The Government is failing Māori by playing politics with an important issue like freshwater, National’s Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako says.

“The Government claimed at the start of this year that there was a new era of openness and partnership - not just with Māori but all of New Zealand. Eight months later that commitment lies in tatters.

“At Waitangi, the Prime Minister told Māori to ‘hold us to account’. Māori have done that in the total rejection of Environment Minister David Parker’s Kahui Wai Māori – the Māori Freshwater Forum.

“The Government showed its true colours by forcing this forum upon Māori without any consultation or input with iwi as to how it would be formed and run.

“True to form, Mr Parker has arrogantly dismissed the concerns of the iwi leaders. This Government continues to show that it thinks it knows best, that it does not want its ideas challenged, and that it’s quick to insult and denigrate those who disagree with it.

“How is that openness, transparency and partnership the Prime Minister promised at Waitangi earlier this year?

“Māori are now seeing through the promises the Government made during the election. It’s all too familiar to Māori that Labour that promises all - with no intention of actually delivering.

“National has a consistent message to all New Zealanders. No one owns the freshwater. It is a public resource and must be managed in the public interest. However, we recognise that iwi have a legitimate right to have a say about how water is managed within their rohe.

“Iwi should be properly consulted and included on how those discussions will take place.”

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