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Dr Muriel Newman

Submissions Open on Controversial Water Reform Proposals

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Last Saturday, National launched their controversial water discussion document, Next steps for fresh water, at a Party conference at Lake Tekapo. By announcing the major reform of the country’s system of fresh water management at a remote location on a weekend, National will have ensured that that most New Zealanders are unaware that a public consultation and submission process is now underway.

The government is proposing 23 specific reform initiatives covering three main aspects of water management: improving water quality, creating tribal control of fresh water, and improving the economic use of water.

Full details on the more contentious policy areas such as the exact nature of Maori rights to fresh water and how water privatisation will actually work, have not been spelt out. While this could be regarded as a shrewd attempt at minimising public alarm over the radical nature of these proposed changes, it is explained in the document in this way: “The Government is still finalising the package of allocation policy proposals that will fully address the range of interests of those wishing to access freshwater resources, including iwi/hapu, as further work is required to develop options that the Government and stakeholders can support.”

In his speech launching the consultation process, the Minister for the Environment Nick Smith pointed out that, “New Zealand does not have a shortage of water. We have 148 million litres per person, 16 times as much as the global average and 70 times as much as the UK or China. We only take two percent for human uses. Water shortages are generally localised and only for limited times over summer. Our biggest problem is that we have over-utilised the easy water in shallow aquifers rather than investing in the infrastructure to store and distribute peak flows.”

In terms of the quality of our water, the Minister explained, “our worst water quality is in urban environments”. This will no doubt surprise many, given that environmentalists and the media are always pointing the finger of blame at farmers. In fact, the environmental lobby has been so effective in turning public attitudes against farming that National – a party that used to stand up for farmers – has caved in and is now proposing a range of new draconian fencing rules that will cost farmers dearly.

According to Federated Farmers the voluntary fencing of waterways of more than 1 metre wide and 30 centimetres deep by dairy farmers has been an outstanding success – especially since Fonterra made it a condition of supply. Around 94 percent has already been achieved through 24,000 kilometres of fencing – the distance from New Zealand to Alaska and back! – with the balance set to be completed by the 1 July 2017 deadline.

However, the government now intends to extend the fencing requirement to dairy replacement stock, beef, deer and pigs. The deadline for pigs is 1 July 2017, for dairy replacement stock being grazed by their owners 2020 and by other farmers 2025, and for beef and intensive deer 2020 for farms on the plains, and 2025 for hill country farms.

Federated Farmers has estimated that at $10 a metre, the expected cost of these extra requirements to fence even remote farm waterways will range from $3.9 billion to $10 billion – a ridiculously high financial cost for what is likely to be, in most cases, of no significant long term benefit.

In his speech, the Minister explained that some water bodies have extremely long hydrological cycles, pointing out that it would take 75 years for excessive nutrients on farms in the central North Island to reach Lake Taupo. This means that some water quality issues go back decades – and will take similar periods to be resolved.

In New Zealand Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities are responsible for the overall quality of fresh water in their regions. The Government proposes to amend the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management to introduce freshwater management units, to break down that responsibility into catchments.

A Macroinvertebrate Community Index score is to be introduced to assess the presence of aquatic insects living in a freshwater ecosystem in order to monitor its ecological health.

Exceptions to the water quality rules will be allowed for significant infrastructure such as hydro-electric plants and dams – which provide almost 60 percent of New Zealand’s electricity supplies – so they can continue to operate efficiently in the national interest.

The Government will also amend the National Policy Statement to include coastal lakes and lagoons that are intermittently open to the sea.

When it comes to the issue of water allocation, the discussion document explains that water is currently allocated on a ‘first in, first served’ basis. While this approach works when there is plenty of available water, once water becomes scarce, the government is concerned that there is no mechanism to prioritise new, higher value or more efficient users.

Accordingly, they are proposing to introduce three new measures for councils to use. Technical Efficiency Standards will define the amount of water that would be used by an efficient user in different climates and soils, depending on whether the end use is urban, hydro, or irrigation. Good Management Practice standards will measure the acceptable amount of nitrogen that can be discharged, depending on climate, soils and uses. And Full Allocation standards will indicate that no more water is available in a catchment for new consents or discharges.

The government is also planning to not only allow councils to charge for water, but to also allow consent holders of water and discharge allowances to sell them – effectively privatising water.

In effect, this would be the largest privatisation in New Zealand’s history, since freshwater is estimated by the Ministry for the Environment to be worth $35 billion a year. It’s a very big deal, not only for those who are going to lose water rights, but for Maori tribes who want to control the water rights industry and gain race-based allocations in perpetuity.

Some say the privatisation of water and the granting of race-based rights is payback for a deal that was done between the government and tribal leaders at that the time of National’s partial privatisation of state owned power companies in 2012. In return for tribal claimants letting the sale go through, National agreed to recognise ‘Maori rights and interests in freshwater’ – a commitment Crown council reaffirmed in a case before the Supreme Court in 2014.

In reality, since under common law and the Resource Management Act, no-one owns water in New Zealand, irrespective of who owns the surrounding land or the beds of waterways, there are and should be no tribal rights to water (nor to the rain, nor the clouds…) – a conclusion consistently reached by successive governments.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, David Round, a Lecturer in Law at Canterbury University, has re-examined the Waitangi Tribunal’s 2012 interim report on freshwater that declared that Maori have rights and interests in water akin to ownership to ascertain exactly what evidence was used to prove ownership rights exist. He has discovered that of the points listed as ‘proof of ownership’, “quite a few appeal to nothing more than picturesque myth or superstition”.

But he also points out: “Just note that the claim being made is indeed one for ‘ownership’, or something so close to it as to be practically indistinguishable. The Tribunal in its report repeated the claimants’ words that ‘the closest English cultural equivalent to express this [1840] Maori customary authority is ownership’.

“This is worth emphasising, because as of this moment the story is being spread about that the Maori claim is not one for ownership ~ that ownership is a very European, legalistic, unpleasant concept unknown to caring Maori.  Maori don’t want ownership, no! What made us think that? All they want is just a say, a far greater say than they have now as to what happens to water. The obligations imposed upon Maori to care for their taonga simply mean that they have to be in charge! The Brown Man’s burden… But only panicky prejudiced people like some of us could misinterpret the Treaty claim as being one for ‘ownership’.

“Several staunch Maori, all with good English names, have told me this. But it is simply not true. It may well be that they have now decided that since an out and out attempt to obtain ‘ownership’ is unlikely to succeed, then greater influence ~ read, ‘control’ ~ will do instead. And indeed, as long as Maori influence is sufficient to control decisions about water, it does not matter much whether the legal classification of  ‘ownership’ is officially attached to it or not. Even if Maori do not end up with ‘ownership’, but ‘only’ with much greater influence in decision-making, the result will still be disastrous.”

It is clear from the discussion document that the government is now being driven by the demands of tribal leaders for control of water. A Crown submission to the Waitangi Tribunal written this week confirms that fact.

To satisfy Iwi Leaders and the Waitangi Tribunal the spiritual concept of “Te Mana o te Wai” has already been included in the 2014 National Policy Statement on Fresh Water, embedding in “the innate well-being and vitality (mauri) of a water body and its ability to provide for the health of the water (te hauora o te wai), the health of the environment (te hauora o te taiao), and the health of the people (te hauora o te tangata)”.

National intends strengthening this concept: “When Te Mana o te Wai is given effect, the water body will sustain the full range of environmental, social, cultural and economic values held by iwi and the community. This is a concept that is relevant to all New Zealanders.”

But this is where the government is seriously wrong. It is totally inappropriate to include culture and spiritualism in legislation controlling the quality of water.

National is now asserting that all tribes have associations with freshwater bodies. Some of these have already been recognised in Treaty settlements – through statutory acknowledgements, the vesting of the beds of the water bodies in a tribe, or through a “new legal personality” such as in the case of the W(h)anganui River.

Settlement Acts are also creating new requirements for decision-making. Anyone who wants resource consents in the vast number of areas where statutory acknowledgements exist must consult all iwi individually – with each no doubt charging the hapless applicant a substantial fee for pro-forma cultural assessments.

In their discussion document, the government explains, “not all iwi and hapu associations with particular freshwater bodies have been recognised. We propose to require regional councils to identify iwi and hapu relationships with freshwater bodies through their planning process.”

Inevitably, this approach will result in Maori tribes controlling every waterway in New Zealand, clipping the ticket whenever anyone applies for a resource consent – and receiving royalties for the use of water, if it is privatised.

The document states: “We propose to require regional councils, when setting freshwater objectives, to identify the values of the iwi and hapu that have associations with those freshwater bodies. Hand-in-hand with recognition of their association with water bodies, there needs to be ways for iwi and hapu to participate in decision-making about those water bodies. This decision making occurs through development of regional policy statements, regional plans, catchment plans, and consenting.”

By passing the buck onto local bodies to determine exactly what Maori rights and interests in fresh water really are, National is ensuring that any tribe claiming any sort of association with any body of water will get their way. Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities are simply not set up to properly determine the proof of such matters. National is fully aware of this.

Such an approach is also totally at odds with the claims being made by Minister Nick Smith, that through their Resource Management Act reforms, National is striving for consistency at local government level.

The point is that decision-making around tribal rights and interests in fresh water is the sole responsibility of central government – and it is the National Party alone that must accept the consequences of giving control of the nation’s waterways to Maori.

National has already provided tribal leaders with a mechanism to control local bodies through their proposed Iwi Participation Arrangements (IPA) in the RMA reform bill.

They are now planning to introduce a second mechanism, one proposed by tribal leaders – mana whakahono a rohe – to give individual tribes control over the fresh water consenting process: “as part of our discussions with the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group on improving iwi participation in freshwater decision-making, we discussed an alternative proposal to the IPA. Under this proposal, iwi could invite councils to agree how iwi and councils will work together on natural resource management. The name the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group proposed for this agreement is ‘mana whakahono a rohe’.”

National is also proposing to involve tribes in Water Conservation Orders, used to preserve and protect outstanding geothermal and fresh water bodies. They intend further amendments to the RMA to “require water conservation order applications to provide evidence of consultation with relevant iwi and have one person nominated by the relevant iwi represented on the Special Tribunal convened to hear the application.”

On top of all of this, it is proposed that taxpayer funding will be provided by the Ministry for the Environment to resource tribes so they can contribute meaningfully in their new governance roles. Iwi Leaders have said they want $1 billion for this purpose – is this the beginning of that deal?

Submissions on the freshwater consultation document close on 22nd April at 5pm. We would urge all concerned New Zealanders to have their say.


Do you support the government’s plan to give control over freshwater to tribal groups?

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.


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

Click to view x 120


A big definitely NO. Graham
At least John Key has a few clues in not offering a referendum on the matter. Unlike the flag debate, with the maori rights to our water issue, he could be 100% sure of the lack of support. In future general elections please vote for one of the few parties who do not believe that maori are superior to all other New Zealanders. John
Water…A God given gift freely given to all mankind. TREVOR
Absolutely NOT!! It is long past time to stop this tribal BS and acknowledge that we are ONE PEOPLE and provide no special rights to groups on a racial basis!! Jim
Definitely no.  Sick and tired of their greedy grabs. they have no more rights than any one else. Dona
Easter Trading, Control of Fresh Water, Everytime the Government finds itself with a problem which is likely to be divisive it “does a Herod” and washes its hand of it, preferring, instead, that others shoulder the problem, in these cases the Councils. Thus we get different interpretations everywhere, no consistency and huge hike in our rates account. Spineless Bas—ds. Mike
Water belongs to everyone! Pat
National will not be getting my vote if they proceed with this blatantly racist policy. Selwyn
No one owns the water, just another Govt. ploy to get their bills through Parliament and using the Maori Party to do so. What’s next? Will we be also selling off the air waves? It totally against my better judgement but I will be voting for Winston Peters next election. Wayne
My objection to this proposal by Government revolves around the Government obvious acceptance that the Waitangi Tribunal decision that Maori own freshwater ‘as of right.’ My submission to this Freshwater Committee is on one principal. That the Treaty of Waitangi gives Maori the SAME rights as British citizens. NO MORE AND NO LESS. Therefore this Committee has to reject any special conditions that Maori want, on the democratic basis that we are all equal under the law; and furthermore that their Chiefs signed the Treaty, and Maori have lived and accepted New Zealand Law since that signing. There is no basis for giving Maori any special privileges whatsoever, and to do so, would in reality place the Government in a position whereby it has accepted the principal of apartheid. i.e. ‘The separation of Maori on grounds of culture and ethnicity; from and above, the rest of the citizens of New Zealand.’ Brian
Absolutely Not! Barry
Water belongs to everyone not an elite few, the control should always be in government hands. Carolyn
This country is already heading downhill with burden of all these treaty settlements. Add water control to that and the burden will increase. All New Zealanders excluding Maori are slowly but surely being strangled to a point where NZ will end up a model of what South Africa used to be. Neville
Definitely NOT. This government is bringing death to democracy to this nation. This government has to be the most UNDEMOCRATIC government since our first parliament was founded. Maori have enough – billions of dollars have been handed out to them, some it, based on untruthful claims. Enough is Enough. NZ First has the answer t this proposed bill. Remove all race based clauses and proceed with the aim of bringing equality to all the people., A final word to John Key – it is high time you kept a promise not to allow anyhone to own the fresh water in this nation, DO NOT MAKE NZ A LAUGHING STOCK THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. CM
National is RACIST. Steve
$1 billion worth of NO! Bruce
It is a complete travesty. Elaine
J Key should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for supporting apartheid policies. NZ played a major role in the dismantling of apartheid in S Africa. It seems that J Key is working to look after his own political career rather than working in the best interest of the country. Appalling. Don
The water resource should be solely owned by the Govt. It is an essential resource and no group of any persuasion should have influence on its allocation. Richard
Water belongs to all, not any group “on the make”. Maori technically do not exist in law so how can they claim anything! John
Nobody owns water, it’s created by mother nature. We therefore can not let anyone control access to water, whilst the government has no right to give any special rights to Maori. All people living in New Zealand are recognized as New Zealanders, which means we all have equal rights. Stop stuffing around and avoid racist inequality. Elizabeth
Will they be responsible for out of control water also. (ie flooding and its consequences ). Or just clip the ticket on what they can control. Jono
How much longer is this nonsense going on for?? When will the sheeple wake up? William
This would be further stupidity in the extreme. Water cannot be owned by any ethnic group, it is for the use of all NZ citizens and residents, of whom Maori comprise a small percentage. Shane
Will no one in parliament put forward a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in this out of control excuse for a government failing miserably in their duty and elected to address the interests of the nation as whole, instead of pandying to lies and deceit of the sovereignty movement? NO ONE OWNS THE WATER IN NZ or in any other nation. When will John Key stand up, show some guts and actually KEEP A PROMISE HE’S MADE? His legacy is becoming a litany of lies uttered to deceive the people. It’s way past time for him to realise none of his wishes or demands matter one scrap. He is there to address the needs of ALL the people of this nation, without regard to giving special privileges to any group. The bottom line is he is laying a foundation for civil war. Cecelia
Another free for all Maori which is making this current Governments future looking shaky and Winston Peters and his party looking good. Ken
That the National government is prepared to support tribal WATER lies, myths and mumbo-jumbo is outrageously unacceptable in the 21st century. Besides the Maori party will not be voted in in the next election so are irrelevant. Monica
Water is free for everybody. No one has the right to claim ownership. Peter
Apart from this being crimination against New Zealanders it is blatant racialism. Where`s Devoy? The time is well over due for the South Island to cut it`s tie with Wellington, go for “home rule” with provincial governments. and an upper house. Parliament as it stands is a band of nit wits. Brownlee, a fine example as It could only be politicians who would rent a property off these iwi`s that do not pay taxes. Not only that the Justice Dept.,paid for the upgrade of the Springfield Road marae then rent it as well. It`s rampant in local bodies as well. National- all for private enterprise? Robert
It is straight out racism. Apartheid in its purest form. Kerry
Water is a strategic asset that should be held by Government for the benefit of the general public rather than a faction. Bruce
I do not support this plan at all. It has become a frightful situation indeed where our elected Govt is betraying not only their voters, but jeopardizing our Democratic principles and undermine the rule of law.I find it also disturbing that these important and far reaching issues are negotiated behind closed doors under total exclusion of the public( which then is given a rather limited time to respond by submission to a rather complex piece of legislation)And the fact that the negotiation partners are a unelected group of tribal leaders who have nothing else in mind but to increase their powers and wealth at the expense of everybody else. If these changes are pushed through and made ‘law’ we will see drastic changes in a very short time after.I.e. cases of privatisation of water, installation of water meters everywhere so that everybody will be charged by the liters of water consumed.Just wait!! Michael
Absolutely not. Tell the greedy bloody Iwi to go to hell immediately and to take the Waitangi tribunal with them. Colin
Definitely not. I think even wasting time on this is utterly preposterous! Our democratic(?) Government should not have anything to do with such blatant forms of racism. Water belongs to everybody. Kevan
When Captain Cook landed in New Zealand, Maori had no concept of anyone owning Land, Water or Sky. Therefore they have no special right of any of these things. they are New Zealanders just like the rest of us. Rod
This is absolute tripe as ably described in the detailed preface to this Weekly Poll. Nothing but costs and frustration between New Zealanders will result from this proposed action. Is there no level headed person left in Government? Alan
I would vigourosly oppose the transfer of water rights to maori,. I am not sure that any council in New Zealand would have the intelligence to allocate water in a proper manner. They are just as greedy and incompetent as Maori. Allan
Never, Never, Never. Richard
We must stop this pandering nonsense to a greedy, raced based, bunch of criminals. Our Government ministers are acting like common criminals in this matter. Peter
Kiwis need to awaken from heir self induced come how badly this country is being run and ransacked by John Key and co. Andy
They have no such rights beyond any other citizen. Russell
In no way does the water supply belong to Maori. They have no legitimate claim to it. It ought to remain in public ownership. Auntie Podes
No group/body should have control over our freshwater. Brenda
Nobody can claim to own any water. It is a natural resource, the product of many sources, rain and snow, melting ice, springs and other aquifers. NO NO NO to any attempt at ownership. Russell
I can only look at what National are proposing in complete horror. What the hell is going on here. You have to start to wonder if there is not massive corruption going involved. These decisions are so bad for all new Zealanders that you have to wonder if certain Ministers are being bought off. Nothing else seems to make sense. How can a mere 15% of the population have so much influence. We have got to get binding referendum as the law of the country to help our politicians make decisions that are in the interests of all New zealanders and not just a small group who our politicians seem to me mortally afraid of. Ronmac
This would be a disaster and cost more to the taxpayers as well as creating more problems for us all! Amy
What an absolutely diabolical attitude which likely will further drive a massive racial division amongst genuine New Zealanders. I believe John Key needs to be exposed and deposed for his personal vote chasing against the longer term stability and betterment of greater New Zealand. Stuart
Maori have their boot on the throat of pakeha New Zealanders I never thought that successive Governments could harm the lifelong relationships i have had with Maori over my lifetime.The divide is widening every day. Gary
This is crazy. It has to stop. Melva
Conclusively NO!The whole concept is grieviously flawed in all respects. If this proposal gets any traction whatsoever there will be significant social unrest, escalating into violence within and between communities. Andrew
Water belongs to all, not just a racial minority. Bryan
Frankly, I find this sickening. When is National going to stop handing over everything we all have a right to use and enjoy to demanding Maori, when they are not selling it off to the highest overseas bidder. Water is NOT owned by Maori and must not ever be in their control. Gail
I am absolutely disgusted with the Government, the Waitangi Tribunal and the self centered greedy Maori radicals regarding the control and virtual ownership by Maori. If this Government had any nous and intelligence it would disband the Tribunal and tell the Maoris to wake up to the real world and stop rewriting the Treaty and making these ridiculous claims emanating from their fairytale beliefs. Mike
This action will divide the country. I am very fearful. This will have more far reaching effects than changing the present flag. David
Definatelty not! What next? Ron
Ian McKelvie assures me the National Government would never do that! Colleen
Nationals proposals, as you have outlined, will irrevocably destroy NZ society and marginalise any citizen who cannot claim maori ancestry.. this is naive government. Sorry National, you have to go!. Vic
Control of freshwater and any water for that manner is the total ownership and control by the government and no mention of iwi or treaty of Waitangi or Maori should be included in any form or discussion. Andrew
We are all nzers. Barry
Surely what is being proposed by Govt. is not far off a treasonable betrayal of 85%of our people — it MUST be stopped. Alan
Freshwater is a birthright for everyone in NZ…control should not be given to cultural groups…the national waterways should stay in control of the government.. Yvonne
No one has a right of control based on race. John
No way. Maori or any group should not have any control whatsover on any of our waterways in any Maori demands. Frank
Absolutely not!!! Alastair
No way hose! Gerald
It belongs to us all. Winifred
The last nation to practice apartheid became an international pariah and seriously divided along race lines. Do not let it happen to New Zealand. We are one nation, DO NOT perpetuate racial divisions for short-term, populist political reasons! Tony
Key and Co have to GO so we can restore our democracy. Forbes
In no way should any such unelected group have this authority over water. So if half castes, quarter castes and those with a 16th Maori blood connection can gain control, does that mean the white side of themselves will have to pay? Lost of rubbish here. Murray
I recently saw a bumper sticker “GET YOUR SHARE OF THE TREATY SETTLEMENTS,BECOME A MAORI” I assume that there would be a form one can fill out to apply? Barry
This must not be allowed to happen but the question on the minds of most New Zealanders is “how can we make Government listen to the majority ” and put an end to the racial division they are creating. Peter
This is the end of our nz way of life as maori have proved time and time again they have a plan to dominate the pakeha. Bryan
Absolutely not. Fresh water is for all. Stewart
Maori have no right over ownership or control of water. The treaty does not give it and the govt should ensure it retains control on behalf of all NZers. Bryan
This Maori nonsense has to stop! One country – one people .P.C. Has gone too far. Robyn
Natures gift of water must be available at no or very little cost to every person here in this country regardless of the colour of their skin and guarded by its people via its elected national government! Theodorus
Never. Wake up cowardly Kiwis to this blatant robbery. Fire Findlayson immediately. Tom
OTT Martin
Definitely not……John Key you are making a big mistake by under estimating the strong feelings of the silent majority, of New Zealanders. Dianne
Here we go again, though this time by an underhand and backdoor strategy. I & my family and friends with whom I have discussed this issue agree that we are heading down a dangerous and highly divisive road which stinks of the old South African system of Apartheid . We must act to stop this otherwise we will have a divided country. We tread in dangerous waters if we go down the proposed path set out by the Government. I would not be surprised if the Bill is approved in its present form then it is tat-tar National as we could not trust them to act in the national interest. One other point – why could we not have a referendum on the issue – this would be much more relevant and important than the current Flag referendum. Brian
The water does not belong to anyone, it comes from the sky and flows out to the sea, so if Maori control the water, it follows they also have a interest in the sea. Pat
Absolutely NO. Graeme
Hell, no. Colin
It smells of manure and I don’t mean cow. Ray
Everything about Moari is picturesque myth and superstition they are still living in an era 2000 years behind us. Ian
No-one owns the water – it is a gift from God. No government anywhere has the right to give control to any particular group. Water is owned by everybody! Kath
Never. Water is not owned by anyone, I don’t care who they are. Kerin
NEVER. Michael
Why should Maori tribal groups have control over our freshwater. No one should control our freshwater ways. Just leave things alone. Tribal groups just want to much. No more controls from groups of people. STOP. Robert
No No NO !! What is wrong with the National Party ?? and – Labour has been quiet about this subject – do they agree ?? Why are the Parties so scared to make a stand and tell the Brown-Brothers to back off – water belongs to no-one special .. but to us all. The Party who gets this deal right – will get our vote, lots of family and friends will not vote for National if this goes through. Elayne
Having gained control of water presumably the next grab will be for control of air. Don
National must think we are a bunch of idiotic morons to be feeding us such rubbish. Maybe next year(election year) they will realize their mistake. I for one will be voting for any party that promises to put an end to the separatism that prevails over the country at present.. Frank
Nationals proposal for Maori water rights is nothing other than an attempt to buy the Maori vote. Lex
If National give anything to do with water to Maori they will be booted out at the next election and will be remembered for being screwed by the Maori party. so come on Winston finger out and sort this stupid government out before it’s too late. Athol
Do we live in a democratic country? Mark
A recipe for disaster. John
Water is one of the absolute essentials of life.  Allowing control of this to go to a race based minority is unbelievable. Bryan
Control must remain at the centre of Govt! Jim
As has been said no one owns water. JOHN
Absolute garbage ..this will be the death nail for National as far as I’m concerned. Derek
HELL NO! Scott
What the hell is wrong with politicians ? There doesn’t seem to be one COLLECTIVE brain in Parliament any more. The only reason we have fresh water is because of the rain system. It’s simple. No rain, no water supply. And don’t give me the old chest nut of groundwater. Where did people think that came from ?. Certainly not from the centre of the Earth. If people want to control the water supply, define them as controlling the rain as well. Then they’d be liable for all weather systems also, thus allowing the rest of us to sue them when we have torrential rainfall and all the attendant damages stemming from that. C”m-o-o-o-o-n. You’re kidding about the water control. Right ?. I can’t believe N.Z. is in the 21st century. And almost EVERY New Zealander is part of the big herd of SHEEP, that infest this country. When will SOMEONE stand up and say, ENOUGH. Let’s get the final ownership of this country determined once and for all.. Real N.Z.ers are sick and tired of all the bickering about who was here first and who owned what. No REAL politician has enough guts to grasp the nettle and settle the issue once and for all, before we get into a civil war about the matter. It’s heading that way and every day brings the conflict closer. It’s easy to be smart in retrospect, when the issue could have been settled long before. John
National’s plan is racist in favour of a minority and by giving unelected authority to this minority is also undemocratic. Graham
Water falls from the skies or comes from underground reservoirs, but it belongs to everyone, not just a few. Heather
We are one people. Water belongs to all of us. Ross
WHY ! Ken
Water is owned by no one, but can be used by anyone. Jim
New Zealand is two thirds mountainous and we live by our rainfall. If we lose control of our water to tribal groups, we lose control of our country. Harry
Just paid our sub to the Nats, may have to rethink if tribal groups have any influence re water allocations. Roger
This maori “Fairies in my garden” rubbish is beyond a joke, what on earth are these half witted politicians doing even considering such a stupid divisive and racist idea in the first place? there is obviously an agenda here that the rest of us are unaware of, or there is an awful lot of monety changing hands to get these racist deals done. Either way the word Treason springs to mind. Unfortunately we are seeing the worst of MMP because we all know that one party on its own would never subject themselves to this political suicide. Stevo
Absolute bloody nonsense. David
As far as I am concerned, that is the same as giving the control over to any other race. No single race should hold power, we are one, we are New Zealanders. Bill
NO NO NO. The sooner we are all treated as one people and not an Orwellian theory of Equality but some are more equal than others the better for all. Robin
Any Act and/or Regulation that gives control and/or overseeing rights to persons based upon their ethnic origins should be abhorrent to all New Zealanders, but in particular to our Legislators. Why are iwi/hapu needs and desires any different to those of other ethnic backgrounds that also reside in the same community? Why do considerations on amendments to the RMA provide iwi/hapu specific interest rights and privileges based upon some right claimed to be bestowed by the TofW? Michael
Most definitely NOT! Trevor
If we become a Republic does the Treaty of Waitangi become null and void? Frank
This government is intent on continuing to grow a divisive NZ! We are all ONE!!!! Maori have no more rights to ANYTHING than do european Kiwis. Get rid of that War Council the Waiting Tribunal. Ron
Nobody owns our freshwater it’s a bloody joke. Murray
Control MUST be the direct responsibility of central government. Maori have no more right to water anywhere than the rest of New Zealanders. Dean
On the basis of what is in the proposals this government has to be voted out.he sooner the better. Barry
National will loose my support, after 50 years. if this goes through! Peter
Next in line will be a levy on the air we breathe. Maurice
Can someone explain to me why this is necessary. What actions undertaken by tribal rights, has anything to do with the water being available to all and sundry. What is it with this government, that leads them to be wanting to do deals with tangata whenua, at the cost of legal and statutory rights that I thought we all have as a people and a nation. For anyone including Nick bloody Smith to put forward such a specis argument that he has, is an insult to the intellect of the whole bloody nation. If Mr. Smith really believes in the argument he has put forward, then he is a bigger bloody idiot than he appears to be. My previous comments on the subject, likened them to the futility of the gun lobby in the USA. I believe that we are doing the same here that has led to the lunacy that prevails there in their right to walk around armed to the teeth to go shopping. Charlton Heston remark that they would have to pull his gun from his cold, dead hand,mirrors the attitude that some if not all of Maoridom will apply to their individual rights to govern this land as they imagine, it should be. Sometime in the future god will estimate success, until then people it is up to us.. Wiremu
Why not include the Sun shine and the rain. Murray
A resounding “NO”. Diana
Absolutely not. This is very dangerous ground very dangerous. It fact it is plum crazy. It’s a bit like the emperors new clothes for example no matter what folk law Maori say there really is no Taniwa living in a river that needs to be appeased usually with money. It’s JUST not true. In the same way water is everyone’s end of story. Roger
Never, not ever! Carol
Vive la revolution! Russ
What a load of racial, biased garbage and political sickness. This govt does not represent the people or our natural assets and our established way of life and freedom .. IAN
Key and his mob as such lying MONGRELS, you cannot trust them at all, Key according to Bill Clinton was in part responsible for the financial collapse along with the collapse of the Russian rupol when he was in the finance sector, he was also well known as one of the biggest liars around, do all you people out there believe him about the rights they are going to give away to maari tribes. They give it all to the bloody maari’s in secret all the time. It should not happen. Never give the water rights to the tribes. National are a bloody national DISGRACE. Frank
It is inherently racist, will increase costs and effectively will be open to bias. Nobody should own the water resource. Bruce
I can not believe just how gullible our politicians that hold ministerial positions are that can be drawn into such a pack of make believe innuendo crap that they are being fed. This issue is just too much for stupid decisions to be allowed! As far as I am concerned I will make my next vote favour Winston Peters team, at least he has the balls to stand up and be counted!! Laurence
Nobody owns water or air, and nobody should. Andy
Water is not owned by anyone. Stuff the greedy maoris!!! Jim
The water belong to the Nation an should be controlled by an elected Government Why is it that these fools keep Legislating complex laws and not keep it simple. John
Who is running this country? The National Government controlled by John Key or a bunch of part Maori activists controlled by greed? Robbie
This plan will not benefit the people of this country. It is obvious it is an attempt by the National Party to stay in power. Dennis
More nonsense from JK & his party.Lets hold a real referendum “Should all NZ citizens be treated equally”. Steve
Absolutely NOT. David
I do not trust either the present govt nor Maori interest group to make trustworthy decisions now about water-rights in this country! Cyril
This proposal is beyond stupid. What a sad day that any political party would even think to go to such extremes to hang on to power. Shame on the National Party Geoffrey
All New Zealanders should ‘own ‘ the water and have equal consultation rights. Terry
How could any sane person even consider such an absurd proposal. The National Party are treating all of us with total contempt and don’t deserve to be re-elected. It’s now time to give Winston a chance to put the Maori Mafia (and the rest of the condescending and conniving low-life who support them) in their place ie. kicked-off their taxpayer funded high-horses and back into the real world. Steve
Control is much cheaper than ownership. Peter
With the Maoris’ established record of signing agreements with the tacit understanding that the present signatories cannot bind future generations it is clear no honourable long-lasting contracts will be complied with. Hence the mass of “Final Settlements” over the past 200 years. Add this to the malleable history of the Maori and their denial and suppression of pre-Maori residents here who may have been eaten by the cannibalistic Maori any Government who attempts to treat with them does so at it’s peril. The INTENTION of the Waitangi Treaty was to establish order in NZ at the time, prevent Maoris with guns killing the rest, protecting the vulnerable and guaranteeing Maori full citizenship. Subsequent lobbying to and by the Waitangi Tribunal has bastardised the intent of the original treaty. No minority group should have any extra rights to public and natural assets. Anon
Just another grab by Maori ! Malcolm
Water from the atmosphere cannot be ‘owned’ in its natural state – as in rivers, lakes and streams. If extracted and bottled or used for irrigation then local authorities monitor, ration and charge for a service or supply. Certainly no tribe has any more ‘right’ to ownership than every other New Zealand citizen. Remember: “We are now ONE people”. John
Unbelievable !! or is it ? NO, quite believable that this govt is literally caving in to demands from the maoris to grab what no one race in any country on the planet has “ownership” of, or control, only the maoris who seem to have the delusion that they are some supreme race that have a “right” to do so. What next….meters clipped to our noses to measure the amount of air we breath and pay the maoris a fee for it !! Time for a NZ “Donald Trump” to tell the maoris the way it is going to be ! Anon
Control should be vested in the Crown for the benefit of all the people living in New Zealand regardless of whether they are citizens or not. Peter
No no only when the fires of hell turn to ice. James
It is tragically ironic that this country, that was so strongly opposed to apartheid in South Africa, is now actively engaged in introducing racist based privileges and concessions to Maori interests. This insidious and absurd behaviour needs to be terminated now and replaced with reforms that accord equal rights to all New Zealanders. David
The water belongs to all New Zealanders. Helen
Like the seabed and foreshore, it is there for all New Zealand and not to be controlled by the iwi elite. Murray
Never! This government better wake up or the evaporation of support already showing in the flag fiasco could become a wipeout at election time. Robin
No way, this is a public resource and always should be. Charles
Why? We are one people – no one owns fresh water, or any water… Graham
This as usual is pure greed and further control by the maori, plus they are asking for funding to take over a product (water )that is available equally to every New Zealand citizen. Are they going to pay all the rest of us out for the water that neither we nor they own. Before they are GIVEN control of the water rights. John Key needs to be held accountable for the damage his is doing to this countries economy and national assets that he is encouraging to be sold off to overseas interests – whom the maori are also working with. Jude
No never. Anthony
Our national Christian legacy, as also surely accepted by Maori with a similar background, is that God as Creator has bestowed the blessings of the natural world on all to enjoy. Because as Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s,” so despite the poetic appeal of myth, Maori also must surely recognise such claims can only be made with tongue in cheek. Arthur
The brown table have got a weak, spineless govt’ at their mercy, about time a stand was taken for all N.Zers, not just a few of the tribal elite. Time to grow a pair. Barry
What is the matter with this present government ,they seem to be intent on selling N.Z down the river to all these greedy iwi who claim for any thing they wish. Digby
www.Skeletons in the cup board Rodney
It’s obvious that any policy that is race based is extremely divisive and likely to impact negatively on NZs long term well being. Why would any persons in government pursue this line of action? Delia
NO, this proposal would be against the wish of the vast majority of New Zealanders. Bryan
Fresh water belongs to no one. Richard
This could easily be the casue that casues National voters to abandon National at the next election. Rod
How have we come to such a racist situation s this nobody has any ownership of any water way In a slight of hand two Maori have been appointed to Ecan the other day so no election required is this democratic interesting part the story was only on the internet a very short time before it was taken down Unfortunately it has all been down hill since we had the days of our local catchment boards who to good care of our water.  If the Maori get their way we are down the river with no paddle. Russell
Time to stop all this appease the minority and treaty so called rights. Only thing that should apply is the here and now and progress as one nation going forward. Govt no matter which lot are a soft touch lot and the members only focus on keeping there pay cheques at the next election – and water is a perfect example of trying to stay in power with the support of the Maori Party !!!! Kevin
Why ? Because they do not own water and never have. Rog
When is this racist BS going to stop. What next, the air? Bruce
Should be available to all not just one group who would in the end be able to control all of NZ not a good thing at all. Cherryl
No one can own the water we are all the same. Richard
Never. Graeme
Supported National for years but his doesn’t make good reading to me. Nigel
Its time to call a halt on all this claim nonsense. Phil
Fresh water should be free for all to enjoy forever. It is a gift from God. Maori have no rights on the us and distribution of it. Murray
We must stand firm on this. Willy
A real election loser. John
Absolutely bloody NOT!! Fresh water is a universal right. Tony
Absolutely NO. David
More money grubbing by Iwi. Chris
This is the most stupid thing that the govt. could think of. Jim
Just another race based bazaar piece of crap. Trevor
Water control should never be a race issue. I seriously oppose this move and will vote against the National government at the next election if this bill gets passed. Kerry
It should be available to all at no cost. Diana
It is “sickening” to even consider this racist proposal. Cliff
All persons in NZ own the Water , no one person or any group shall own or part own any free flowing river or Lake in NZ.. Maori not to be given any special privilege as such, all for one and one for all! The original Treaty Document will show this quite clearly that no such option or promise was ever made to or for the Maori people in NZ. Dave
Nobody owns the water. We are fortunate to have access to fresh water in this country so lets not fight about the rights of any one group to OWN the water. It is surely about sharing. Laurel
HELL NO! Much is made of what More-ee lost thru colonisation. No-one mentions what they have gained (but have never been asked to pay for…) The country the world knows as NZ is not here because of a stone age race with no written language, and primitive beliefs based on spirits and demons, it was largely the blood, sweat and tears of early white settlers and technology. Habeus corpus me a taniwha and I will support the deviation of any motorway you name. Beware the More-ee modus operandus: Ask for the SUN. You won’t get it, but you often get the moon as compensation (when all you were really after was a meteorite!) Lesley
This would create great division in NZ society. NZ citizens have equal rights and in a democracy this freedom must prevail. The 1840s indigenous maori presumably had certain rights as does our contemporary maori have rights – but what are ancestral rights? This is of course nonsense. I will never vote National again – they simply can’t be trusted. Bruce
What can we do about it? Both National & Labour love Maoris and every year give them more and more extras. We are a democracy? like heck. Eric
Definitely NO. The National govt would thereby put another wedge between the races thus hastening a separatist state. Paul
Absolutely no it is racist and not in the better interests of all NZ citizens. Norm
Totally not. The “interests of iwi/hapu” is mafia speak for a scam against the interests of New Zealand citizens. John
This is the most disasterous Government in our history. Key is spineless and is driven by a compulsive obsession to rule at any cost.. Hence his coalition with the Maori Party has turned New Zealand into a neo apartheid state. The whole water question is the Achilles heel of the National Party. A further surge in the polls by NZ First maybe the only way to restrain Key and his party of psycophants. Tom
It goes from bad to worse!!! National should never, ever be re-elected to office. They simply can’t be trusted! Alan
Equal rights for all. Bill
Racism I will not be voting National this election And I have voted for them for the last 15. Look out Shonkey you have sold us up the river with your separatist unprincipled governance. Disgusting gutless government. Greg
Absolutely NO! Brian
ApartheidNZ is sending this country to a watery grave. Paul
Why do we have to go through this crap, and who does the Govt they think they are to even consider this farcical idea. William
NO, NO, NO, NEVER… from a very disillusioned, nearly ex, National party supporter. John
I feel so sad for the future of N.Z. Hazel
Horrifying thought. Catherine
Ludicrous. I cant believe that any sane government would support this divisive, racist lawmaking. I never thought I would say this, but I might actually vote for Winston. John
It is hard to believe that National would sell their souls and our Democratic right to equality before the law in exchange for the Maori Party votes that will get their bills made law. And tax payers get to fund the Maori’s involvement. How stupid are we? Joyce
Absolutely not – enough is enough!! Jack
I used to vote National, but this is the last straw! I wonder what next they will hand over to those who claim to be “the people of the land” ; but who in fact immigrated here like the rest of us? Ted
There is no room for race based policy in New Zealand. National party do this at your peril. Bryan
Stop pandering to Maori interests. They are only after the gravy from a toothless Government. Kevin
Water is a natural resourse which originally comes from rain which comes from the atmosphere and therefore belongs to all mankind – NOT to any one particular ethnic group. William
This has to be as stupid as the Auckland Council Out Of Scope plans for building. Geoff
It is ludicrous to place the control of any essential commodity in the hands of a minority group. How stupid do things have to get before we are thinking as one nation? Paul
What Nonsense. Albert
Our local National MP is seriously deluded about this claiming that it is just a settlement of historic claims-his letter says that. He has absolutely no idea!! Roger
Water belongs to all of us, the people. Not to private enterprise, not to tribal groups or any other entity. And no “deals” – particularly “quiet” or “secret” ones should be done by government or local councils. Richard
Special rights for Maori = APARTHEID. Pure and simple. APARTHEID = Separitism. Geoff
As many people as possible need to make a submission. The Proposal is worse for us all than the Foreshore and Seabed situation. Mike
Just another veiled excuse by Maori to exhort payment to them for what ‘God’ and nature provides – it is a scandal and as a life long supporter of National Governments this is a scandal ! ” nobody owns water” as the PM said a year ago. Hylton
They lost it all when the treaty was signed this government shows how weak and spineless it is says a lot for their spineless leader. Rowan
Maori have no more right to water control than any other New Zealander. If it is an issue of indigenous ownership, then surely the first inhabitants of New Zealand, the Celtic peoples, would be the recipients of the those rights. David
“no one owns the water” quote from PM John Key so why is he now proposing a complete U turn!! Laurie
What next the air we breath will be taxed for Maori !!!! Ian
Water belongs to every one , you do not give control of it to a minority group , it should always stay in Govt hands. Colin
The idea is just nonesence and must not happen. Ian
No more pandering to the money grabbing, control seeking iwi, who hardly represent their tribe members in any case. John
It should belong to ALL New Zealanders. There isn’t one reason that stands up to make this change. Allison
Control of resources on the basis of race is patently wrong, clearly unjust, and divisive in terms of human rights.. Peter
Surely Maori already have rights to access water, just like the rest of us New Zealanders? Martin
A thousand time NO. Robert
Our local National MP is seriously deluded about this claiming that it is just a settlement of historic claims – his letter says that. He has absolutely no idea!! Roger
Water belongs to all of us, the people. Not to private enterprise, not to tribal groups or any other entity. And no “deals” – particularly “quiet” or “secret” ones should be done by government or local councils. Richard
Special rights for Maori = APARTHEID. Pure and simple. APARTHEID = Separitism. Geoff
As many people as possible need to make a submission. The Proposal is worse for us all than the Foreshore and Seabed situation. mike
Just another veiled excuse by Maori to exhort payment to them for what ‘God’ and nature provides – it is a scandal and as a life long supporter of National Governments this is a scandal ! ” nobody owns water” as the PM said a year ago. Hylton
They lost it all when the treaty was signed. This government shows how weak and spineless it is. It says a lot for their spineless leader. Rowan
Maori have no more right to water control than any other New Zealander. If it is an issue of indigenous ownership, then surely the first inhabitants of New Zealand, the Celtic peoples, would be the recipients of the those rights. David
“No one owns the water” quote from PM John Key so why is he now proposing a complete U turn!! Laurie
What next the air we breath will be taxed for Maori !!!! Ian
Water belongs to every one , you do not give control of it to a minority group , it should always stay in Govt hands. Colin
The idea is just nonsense and must not happen. Ian
No more pandering to the money grabbing, control seeking iwi, who hardly represent their tribe members in any case. John
It should belong to ALL New Zealanders. There isn’t one reason that stands up to make this change. Allison
Control of resources on the basis of race is patently wrong, clearly unjust, and divisive in terms of human rights.. Peter
Surely Maori already have rights to access water, just like the rest of us New Zealanders? Martin
A thousand time NO. Robert
No bloody no. Nev Kath
Control of water resources should be in the hands of a totally democratic process. Brian
No no no … it’s a no brainer! Maddi
John Key, NO you do not have my permission to give control off NZ water resources to tribal groups. Unelected representative in any democratic society is not acceptable and does not have my permission to be carried out. Neil
Maori claims as to any water rights carry even less credibility than their claims over airwaves. Kelvin
It seems inconceivable to me that a National government should, of all administrations, be prepared to pass this atrociously racist legislation. The future for this country will be very bleak indeed if it goes ahead. Graham
Vital resources such as water must stay solely in the hands of government maori have NO rights to water!!! William
No, No a thousand time NO! Vern
This is madness, racist and ridiculous. Liz
NO NO NO. Audrey
Maori have no more right to water than anyone else. Maori were saved from extinction and inteer tribal wareffare by the treaty which they wanted. Edward
The country seems to have really degenerated into 2 peoples. Way worse than when we left 40 years ago. There should be no separation of one lot having this and one lot having that. Water of all things, belongs to all. Don’t allow anything else! Go on Kiwis, fight it. Get your voices heard! Noelene
I, no matter how I try to rationalise this I cannot. It is in my opinion high time NEW ZELANDERS unite as was the initial intent of the treaty. The apologies & hand wringing over the past need to stop & we as one people move into the future. Creating some kind of apartied in New Zealand I guarantee this was NOT the intent of treaty formers. Tracy
I think it is a disgrace even considering it.. Donald
Appalling. Peter
No way why are they even debating this? Joe
No, absolutely not! If National goes through with this I will never vote for them again. Charles
This is just a sell-out to supremacists. How on earth can any government even consider doing this. Jason
All strength to Winston Peters! Christine
Some of the water reforms are sensible, but planning to privatise water at a time when tribal leaders are so strong is madness. And giving tribes control over water when all previous governments have rejected such advances shows just how much National has lost their way in race relations. Steven
If National goes ahead with these changes, they will be committing political suicide. Rob