The Government is qualifying a promise it's making on Maori water rights
The Maori Party says it's been promised the Government won't legislate on water rights apply even if the Courts should establish that Maori have a proprietary interest in water.
John Key says the position is right, but it would depend on all the factors involved.
"I think it's a big difference between the recognition of a right or interest to ownership because ownership complies ownership to the whole resource and payment for use of that resource, there's quite a big difference."
The Prime Minister isn't keen on applying a Marine and Coastal Act style solution to Maori water rights and water ownership
New Zealand First is unimpressed with the deal struck between National and the Maori Party.
Leader Winston Peters says it's an unmitigated circus and what's needed is a national policy on water rights.
"It should of been resolved long before the Prime Minister put it all at risk with his asset sales. So right now they are dancing around the pinhead trying to give legal description to things that are undefined."
John Key says in theory the government could legislate to say no-one owns water in the same way it legislated to set a position on the foreshore and seabed.
But he hopes it doesn't come to that and it's not the preferred option.
"We're far more likely to get a constructive outcome when we actually sit down iwi by iwi and through the settlement process and negotiate a solution through this."
Photo: NZ Herald