21 Jul 2012

Iwi talks details canvassed at water hearing

7:43 am on 21 July 2012

Waitangi Tribunal members conducting an inquiry into water rights have questioned aspects of the Government's relationship with the Iwi Leaders Forum - and asked if talks with the leaders have produced results.

The Crown wrapped up its closing submissions to the hearing 20 July, afteran eight day hearing.

The Waitangi Tribunal inquiry was launched after the Maori Council filed an urgent claim sparked by the government proposal to sell up to 49% of shares in four state-owned companies including three power companies that use hydro generation.

Tribunal members questioned what outcomes had emerged from the relationship between the Government and the Iwi Leaders Forum.

It raised a question of whether the engagement was a form of tokenism, as it could not see any documentation of outcomes, and the forum only represents some iwi - not all.

Crown lawyers responded indicating that the relationship gave an insight into a Maori point of view about matters, including water.

The tribunal will now consider the evidence and give a direction on whether Maori rights may be

affected by the Government's share sale proposal.