A Maori leader is calling on the government to be proactive in setting up a national policy to deal with Maori rights to water.
Iwi Leadership Group member Haami Piripi told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday that there were several ways of addressing the issue and his group and the Land and Water Forum were trying to establish a policy nationally.
The Waitangi Tribunal is due to release an interim report next week after the Maori Council asked it to consider Maori rights to water.
The tribunal asked the government to put plans to partially privatise energy companies on hold while the issue was considered and the government told it to hurry up with its report.
Tribunal decisions are not binding on the government but the uncertainty about Maori water rights, and potential court action, could affect the asset sale process.
"I'm sure the tribunal will report that there is a proprietary interest that needs to be taken into account in the asset sales programme that the government's undertaking," Mr Piripi said.
He said a previous Labour-led government had turned its back on Maori on the issue of rights to the foreshore and seabed.
He said the current government should be proactive on the issue of water rights.
"I think it's incumbent on the prime minister of New Zealand to find a way that we can, to be proactive in addressing the situation."
He said a royalty or national fund to compensate Maori were possibilities.
Maori Council co-chairman Sir Eddie Durie reiterated that Maori were not claiming all water in New Zealand.
"It's is not a money grab," he said.