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Governance of water based on responsible use – an elegant solution?‎

The inspiration for this chapter is a proposal said to represent "a paradigm shift" for the governance of freshwater, articulated by Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie in 2014. ² Arising out of challenges to a government plan to sell its shares in powergenerating companies,³ the Durie proposal has at its heart a possibility for reconciling Maori rights and interests and wider general interests in freshwater. It is based on the assumption that Maori and the general public have a legitimate interest in the natural water regimes of the country. However, the source of the interest is not the same. The Maori interest is proprietary and is sourced in their status as the indigenous first peoples of the land who were guaranteed continuation of their tino rangatiratanga in respect of their lands and waters in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.⁴ The public interest is sourced in the British laws that superimposed Maori laws through processes of colonisation. The heart of the Durie proposal is that those utilising water for commercial purposes should be charged and that an independent commission would be responsible for overseeing charging and revenue collection and disbursement. A proportion of the funds would be allocated to Maori authorities in recognition of the Maori interest. Whether in public or Maori hands, the funds should be applied to the maintenance or improvement of the natural water bodies of the area or the assurance of water supplies to all homes. In short, the proposal focuses upon responsibility.
Chapter in Book
Type of thesis
Te Aho, L. (2019). Governance of water based on responsible use – an elegant solution? In B. Martin, L. Te Aho, & M. Humphries-Kil (Eds.), Responsability, Law and Governance for Living Well with the Earth (pp. 143–161). London and New York: Routledge.
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