18 Jul 2012

Maori Party, PM agree on further talks on water

10:56 pm on 18 July 2012

The Prime Minister and the co-leaders of the Maori Party have ended their meeting at Parliament with an agreement to hold further talks on the water rights case before the Waitangi Tribunal.

The meeting was called because the Maori Party was upset by John Key's comments about the case, and his statement that the Government could choose to ignore the tribunal's findings.

The meeting at the Beehive lasted more than an hour on Wednesday night, and a joint statement was released afterwards.

It says the two parties have agreed that when the Waitangi Tribunal report is issued that, as part of developing their respective responses, they will jointly discuss the matter.

The statement says that for the Maori Party, the debate is not about ownership, but about protecting the rights and interests of hapu and iwi with respect to water.

It says the Maori Party and the Government will continue to support a process of negotiation between hapu, iwi and the Government over water rights.

And it says the Government has undertaken not to legislate over those rights and interests.