The Government’s Three Waters reforms are critical to addressing the quantity of water Auckland is taking from the Waikato river, according to Waikato Tainui chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan.
Morgan was appointed chairman of the Iwi Regional Representative Group, which covers 45 hapū and iwi across Northland and Tāmaki Makaurau, as well as the Far North District Council, Whangarei District Council, Kaipara District Council and Auckland Council, within the new Three Waters co-governance strategy.
Auckland has permission to draw more than 300 million litres of water from the Waikato river every day.
Speaking to the Iwi Chairs Forum in Taupō, Morgan said Three Waters would give Waikato Tainui more of a say on how that is done, and on any subsequent increases.
“As kaitiaki of Waikato awa, we support all steps to protect the natural taonga that is our taiao,” Morgan said.
“While it is easy and convenient for Auckland Council and Watercare to keep increasing the water take from our awa tūpuna to supply water to Tāmaki Makaurau, it is not sustainable.”
While acknowledging some objections to Three Waters, Morgan told the forum the present system, which places sole water management with councils, wasn’t doing enough to support communities.
“All New Zealanders across the motu should have access to safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater, and this principle overrides all others,” Morgan said.
“We support efforts to keep this kaupapa at the heart of this work.”