The Water Services Bill passed into law yesterday providing an improved framework for providing healthier drinking water, culturally appropriate wastewater management and a platform for the investment needed to achieve these aspirations.
Selwyn Parata, Chair of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, stated, “we recognise the intent of the reform, and are focused on ensuring that Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Mana o te Wai are implemented in a manner which opens the door for improved participation in this sector for our people, as leaders, as kaitiaki, as customers and as providers in the new structures”.
Decades of underinvestment, particularly in infrastructure that supply Maori communities is a key issue as well as the legacy of three waters assets on lands that were confiscated and are of cultural importance to our whanau with many discharges continuing to go into waterways. Particularly, for our whanau on the East Coast, our infrastructure needs face significant under investment, exposing our vulnerability to climate change, and requiring bespoke solutions for those of Ngati Porou who live off the municipal supply. It is envisaged that this reform will provide a platform to transform the way we manage this space, as long as whanau, hapu and iwi are driving solutions and implementation.
Mr Parata also noted, “we recognise the sensitivity of this programme to New Zealanders, but we acknowledge the leadership of Minister Mahuta, in the face of an onslaught of racism and misogyny, to hold the line to provide clean, safe drinking water to all of our communities, her service in this space will enable intergenerational positive impacts for our wai”.
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