6 Sep 2012

Water hui organisers untroubled at Crown's absence

1:51 pm on 6 September 2012

The spokesperson for the Maori King says the Prime Minister was never going to be invited to a national hui on water rights.

The Maori King, Tuheitia, will host the meeting at Turangawaewae marae in Ngaruawahia on 13 September for Maori to discuss water rights following a Waitangi Tribunal report on the matter.

Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday the Crown won't be represented at the hui and no National Maori MPs will be allowed to go.

The King's spokesperson and National Summit chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan says the Prime Minister's attendance was never even considered when the idea of the national hui was being mooted.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme it was immaterial and inconsequential that Crown representatives won't be there.

"This was always about our own time, our own opportunity to engage in a constructive conversation for the first time in the wake of what the Prime Minister said about suspending the (Mighty River Power) float."

On Monday, the Crown said it would delay its planned partial sale of shares in Mighty River Power until 2013 to allow more time to consult with Maori after an interim report from the tribunal found that Maori have proprietary rights over water.

Freshwater iwi group to attend

The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group will attend the hui and report the findings to the Iwi Chairs Forum

The group, headed by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Sir Tumu te Heuheu, was set up in 2007 to engage with the Government and express the view of all iwi about fresh water matters. It is a subgroup of the Iwi Chairs Forum.

Sir Tumu says the hui, and others that follow, will help ongoing talks with the Goverment.