The Māori Party is encouraged by the Government’s willingness to achieve cleaner waterways in Aotearoa but believes maintaining the mauri of freshwater should be the focus.
Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says, freshwater management requires a cohesive and coherent water quality management framework and focusing more on Te Mana o Te Wai should be considered by the Government.
“While economic opportunities and water standards are two areas that are being looked at, the real emphasis should be on enhancing water quality and monitoring to protect the mauri of our waterways for a more sustainable future,” Ms Fox says.
“The Māori Party has always advocated for drinkable water quality standards for all of our waterways and so a swimmable standard goes some way towards achieving this,” says Ms Fox.
“As we have seen, water quality and quantity is a huge issue for all of Aotearoa. Many stakeholders including land owners, hapū and iwi, farmers, businesses and local authorities, all have a responsibility and an interest in ensuring that our waterways are cleaned up and that we find solutions to reduce the effects of pollution and overuse,” says Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-leader of the Māori Party.
“Swimming and gathering kai in our freshwaters has been carried out by generations of New Zealanders and we want to make sure that our tamariki and future generations can continue to use it without the fear of becoming sick,” says Mr Flavell.
“Greater investment in Te Mana o Te Wai is needed to give a practical application to freshwater quality management,” says Mr Flavell.
The Māori Party established funding to support Te Mana o Te Wai to fund conservation projects. The Māori Party also supports the integration of the kaupapa of Te Mana o Te Wai as a way to ensure the wellbeing of our waterways.
The three elements of Te Mana o Te Wai are:
• Te hauora o te wai – the health and mauri (quality and vitality) of water
• Te hauora o taiao – the health and mauri of the environment and...
• Te hauora o te tangata – the health and mauri of the people.
The Māori Party will strive for Te Mana o Te Wai to remain as the overarching objective for freshwater management.