National leader takes aim at Ngāi Tahu water ownership

By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo / File

National Party leader Judith Collins has continued to add fuel to her claims that the government is attempting to set up separate systems for Māori, claiming the government is advancing plans to transfer 50 per cent of publicly-owned water assets in the South Island to Ngāi Tahu ownership.

“Ngāi Tahu are a well-run organisation that may do a good job of managing this water infrastructure, but that is not the point here," Collins said in a statement Sunday.

“The point is, Labour has now decided the Treaty requires separate systems of governance and fifty-fifty ownership of resources with iwi, and it is making these changes before having a national conversation about whether this is actually what the Treaty decrees.

“We’ve already seen these changes happen with Māori council wards and the proposed Māori Health Authority but similar reforms are imagined in resource management, the conservation estate, the justice system, Oranga Tamariki, and elsewhere."

Ngāi Tahu has disputed Collin's claims, according to a report by Stuff.

”Ngāi Tahu does not want to own three waters infrastructure,” Stuff reports Dr Te Maire Tau, Ngāi Tahu's freshwater group chair, as saying.

The iwi is instead said to be discussing co-governance options with the government.

Today's statement continues a theme advanced by Collin's in recent weeks, which the Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi described as racist earlier this week and part of a "constant barrage of insults to tangata whenua".

"Over the past two weeks, there has been racist propaganda and rhetoric towards tangata whenua," Waititi said.