A national hui in Tauranga this month has resulted in Maori union members and iwi leaders endorsing a call made to halt asset sales and negotiate water rights.
More than 200 iwi leaders and Council of Trade Union members from around the country attended the one day hui at Baypark on Tuesday, September 18 to discuss how to improve the lives of New Zealand Maori.
AFFCO workers protest outside the meatworks in Rangiuru. Photo: File.
CTU Maori Vice President Syd Keepa says the iwi leaders and Maori members resolved to both strengthen the relationship between unions and iwi to progress the rights of workers in this country and to endorse the position iwi reached at Turangawaewae regarding the call to halt asset sales and negotiate water rights iwi by iwi.
About 700 people attended the Turangawaewae hui earlier in the month, called by the Maori King, after the Government delayed the partial sale of state asset Mighty River Power.
Some in the Maori council wanted a national deal with the Crown, but many iwi leaders were happy to negotiate separately, iwi by iwi.
At last week’s hui, Syd says Maori workers and their unions called for the Government to stop assets sales and for iwi to work together to define and negotiate Maori proprietary rights and interests over water.
“They strongly urged iwi not to enter into negotiations with the crown until proprietary rights and interests were addressed. This is consistent with the ‘common interest’ recognition dominating the mood of the occasion.”
The historic hui also recognised the role iwi leaders played in the settlement of the recent dispute at the AFFCO meatworks with the presentation of a taonga from the meatworkers union iwi involved.
"I am confident this hui marks the beginning of something very exciting with huge potential for a collaboration that will make the experience of work, better, safer and more secure," says Syd.
"Iwi leaders described it as a ‘no-brainer’ that the interests of Maori workers are the same interests promoted by unions and iwi in their everyday work, and that by combining our strengths in strategic collaborations, we will all benefit.”