Foreshore & Seabed | Waikato-Tainui confiscation settlement precedent
Te Ururoa Flavell looking like the next Minister of Maori Affairs.
The Waikato catchment co-governance arrangements - negotiated under Labour and passed recently by National - offer a template that may apply throughout the country to all internal waterways. This area may also overlap with the foreshore and seabed in the case of estuaries, lagoons and harbours - which will have title implications.
In the Waikato case it is relatively straight-forward. The Crown invaded to seize the river and everything else they could get their hands on in 1863 and is now half giving it back... sort of. Because the Crown agreement was directly with one group under a common leadership and with many existing legislative milestones and bureaucratic relationships under their belts the passage of the legislation did not drag on and there doesn't appear to have been major objections to this compromise.
The question is - with this precedent of co-management - how will the Crown/Iwi relationship and legislation work when the waterways are contested and divided between many Iwi? Multi-Iwi and Crown legislation has been passed before, viz: Hauraki Gulf Forum/Tikapa Moana, but the Waikato River authority will be more than just a DoC consultation meeting. All the Iwi whose rohe lies inside the catchment will demand top table representation. This poses many issues: Treaty claims, settlements process, and friction between Maori/Iwi groups and between Crown/Pakeha groups. It will be a difficult course, but one that offers durability because of the effort.
At some point the notional 50/50 that underpins the Waikato deal will be challenged too, but that's a dispute for another day. However, as an interim step to acknowledge the territorial integrity/mana whenua of Iwi and towards a Maori polity that can interact effectively with the Crown government it will have nationwide application.