The Iwi Chairs Forum has rejected the Government's plan to set up a freshwater advisory group saying that it's not reflective of a Treaty of Waitangi partnership.

The Government recently presented its Kāhui Wai proposal to the iwi leaders to break the impasse on freshwater rights, but iwi leaders’ spokesperson Selwyn Parata says the announcement came out of the blue and iwi leaders were disappointed at the lack of consultation.

“Kāore rawa atu i kōrero mai te Minita ki a mātou ki te rapa i ō mātou whakaaro me pēhea te whakahaere i tēnei Kāhui Wai Māori.”

But Environment Minister David Parker says he wants Māori to have a role in developing the policy.

“We want to have an inclusive consultation with Māoridom, including with iwi leaders. We've already received a substantial number of nominations from other groups and we'll see how it rolls.”

Parata adds that for any such forum to work it must have equal input from both parties, and equal number of members.

“Kia 50% o te rōpū mai i ngā kaiārahi ā iwi o te motu, 50% mai i te karauna.”

Labour Party Māori Caucus member Kelvin Davis says the door is still open.

“Mehemea e hiahia ana rātou te uru mai ki roto i te Kāhui Wai Māori, e pai ana tērā, engari, te whānuitanga o te ao Māori, e harikoa ana rātou.

“Na mātou i tono atu ki a rātou kia tuku ingoa mai, kia whai tātou i ngā mātanga, i ngā tohunga e mōhio ana ki ngā take e pā ana ki te wai.”

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