About the Author

Avatar photo

Dr Muriel Newman

Hands Off Our Water

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on

WaterAd - imageAs you read this newsletter, the New Zealand Centre for Political Research’s public information campaign outlining the government’s intention to allow Maori control of fresh water is getting ready to roll off the printing presses. Thanks to the support of many concerned New Zealanders, the advertisement will be featured in a wide range of national and regional news publications, starting this Friday.

The aim of the campaign is simple – to make sure the public is aware of National’s plan to allow councils to transfer their statutory responsibility for the allocation and control of fresh water to unelected representatives of private businesses.

Not any old businesses, mind you – for this is a race-based exercise. Only those that claim to be Maori will be granted the power to control and allocate fresh water.

On its own, that is reason enough to object, but in addition, since the iwi groups lining up to seize control of New Zealand’s waterways are driven by self interest, the usual rules regarding conflict of interest will clearly not apply. This has the potential to open the country up to the sort of corruption and intimidation that plagues other jurisdictions and that successive New Zealand governments have worked so hard over the years to avoid.

This water deal is not being done transparently through legislation in Parliament – that would generate far too much publicity and concern. Instead the transfer of power is occurring at local government level, council by council, catchment by catchment, as democratically elected local authority councillors vote to pass their responsibility for the control of water onto private Maori interests – without public controversy.

In a general sense, many would say there is much to commend about the way National has been running the country, but in passing control of fresh water to iwi, John Key is putting politics ahead of the public good and letting the nation down badly.

The point is that water is not a matter of little public interest or consequence. National is privatising – on the basis of racial privilege – the allocation and control of something that everyone needs to survive. For a government that claims to be committed to equality of citizenship, the racial control of water is as bad as it gets. It could be no more objectionable.

Water is a public good resource that is essential for life on earth. Under common law and statute, all New Zealand fresh water is vested in the Crown and cannot be privately owned. While the statutory responsibility for allocating and controlling fresh water rests with the Crown, that duty has been passed on to Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities through the Resource Management Act.

Under the RMA, those bodies must consider requests for the use of water and decide how to allocate the available supply. This role is overseen by councillors, who have been democratically elected to make decisions in the best interests of the region as a whole. Any councillor, who has a private vested interest in water permits, is required to stand aside from such decision-making.

Through their race-based agenda, National now wants councils to transfer those powers to Maori businesses in areas where they demand it. This would pass control of this crucial resource into the hands of private race-based groups who have a vested interest in securing their own allocations as a priority ahead of all others – along with the power to hold others beholden.

Not only is this an abrogation of National’s democratic duty to protect the rights of all New Zealanders and treat them equally, but it is also morally wrong – and spineless – for the government to pass the task of establishing the race-based control of fresh water onto local government in an attempt, no doubt, to distance themselves from any political fallout.

‘Co-governance’, a politically correct methodology that enables the control of public resources to be passed on to private race-based groups without attracting controversy, is also being used. It gave iwi control of the Waikato River and it is now being used by councils to give iwi control of the resource consenting process, through council committee where half of the members are unelected iwi representatives with voting rights.

Under such co-governance arrangements a minority group in the population can achieve majority rule, with more influence over decision-making than the public representatives. This enables the demands of private race-based groups to over-ride the public good.

In response to the publication of our advertisement on our NZCPR.com website, journalists contacted Deputy Prime Minister Bill English for a response.   His comments merely confirm all of the fears that we have raised.

With regard to water rights, Mr English said, “One of the Government’s bottom lines is no national settlement”.

Clearly, since a national settlement would attract attention and involve the transparency they wish to avoid, the responsibility for giving iwi control of water has instead been passed into the hands of local councils.

He went on to say, “Maori in general don’t have rights.  Any rights or responsibilities are local, are about particular waterways.”

His comment that Maori have rights to particular waterways is, of course, not based on law. In New Zealand, the law is clear – no-one can own water. To reiterate, fresh water is vested in the Crown under common law and the 1967 Water and Soils Conservation Act, with the responsibility for its management and control delegated to Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities through the 1991 Resource Management Act.

Many landowners have rights to the beds and banks of the rivers, streams and lakes that lie on their properties. But they don’t own the water.

And while the Waitangi Tribunal has stated that Maori have rights and interests in water akin to ownership, that was a discredited finding from a discredited body that even the Minister for Treaty Negotiations is condemning as an ‘imperial senate’.

The reality is that Maori are no different from anyone else – unless the government goes ahead with their plan to give them control of water, they have absolutely no right to the ownership nor control of any water in any waterway in New Zealand.

In our advertisement, we pointed out that iwi leaders had negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with Local Government New Zealand, in which they agreed to “acknowledge the mana and kaitiakitanga status of iwi over the nation’s land and natural resources”.

As far as we are aware, local councils around the country did not consult local residents and ratepayers to ask whether they agree with iwi leaders that iwi have “mana and kaitiakitanga status” over the land and natural resources in their area. Signing the Memorandum appears to have been a unilateral decision by the Local Government New Zealand bureaucracy.

However, the Memorandum does appear to have been given a nod by central government, since Mr English said, “The Government was working through what mana and kaitiakitanga meant in relation to water, but iwi were not making unreasonable demands.”

So Mr English thinks iwi are not making unreasonable demands.

Let’s remind ourselves what those demands are.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Research Associate Mike Butler, has been carefully analysing the demands issued by the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group. In summary, they want:

  • Title to all Crown owned river and lake beds and to the water column above, transferred to regional tribal groups.
  • Title in fresh water.
  • Guaranteed allocation of fresh water for all marae and marae housing.
  • Free water infrastructure for all maraes and marae housing.
  • Tribal participation at all levels of fresh water decision-making that may include tribal representation on councils, joint management agreements, and co-management of waterways.
  • A $1-billion fund of public money to build the capacity of tribes to implement fresh water management and control.
  • An allocation of tradable water rights.

In his response to our advertisement, the Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said that “Maori interests, the Government and the community wanted ‘pretty similar things’. The big issues were nitrate pollution, the demand for water, the intensification of land use and the purity of water. That’s not a Maori issue, that’s a general one.”

Mr English is simply raising other matters to divert attention from the core issue – Maori control of fresh water.

Specifically, he is bringing up the issue of water pollution, which he well knows is being addressed though a variety of government mechanisms, including fresh water quality policy statements through the Ministry for the Environment, RMA environmental standards, and Local Government water management plans. And while the cleaning up of waterways is certainly a serious matter, it is nevertheless completely separate from the question of who should control the allocation of fresh water in New Zealand.

Mr English went on to say the Keep Our Water Kiwi advertisement was “more focused on the theories, not quite so much on solving the genuine issues. While conceptually these issues are difficult, in practice they’ve turned out to be able to be resolved.”

The point Mr English is missing is that the control of fresh water is a genuine issue. Having that resource allocated by iwi with a vested interest is a genuine issue.  Central government abrogating its responsibility to ensure the control of an essential resource is being carried out by democratically elected members of local authorities is a genuine issue. Allowing local government to bend the rules and give private groups control of water on a case by case basis is a genuine issue.

Debating whether Maori have any special rights to water at all is a genuine issue. The extent to which the general public should have a say in these matters is a genuine issue.

Mr English appears intent on appeasing Maori interests and passing the responsibility for the inevitable damage onto local government. Is that the cost of their coalition deal with the Maori Party?

The President of Federated Farmers, William Rolleston, outlined what he believes could be the way forward in a speech in April, in which he said, “Water ownership… is a debate for the government to have with iwi and the public. But I make some observations:

  • Ownership of water should not be confused with governance. If it is, there is a risk that self-interest will get in the way of good governance decisions.
  • Secondly, any solution should not create a further grievance – in this case a grievance with farmers.
  • Third, there should be one system for all. Perpetual ownership by one group, and short term rights for the rest, is not a recipe for simplicity, equity nor harmony.”

He then went on to say, “Solutions for Maori economic aspirations in water could well come through water storage.  By contributing to the development of water storage, government can help create the headroom for negotiation and settlement if such settlement is justified.”

The best way for the government to deal with the unreasonable demands of iwi for the control of fresh water is though a public referendum. As a result of the pressure they are putting on the government, this urgent matter of grave importance to all New Zealanders could easily be tacked onto the voting paper for the second flag referendum in March. That would then give the government a clear public mandate to either accept or reject outright all demands by iwi for the private control of fresh water in New Zealand.

And as a further safeguard, the Section 33 and 36 provisions of the RMA, which are allowing iwi to become resource consenting authorities, should be repealed as a priority, so no future government can be coerced into the racial control of public resources.

Passing such crucial issues onto local councils to resolve is simply not acceptable.


Should a question asking whether iwi should be given the power to control fresh water in New Zealand be included in the second flag referendum in March?


 *Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Give the whole country a chance to speak not just a selected few who only have self intrest at heart. John
NZ needs a bill of rights.. Some things even the Government should not be able to sell, transfer control of or decide it doesn’t want to manage. Mark
Under no circumstances should Maori be given rights over water and the air we breathe. No one owns water it is a natural resource for all. Frank
How much do iwi plan to charge for the use of their water? Pauline
Good grief, what’s next, the air we breathe? When are they going to put all the white people in concentration camps?! G
Wot! Give them rain ownership too? Phil
Whoever votes “yes” is a neo-nazi. Frank
What a bunch of ex-Act party hasbeens you are. Ken
Racist control by stealth. Nationals “30 pieces of greenstone”. ALASTAIR
Water belongs to us all, it should not be put under the control of a select selfish few. Aaron
Its just getting ridiculous! We are we succumbing to the endless demands of a bunch of greedy opportunists who will continue to hold their hands out as long as we are gullible enough to roll over. In a way you can’t blame them. Paul
Should be separate with both sides of the case being presented. Terry
This is divisive.  In my case my children would have power and I would be excluded.Yet I am the one with experience in water use.I have told local National party member so. Brett
YES, good idea, but they won’t do it because they know what the answer will be – and it wont appease the iwi leeches. Bruce
There is only one way to stop the racism in NZ. Take it to the population with a BINDING referendum. Hugh
Should be absolutely compulsory. Craig
At least then it is transparent. Peter
It is way past time that the Govt and the beauracrats listened to the people of N.Z. If Maori get control and or ownership of all of the freshwater in this country it will be the start of the biggest racial divide this country has ever seen. It is obscene to think that water that falls from the sky can be claimed by anyone. Getting rid of the Waitangi Tribunal would be a good way of getting some fairness in this country. Mike
Ownership should stay with the crown – no way does the “income without input ” brigade deserve ownership !!! Chris
Of course nz water, be it stored in estuaries and rivers or rainwater belong to all NZ people. It seems that the government are using so called “positive discrimation” for a minority and unelected group. Totally unwarranted and absolutely unfair. We should match in the streets before this could take place. Be fair to all electors and give us the chance to decide. Carol
Great idea but cant see Keys Govt. Letting it happen. Brian
If iwi get control of water(heaven forbid) what will be next? Perhaps we would then need their permission to walk on the beach or in the bush, climb a mountain or fish in a river. We are supposed to be one nation, one people. This appeasement attitude of the govt. has gone far enough. Bob
Fresh water is one of the essentials of life itself. The question of giving control of fresh water to racial business groups is a matter of national interest of importance far exceeding the choice of a flag. Robin
I am disgusted that Parliament is even considering realising control of our water ways to Iwi. I have been a staunch Nation Supported all my voting life – I am now 66 – but if this goes ahead I will be withdrawing my vote and support from the party. I feel very strongly about this that it is just another mis-interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi for the benefit of a minority. Sharen
Private ownership of water is ridiculous. Pete
No one group should have control. Tony
You gotta be joking “NO WAY”. CLARK
Our water belongs to New Zealanders not just IWI. Ann and Michael
I moved to NZ a country famous for being at the fore of civil rights, first to give women the vote, protests against Apartheid only to find that NZ has its own version of Apartheid. Maori seats are race based guaranteed seats in Parliament far in excess of what there numbers would allow not under a true democracy. MMP is fine and the Maori control of this country needs to stop. Noone but no one owns the water or the air. Stop this nonsense now. or will the Iwi pay for damage to my house when their sea and wind flood it? Gerry
Keep hands of our natural water supplies. Norm
The more these referenda are used to poll the public on issues the better for the political health of the nation. Peter
The government is intent upon dividing NZ into two: Part-Maoris and the rest. It’s time to show some guts, Mr Key, and start governing for all New Zealanders. What you lose from part-Maori support you will more than treble with support from brassed off citizens who are heartily sick of your sucking up to the remnants of a diluted race that only exist in name by governmental decree. There are no real Maoris. You are destroying our democracy in your grasp for power. Mitch
No, it should not be included in the flag referendum because, if Key and Co were doing their job in the interests of ALL New Zealanders the question would not even arise. If they do give in to iwi then as far as I am concerned, National will be retired from NZ politics for the next 50 years because they will have entirely abrogated their justification for being a political party. Ronmac
Race driven. What makes moari so special.  They can’t have their water and drink it too. Derek
I don’t believe there should even be a question because they should NOT have any control over the fresh water. What a travesty! Rosemary
The referendum will then serve a useful purpose!! Dave
Water belongs to no-one. Richard
A referendum is OK but the Government should definitely NOT let any Maori ownership of NEW Zealands water. Show sum leadership. Paul
If Maori gain control of water I will be changing my vote at the next election, for the 1st time ever. David
A definite NO NO NO. Water belongs to everyone. If the Government keeps going down this track it truly opens up for worse racial friction in the future. Helen
Aren’t Maori’s the ones trying to keep the waterways fresh and untainted. I mean look who’s dumping crap in the rivers nowadays. If anything I couldn’t think of anyone better to look after our water. John
Definitely not. Water is for everyone. Kay
No to Iwi controlling our water. Anna
Fresh water is for benefit of all New Zealanders and should therefore remain under the control of our elected representatives in government. I strongly oppose the fresh water rights going into private ownership of Iwi. Mark
An excellent idea if only it was possible. We need to take back New Zealand for New Zealanders and away from this Maori mumbo-jumbo, iwi greed and tribalism. Monica
This is an outrageous claim and should be not be even considered. Peter
Or even a separate referendum. Simon
Absolutely not – totally outrageous. David
Water belongs to everyone and no one group should control it, let alone be able to make money out of it. Isabel
YES YES YES!! What more can I say – our rights will be floating down the river if they change the status quo. Caro
My friends have no idea at all about this debate, so added advertising before the referendum would open their eyes.  I include Maori among my friends, and they are simply not aware. Dick
Not sure what is happening to NZ. Why is everything so PC, so them and us?? How about we all pull together to strengthen NZ and not continue to split it into segments. Jackie
Absolutely let the people put a stop to this racial rubbish once and for all. Jim
We are all responsible for caring for our water – no-one owns it – it is for us ALL. Anne-Marie
The government must obtain a clear agreement from the people in New Zealand that what is being proposed is acceptable to the majority of all citizens of New Zealand. To try and progress this proposal without consultation and approval from the citizens is dangerous, deceitful and undemocratic. Keith
Unbelievable 1% of the vote and this could happen – holy hell. Claire
Maori contr0l of water must be stopped. A referendum is a good idea. Laurie
Water is fundamental to life. Shame on the current Government for even considering this, doing it by stealth right behind the public’s back. Heading towards Totalitarianism.  Scary. Gaynor
This must be stopped. Wayne
What next? Walter
Representing maori only, the govt commits an act of treason on the rest of nzers! David
It is ridiculous in itself that this question should be asked, but if it is an issue, then, yes, by all means put it in the second referendum. Konrad
Absolutely NO ONE owns water. Tyrell
Like all the polls by keys the decision has been made and any further polls are only hiding his true agenda. Merv
Can’t believe that the conversation has got this far without consulting the public. Sandie
Water is for everyone not just a race based interest group. Robert
Refer to Treaty Of Waitangi 1840 original article. Immigration document for to NZ all newcomers. Denise
Yes, because the next thing, Iwi will be wanting power to control the air as well! Water,sea & air belongs to all Kiwis’. !!!!!! This should not even be a consideration at all !!!!!! Valerie
Government by stealth. We don’t want any part of it. Government should be open and honest. Jocelyn
Apartheid in NZ is slowly becoming a reality with the way things are progressing in this country. Why is this happening, Grow some balls government, and learn to say NO and stick with it. Maori and Europeans are citizens of NZ and shouldn’t be segregated. Shanla
Look into what is happening in Rotorua with the BOP Regional Council. Conflicts of interest and issues with fair process being raised by Mai Chen and a group of land owners. It has stalled rules being notified but we are well up against it. Sharon
Another cover up. Lance
There is no question to ans. Water is a resource belonging to everyone for our survival. What the hell are Key, Finlayson, English and others in the national old boys club doing. Time to remove these racially controlled weaklings. Carolyn
Once water rights are transferred to a private equity they are lost forever. Our descendants deserve better than this. This is not the New Zealand that I know. Sue
No person, entity or race should have control or ownership over a resource that is absolutely essential to the existence of all life forms on earth. Russell
Why doesnt the NZ public know this is happening??? Tom
This issue is too important to be included with the flag referendum, it needs to out there with its own referendum. Murray
I find the idea disturbing. Quentin
Water is for every one and should not come under control of 1 party. Especially Maori as it is a natural resource. Reuben
The record shows that the National Government is likely to take little notice of the majority of New Zealanders if it doesn’t suit them. Why do we continue down the road of discrimination against non maori -it is positively sickening.Get rid of the Maori “bum kissers”. William
The referendum on the flag is exactly that. If we collectively believe that control over water is important enough to warrant full public debate and a referendum, then let us have one dedicated to water only. Peter
Is like to see the removal of all race based policies in New Zealand. One country, one law. United we stand, divided we fall. Kynan
This is outrageous. Water comes from the sky, it doesnt belong to anyone. Next thing our water rates will increase to fill Iwi coffers! Liz
Deja vu. Last time it was the NZ seabeds. NZ public lost that; probably this issue will follow suit. At the end of the day the govt and iwi are in cohorts and illegally have their way. Sarah
Yes this is fine, although not all people effected by control of fresh water will be likely to vote in the up coming referendum. perhaps a pole available to more people should be undertaken. Brett
You’re misleading the public. Tom
No need for any question. This is not a debate, this is a fundamental rights issue. The Government needs to state unequivocally that NO apartheid division of God given natural resources can legally occur. Failing that we need to REMOVE Findlayson and Key from Office, require an immediate election on a NEW GOVERNMENT, one that is absent apartheid corruption, and we need to urgently and permanently DISBAND the flawed Waitangi Tribunal. Richard
No one should own NZ water. Louise
All New Zealanders deserve a right to be represented in this “life blood” issue. Colin
A separate referendum is urgently needed to address this question; a most appropriate undertaking given our democratic political status! Russell
If Iwi are to assume ownership of fresh water based on their ethnicity, then it follows on that those who identify as Maori would not pay water rates because why would you pay for something you own? Yes of course we need a referendum on this issue. Steve
Marvellous…and NO to both. Sandy
It is too important.. It need sense to step in water is a God given right to us all. What next in our racist country?? Lynne
Yes, but has National got what it takes, I don’t think so, the Maoris have got this Government by the short and curlies. Athol
The issue of the ownership of water is too important to be mixed up with the silly John Key chest thumping, flag change nonsense. Richard
Will they want to control the rain too?And would they be liable should there be a flood? Rod
Lets put it out there and not hide it! John
Kiwis have got to put a stop to this unbelievably stupid idea. We’ll be 2nd class citizens in own country at the rate things are happening. Neville
NO!!! Let’s get this farce of settlements finished. How many times are we going to allow Maori more and more extensions to dream up new claims, to change the meaning of the treaty wording to suit their new demands? ENOUGH! For goddness sake how much more money are they going to steal from long suffering taxpayers through a weak kneed government seeking their votes to pass into law whatever they please? When are we going to see democracy in action again? CM
Maori like all New Zealanders should be treated the same without preferential treatment. SM
Helen Clark gave the Maoris rights in the Waikato and it has resulted in everyone having to pay the local tribe before they can get planning permission for anything at all. Mr Key needs their votes and to hell with anything else. Pat
Another racial issue. The Maoris should have no exclusive rights. Miles
Less publicity required. Jim
Back door politics! Political pandering! Scrap the RMA & race based priviledge, allow NZ to have one law equally applied to all. Tony
Water is for the people of New Zealand not just the Maori, this should never happen. Georgie
Water is for everyone. The same water that was here when the first Maori canoes came is not here now. It is a renewable resource free to everyone. No-one owns the rain or the underground aquifers. Sandy
No, No, on both issues. Central Govt is just ducking out of its elected responsibility to all things of national concern. The “Flag” issue is just a smoke screen distraction that has no importance, will cost a bomb of taxpayer money and be worth diddly-squat to our importance on the world scene. Ced
We should all have a say. Ralph
This iwi shit needs to be stamped out. Bob
NO because the question should never be allowed, not even given credence. Why does everything need to be handed to Maori. Are we not one people, one nation, it’s ludicrous to think any other way. It’s just divisive, as always. When will New Zealanders start protecting what ibelongs to all and not a minority. It’s shameful. Audrey
No one owns water KJ is reneging shame on him. Gaz
Far better to have an honest vote by the people then sneaking racist water rights in through Councils with government recommendation. Eric
Actually, the two issues should be kept separate but there should be a referendum on ownership, governance and control of water. The divide between the Maori elite, who are grabbing control of everything they can for their own benefit, and the rest of the population grows wider by the day. They will never be satisfied until they have total control. Gary
Now is good and it would save the cost of another separate issue being raised later and hopefully put the issue and outcome on a sooner rather than later timeline once and for all. Laurel
It is bloody ridiculous. No one should be given ownership of the water. So sick of this whole Maori giving fiasco. Chris
Fresh water ownership must remain with a Government Department who manage this vital asset on behalf of all the population. No group should be allowed to control a public asset. If Maori are given ownership of fresh water sources they will use this power to get yet more public money from the Government, to the detriment of us all. Ernest
This is an economic and democratic way of solving this water ownership debate Theodorus
What the heck are the government thinking can they not appreciate that the water is a natural remorse not a commodity to be controlled by a racist group. Andrew
Vital this is brought to the public for full and open discussion. Bernie
Water belongs to all, not a group of those with their heads in the sand. Benjamin
It’s time to put this bed!!!! Shane
This issue has parity with the flag referendum. A big NO to both. If Iwi are given power over water rights the next step will be rates to regional council, district council and then Maori for the land we occupy. I despair. Fiona
Give it to maori control and before we know we have to buy bottled water. It could ONLY be benificial if all the tribes would drink this exclusively…….Unlikely. Jack
Shonkey Government yet again! Di
No one can nor should own or control the publics right to fresh water!!!!! Steve
More damn rubbish proposed for self interest. This is either one country or it’s not !!! Apartheid means separate development and that’s just what we are agreeing to — enough is enough. Alan
I have voted yes here as it is better than nothing, but I suspect the flag referendum will be so low key that this far more important issue will go unnoticed. Geoff
Every New Zealander needs to wake up and be aware of what is happening here. Rex
Absolutely. Too many sneaky under the table deals. Roy
This is of more importance to ALL New Zealanders than any flag! John
By the international “Law of Nature” water (including sea and fresh) must be publicly available to everyone and is included in our true founding document, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter of 16/11/1840, our true founding document that split us from New South Wales that the “Treaty” made us a dependency of and ruled by this State. George
Maori should have no more control than any other NZ citizen. Paul
People might wake up to what is happening. John
No! Not at al!! The Maori track record on virtues like accountability, trustworthiness and fairness sounds alarm bells for the rest of NZ. And National is once again being weazly on such a crucial issue. Thanks once again for your diligent scrutineering. Arthur
Replace it would be better still. Alister
This is a question that should not even need to be asked. The sense of entitlement being exhibited by both Government and Maori is astonishing. Where has democracy gone – a once every three year (election) sound bite. Gary
Universal free access to water is more important than changing the flag. Peter
No race based allocation of assets. NO PRIVATISATION. Terry
Nobody owns the water and Maori are trying to pull a fast trick. Water is under the name of the Crown whose responsibility it is to see that it is available to all New Zealanders. Robert
Iwi should not in any circumstances have any interest in water and this issue should not be in any flag referendum. These items are non comparable items. and would together cost the country much money which should be put into Health. Elizabeth
This is a very scary issue. Given that water shortages planet wide could be an issue in years to come this is setting NZers up for being held ransom over water. Sue
This must be decided by all the population not just a few politicians. Graeme
What a great idea! David
Grand idea. – (not much left to give away now). Stuart
When will it end? Will anyone be brave enough to say enough already? Rob
Very important that it does to the creeping Racism. Greg
crown to keep control David
Never ever should water be controlled by one minority group. Hans
Maori do not own N.Z it is unbelievable that the question even be considered. There are no true blood Maori. Edward
It needs to be brought into the forefront of discussion. Dave
Absolutely not! All IWI privilege should / must be dispensed with. Mike
A good opportunity to gauge the view of those on the electoral rolls to decide whether or not this is a good move!!! Rob
It belongs to ALL kiwis. Simon
I don’t want maori controlling our fresh water systems. Kelvin
Definitely – lets ask if the majority of nzers want to give water rights away to the Maoris. While we’re at it why not ask if the majority of nzers want the Waitangi Tribunal closed down and an end to all Treaty settlements. Judy
This is another case of the tail waging the dog. If this proceeds this government will be gone. Bob
No question. Water belongs to us all; johan
It’s a scandal, the very thought. Claude
The water management issue is an order of magnitude more important than the flag change issue. Rod
This would make the referendum worthwhile. George
This is too important an issue to be included in the Flag referendum. It needs its own referendum. This “consultation by stealth” is becoming all too common a tactic by government in New Zealand. Wayne
If government passes control of water to iwi, there will be conflict. Murray
This is one of the most important issues our country is facing.  In my opinion it is more serious than the flag issue. Bryan
They shouldn’t be given water ownership/goverance over rest of New Zealanders anyway, but if it goes to referendum then at least we get a chance as a country to decide. Vaughan
Water belongs to all as a resource not ownership. John
Never ever!!! Ken
It is time to challenge just who is running this country, is it not. Maggie
We need to get it out in the open for debate. Andrew
Have our present National Party members lost the plot? Ken
Why should the thought be even considered. Ownership of water, by any ethnic group is just to bloody silly. The question does however illustrate the supreme majesty of arrogance, that is involved in all of these claims, by people who could not see the benefits involved with inventing a bow and bloody arrow. These people shame me, and our Iwi. Wiremu
This will give us all a chance to tell the greedy IWI To go to hell. Colin
Absolutely it should be included. Wow .. how democratic would that be!! Maddi
What a good idea! We need to get rid of this demand by Maoris. It will turn a useless referendum (the flag issue) into a good use of taxpayer money to enable us to declare our opposition to Maori control of our water supply and the high costs and disadvantages of this racial policy. Chris
Water is the property of every one and should not be owned by any group as suggested by government. I agree the issue of water and flag should be on the referendum. John
Most definitely !! I was bought up to believe democracy meant majority ruled & apartheid meant separate rules based on race. Has something changed while I was asleep last night.. A.G.R.
No way Maori should have race based rights to anything, let alone water. If the decision is left to local authorities we all know what that will mean! the councils are already under Govt instruction to treat Maori as special, the rest of us are only here to fund them. Let’s hope NZCPR’s advertising gets through to the masses. Stevo
By all means hold a referendum, although it should not even be an issue. The whole treaty industry is becoming more and more ridiculous. Kabe
It needs to be dealt with as a separate issue not lost in an unpopular flag referendum. Les
Water belongs to ALL New Zealanders regardless of race. Helen
We do not want race based control of any system in NZ. Ian
I am furious that Govt have passed this major issue down to Local bodies who can be easily manipulated by Maori pressure groups. Murray
To give power/authority to one select group will without doubt create further grievance down the track. This resource is unquestionable for all New Zealanders. Should this or any government propose such a move directly or indirectly (as suggested) is a sign of weakness and shows that they fail to govern in a democratic manner by which mandate they were elected. Chris
Water belongs to all NZers not maori , that would be disastrous if they get control ,,they would then want control of power stations on the rivers and control the fishing as well, no way!!!! Graeme
If this flag referendum nonsense is going to proceed, and it looks as though it is, despite clear public opposition, then inclusion of this far more important question regarding fresh water control could ultimately be the second referendum’s sole redeeming feature. However, I very much doubt that this current, craven National Government will demonstrate sufficient honesty, leadership and integrity to allow New Zealand citizens to have any say in this matter. Les
I have less & less confidence in the National Govt making any transfer of power & control to Maori interests for political expediency! Cyril
Not ever, why would a rabble of boiled down maori have CONTROL over anything. James
New Zealands water must remain free to ALL New Zealand citizens. Peter
It has to come out into the open so the public know what is happening. Barbara
The reality is that Maori are no different from anyone else, unless the government goes ahead with their plan to give them control of water, they have absolutely no right to the ownership nor control of any water in any waterway in New Zealand. What more needs be said? Just what is the National Govt doing? Maurice
Let the people of NZ be heard. Clearly they will say no to this National Party sleight of hand deal with Maori. Fraser
This subject is far too important for the racially biased Govt to even to consider let alone have a referendum about it! Local councils do not have the skill or right to allocate control of a god given pivaledge . Stop the racial induction and get back down to erth. Ian
That a part of the population should control water is straightforward racist. John
A referendum vote might just be what is needed to bring this Government into line with the majority view. Barry
If Iwi dont want to be part of New Zealand lets fight it out and put an end to this separatist attitude once and for all. They can’t keep expecting the same rights as everyone else and more because they’re Moari. Most Moari dont even agree with them. Julian
It is a basic fundamental right of every fair minded New Zealand citizen. Hylton
The use and ownership of water is for the benefit of all New Zealanders and should never be under the control of a particular interest group. Ian
Yes, but depends on how the question is posed, and who decides on how it is posed? The government with a vested interest rate n the result?? Think of “the flag”referendum question! Peter
We are all New Zealanders whatever our colour or race and should all get equal rights with water. NZ is fast becoming a very racial country and a very undemocratcic one. Margaret
Absolutely. Let the people speak. Lesley
Absolutely, definitely NOT! Ron
Now is the time to have all those that claim to be Maori to have a D N A test. John
A different issue. Leon
Racial appeasement renders Key and Findlayson unfit for public office. Demand their removal. Tom
Get the public’s opinion! Mark
Most definitely. We, as New Zealand people, have a right to know what the government is planning to do with our water. We have a right to vote on it and for it to be taken into account. No one owns the water – it is for all to enjoy. Kerin
Good idea…. given their record of dishonesty, i wouldnt trust them in control of ANYTHING ! And why the hell should they have any control … they DONT own it .. FULL STOP. Des
Water being a necessity for life, natural justice demands that everyone must have equal rights to water, and its management and administration. Richard
There should not be any kowtowing to any minority group or race. Fresh water is owned by all. David
The issue of water ownership is much too important to be lumped in with the trivial distraction of the flag “debate”. The Government needs to be told in no uncertain terms to cease and desist from all and any suggestion of in any way divesting the Crown of the absolute ownership of water. Geoffrey
The prospect of giving the power to control fresh water to anyone or any group – especially a racial one – is utterly horrendous. Have they not considered that that power to control fresh water could then be on-sold to foreign interests. National must end this stupidity immediately. Jim
Absolutely, another erosion of rights for the majority of the population by politicians who are attracted to racist ideals. To even contemplate such a move is abhorrent to all NZers except the maoris and their activists. As the arrogance of all current politicians continues unabated, this will be a further step in the mire of race based policies to the detriment of the non maori poulation,ie the majority of the country, giving power to the maoris who have contributed nothing to the building of this nation. David
How bad can it get?? Colleen
So many have no idea what is going on with our fresh water this is very worrying it is all done by stealth wake up everyone. We are not all equal in this country. Leave our water for all not just Maori. Dianne
This method would warn the general population of the shocking undemocratic proposal. David
I believe this inclusion could help concentrate the mind of real New Zealanders to understand the deliberate social undermining of what New Zealanders really stands for TODAY. Stuart
Yes, why not. At least it will give NZ voters the one and only chance of having a say on this matter. Rog
National minister don’t even answer emails on this subject! What is the matter with rank and file national Party members that they ignore this? Roger
I am absolutely outraged by the move to pass control of a natural and essential resource to a group of racially selected citizens. What a gutless treacherous government we have in power. Grant
Yes should be put to the public one is one more useless thing on an already useless referendum can not understand why the Govt is bowing and scraping to Maori all the time what do they have that the majority don’t have time we becme NZ again as it was when I grew up. Russell
This threat will define the colour of the next Government. It beggars belief that this move is even considered. Douglas
Yes, of course. But with a generally ignorant and apathetic public, a media which always agrees with maori demands, and a majority of NZ politicians who believe that apartheid in our country is quite acceptable, the chances of this happening are nil! John
Water is essential for life. No one body should have control over water. This proposal will generate racial hatred. Lloyd
This is bloody ridiculous! We shouldn’t even have this discussion. Water ownership is sacrosanct for all NZers…not just greedy Iwi. Tony
Great idea but it’s just that! Pigs might fly!!! Alan
Racism by maori leaders is going to force water prices up and employ their army of lawyers to disrupt local government. George
Water is a basic need for all life, it must not be allowed to become the property of one particular race. I have no doubt Maori will hold the country to ransom. What will happen when it rains? will they own that too? Ray
Has common-sense been eradicated from governmental decision making processes? Colin
We should all decide. Stop the lunacy now. Dave
If nothing else it will put the matter front and centre with a generally apathetic public. Kevin
Every one has equal rights to water. When will this ridiculous nonsense and greed end. Ross
Disgusting!! And we were against apathied!! Noela
This question should simply not need to be asked. Rather ask the question in the referendum: Should NZ do away with APARTHEID and making everyone equal before the law by doing away with separate Maori seats in Parliament. Geoff
When is enough, enough, for these clowns? Dayal
The iwi could hold NZ to ransom if they had control of the water. It belongs to everyone not just a few. Cherryl
Time this apartheid ended. Sharon
Definitely. Frank
No race based law please. Neil
Otherwise non Maori will not get a chance to say anything. Arthur
But there’s not a hope of this happening. This government is prepared to utterly trample the democratic rights of the majority in order to appease the racist Maori Party and its camp followers, for the sake of short-term political expediency. It is utterly shameful. I’ve raised this with my local National MP, and he’s not the slightest bit interested. Graham
Water is best off administered by the govt for all NZ. Ray
Why is National being so deceptive about this issue? Nick
Start another war if this happens. LGF
No! The flag and water don’t mix! The flag is an expensive diversion, attempting to change something that the majority apparently want left alone. Water right is a far more serious matter as water is vital in the support of all life. It is a natural resource that ALL New Zealanders possess, and have a right to use to support life. What of those of us who collect and store rain water from our own buildings in tanks, and from the sky in dams? Is it proposed this be included? What nonsense! To vest the control of water in a single group, in this case a very small minority group, is utter madness, and perhaps a precursor of much greater internal division than exists already, which could, in the extreme, manifest itself in violence. Andrew
Yes it should! John
100% YES. Ian
Our water belongs to ALL New Zealanders. It is an abomination to think otherwise. This BASTARD Government is now showing its true colours. This must be stopped NOW. Rick
Yes we need a referendum on our fresh water in New Zealand. Along with our flag referendum. Robert
No way, water is for everybody, we pay enough for it now without Maori clipping the ticket as well. Graeme
Definitely. The National Govt have to be told in no uncertain terms that the majority of NZ’ers are against iwi control of water. I have sent s protest email to Winston Peters our local !!! MP but did I get a response ? No never. Some representative !!!! Jim
What a good idea…so long as it is binding. David
This is outrageous. Claire
As this matter is obviously going ahead, it should be well documented and researched in the media, then the people of New Zealand should have the right to vote. This will impact on all future generations. Sue
Sort it out once and for all. ill
Surely giving Maori water rights has to be political suicide by government. Philip
If the govt doesn’t wake up to this issue it will probably cost them the next election. Councils beware as well. This may well polarise nz’s apathetic voters. Kevin
What a load of racist BS! Andy
No one owns the water especialy maori. Jim
Iwi controlling water, another Maori gravy train. It makes me sick. Graeme
Disgusting. Julia
The whole issue is absolutely preposterous. Graeme
Water should be in the hands of the government of the day, period! Certainly not a not a racial or commercial entity. Ian
We should not have to do this – having a referenda question. Our government should be be more accountable to the votors. We should be pushing for the Swiss solution that being if the government passes legislation that we do not like we have the power to veto! Ian
The concept shouldn’t even be considered. George
Why only the 2nd referendum. This issue must be killed off, end of story. Nelson
OFFS! Mark
The fact that we are in this position is crazy! What are the government thinking? Albert
I am ok with the question going to a democratic process but in reality this should NOT be an issue on the table at all. Matthew
Absolutely the question should be asked in a referendum – after all, water is important to each and every one of us! Brian
The whole concept of Maori control of water is crazy. Andrew
There should be no private control of water in New Zealand but if any government decided to go ahead, it should be put to the public as a referendum question. The flag referendum provides the perfect opportunity. Chris
A referendum on water should be a priority. Jeremy
In trying to give control of water to tribes, National is selling out New Zealanders. This question of who controls our water should certainly be decided by a referendum question. The public has a right to have a say on such an important matter. Isobel