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Edward Ellison
Edward Ellison
The Otago Regional Council’s partnership with local iwi is a "work in progress", Otakou kaumatua Edward Ellison says.

It follows Generation Zero telling the Otago Regional Council, during an annual plan public hearing this week, that it had treated Ngai Tahu like a stakeholder rather than a partner.

The national, youth-led climate organisation believed local iwi’s voice had been diminished among other stakeholders.

Mr Ellison said he was working with councillors directly to devise a plan for better engagement with Ngai Tahu.

The framework for this was being discussed during ORC strategy and policy committee meetings, which occur every eight weeks.

"We are aware that there can be improvements made and we put that to council, they have listened and they have come back with a model that is being discussed and progressing," he said.

The plan would focus on elevating Ngai Tahu to a "higher level", where they would have direct input, particularly on land and water regional plan development.

But the model should apply across the entire Resource Management Act, where various land changes occurred, he said.

Mr Ellison and Lyn Carter both sit as iwi representatives on ORC’s strategy and planning committee, following the council voting to add two iwi representation positions last year.

He said he had brought issues surrounding iwi partnership to council’s attention in January, as it had been evident through experience of the existing framework surrounding collaboration with local iwi that a change was needed.

"It is still in process ... a work in progress."


So, holding two unelected positions on the committee including voting rights still not enough?

Think about it a little harder, John. I doubt that any relationship, much less partnership, can be measured simply by the number of seats at a Committee table. It is about mutual understanding, trust and quality communication that enhances stewardship of the natural resources of Otago.

My comment does not address communication or trust, merely representative democracy. And I'm not against the committee's aims in enhancing stewardship of natural resources for all.

There is no partnership, Harmonic Bard. The treaty specifically joined the two races together under one government. The concept of "partnership" is spin-doctoring from Maori separatists - who are not necessarily Maori. This move is undemocratic.