Kahui Wai Māori group to work on freshwater

The Government is establishing a new group to broaden the conversation with Māori on freshwater.

Environment Minister David Parker today briefed the Iwi Chairs Forum meeting on plans to establish the group, to be known as Kahui Wai Māori – the Māori Freshwater Forum.

“Freshwater is a taonga of huge significance for Maori and all New Zealanders.

“This Government is committed to protecting and restoring our freshwater for future generations. We want to see a material improvement in water quality within five years.

“As we take the next steps towards this goal, we want to widen our engagement with Māori.”

David Parker said protecting water quality must include a discussion about allocation of nutrient discharges.

“In nutrient-enriched catchments nutrient pollution needs to reduce. This must be achieved fairly between existing investment and under-developed land.

“We recognise that under-developed land is disproportionately in Maori hands. We intend to address this issue on a catchment by catchment basis.”

David Parker joined Crown/Maori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta at the Iwi Chairs Forum meeting at Hopuhopu.

David Parker said Ministers acknowledged the valuable contribution by the Iwi Leaders Group to the debate on water in recent years.

“We now want to include more voices, from different areas of Māoridom.”

“We want to discuss our agenda and priorities with this group, including the work that is underway to identify ‘at-risk’ catchments, ensure plans are in place for those catchments and take action where necessary,” David Parker said.

This at-risk catchment approach was recommended by the Land and Water Forum, as a way to ensure rapid progress on preventing further degradation.  Information is being gathered from regional councils and other interested groups, which will be tested and reviewed.

“I also expect the Ministry for the Environment to engage with Kahui Wai Māori on proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement on freshwater and other regulatory instruments.

“Over time I am sure there will be other matters on the agenda for this new group.”

David Parker said Kahui Wai Māori will not be the only way in which the Crown engages Māori on freshwater.

The Iwi Chairs Forum and other Māori leadership groups are being asked to nominate members with in-depth experience in water and land issues.” Additional members may be appointed from time to time if specific knowledge, skills or perspectives are required.

Background information

The role of Kahui Wai Māori is to:

    • facilitate engagement between the Crown and Māori on freshwater reform;
    • collaboratively develop and analyse policy options on issues of particular importance to Māori across the freshwater reform programme;
    • provide advice directly to Ministers where they wish to;
    • undertake any other advisory/research function agreed between the Crown and the KWM; and
    • undertake or facilitate engagement with the wider Māori community on key issues if necessary.
      Membership of Kahui Wai Māori should be based on perspectives, insights and skills from a wide range of Māori society. To ensure that members meet these criteria officials will seek applicants with the following skills and perspectives:
    • Iwi / hapū and Pan Māori organisations;
    • Māori Incorporations and other Māori Industry;
    • Māori interest groups and academics;
    • Natural resource planning;
    • Mātauranga Māori;
    • Commercial and business;
    • Legal / policy and economics; and
    • Science.

Members appointed will already have the in-depth understanding of the issues needed to work on policy options for freshwater.

Nominations will be invited from Māori leadership groups by 20 August 2018.

Membership will be approved by Cabinet and members will be paid the standard fees for Cabinet appointees.

Secretariat services will be provided by the Ministry for the Environment.