad also offers readers the option to donate funds to further spread the ad in other newspapers.

Authorised by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR), the ad is the most recent of 21 that have been published throughout the country since November last year.

At the helm of the advertisement is former ACT Leader Don Brash who attacked Māori in a provocative speech at Orewa in 2004.

Don Brash says, "It's not racist at all, on the contrary what we're saying is the Government itself is proposing a policy which is racist by giving a particular group based on race a right to allocate water. We think that's totally contrary to what everything New Zealand Stands for."

Mark Solomon says, "show us where ever the Government has said that they will give Māori the right of veto over water. Show whenever we have ever asked for a right of veto on water."

However according to Brash, "It is not misinformed and it is not nonsense. I mean the Government has made it quite clear that they want to involve iwi in the decision making about the allocation of freshwater."

Just how much support this advertisement will receive remains to be seen.