6 Sep 2012

Maori Council rejects it should step down on water talks

6:57 pm on 6 September 2012

The Maori Council is rejecting a suggestion that it should step aside and let the Iwi Chairs Forum lead the debate on Maori water rights.

The Government has delayed its plan to sell up to 49% of shares in the state enterprise, Mighty River Power, until next year.

It gives the Crown time to talk to tribes along the Waikato River that are directly affected by the sales plan.

A member of the Iwi Chairs Forum, Haami Piripi, is thanking the council for getting Maori to this position.

He suggests it's time for iwi to take over and for the council to take a watchdog role.

But Maori Council co-chair Rahui Katene says it's too early for it to relinquish its role to press for water rights.

She says once a national framework around water has been set up, then it will step aside on the water issue.