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Maori take water rights debate to Waitangi

Published: 11:40AM Tuesday February 05, 2013 Source: ONE News

Maori get their first opportunity to go face to face with the Prime Minister on the issue of water rights today.

The Maori Council is meeting on the marae at Waitangi today, as its case is before the Supreme Court to try to stop or delay the Government's planned part-sale of some state assets.

Maori Council Co-Chairman Maanu Paul is set to speak on the water issue at the forum tent in Waitangi today, ahead of Waitangi Day commemorations tomorrow.

John Key may be present for what could be a fiery speech by the Maori Council Co-Chairman, said ONE News political editor Corin Dann.

Dann told TV ONE's Breakfast the wider issue of who owns the water or whether there are any proprietary rights for Maori around water is a big issue that needs to be resolved regardless of the asset sales.

"So it's an ongoing issue. That's the type of issue which you would hope there is some dialogue between the politicians at a marae like this today where you get some sort of positive interaction. And let's hope that happens," he said.

Key's refusal to talk about water rights with the Maori Council has clearly got backs up.

"Key is acting like a child in a tantrum," Maanu Paul said yesterday.

"He has a very brutal and violent way of relating with Maori."

Key said he cannot see why Paul would make those comments.

"This is a government that has completed a huge number of settlements in the time that we've been in office.

"I understand the Maori Council's perspective when it comes to water. We've seen those arguments now taken to the Supreme Court and I stand by the views I've always held."