Asset Sales and the Treaty

January 31st, 2012 at 12:51 pm by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

The Government is being accused of selling Treaty rights to the highest bidder following suggestions Treaty protections will not be included in new legislation to enact the partial sale of state-owned assets.

Nationwide hui begin next week for the Government to consult Maori on its plans to sell up to 49 per cent of four state-owned energy companies and further reduce its shareholding of Air New Zealand.

The Government is required to pass legislation to remove the four energy companies from the State-Owned Enterprises Act to proceed with the sales.

If a company is no longer an SOE, then its obligations are the same as any other company, such as Air New Zealand.

But in all the fuss about and Maori, I like this investigation by Cactus Kate:

Ngai Tgahu know all about asset sales so should be supporting National’s privatisation programme. Here are just two recent examples of Maori more than happy to flog off their assets to foreigners who need OIO approvals.
In 2010 they sold 1348 hectares in Kaikoura to an American couple for 7.5 million dollars. They paid 8 million dollars so made a $500,000 loss.

In 2011 they sold 18,000 hectares of forest to a Swiss owned family company for 22.9 million dollars.

So Ngai Tahu sold twice as much land as the Crafar farms. Does Labour and the Maori Party think they should have not been allowed to do so?

UPDATE: The Maori Party are saying they may quit the Government if there is no treaty clause in the legislation removing the companies from the SOE schedule. This ratchets up the pressure on the Government considerably, but it is worth noting the Government can govern without Maori Party support.

If the Maori Party walk over this, they’ll presumably lose the constitutional review, their portfolios, and I imagine Whanua Ora. The second term was always going to be more challenging for National and the Maori Party – but I guess John Key was hoping flare ups would not occur quite so quickly.

The Maori Party do need to be careful about threatening to walk over an issue. That’s a card you can play only once or twice in a term. If you try to play it too often, then it loses its effectiveness and even backfires.

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53 Responses to “Asset Sales and the Treaty”

  1. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    This threat by the MP to withdraw confidence supply is new. Did they actually campaign on stopping asset sales or is this a dropped bomb?

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  2. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Well, did not take long for a racist party to hold NZ at randsom.

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  3. john.bt (170 comments) says:

    I wonder if any of the land sold off was part of the 30,000 hectares of our forests Nick Smith and Finlayson gave the Ngai Tahu part-Maoris as “compensation” for introducing the Emission Trading Scam?

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  4. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    David

    You omitted Tony Ryall’s comment that “Newer legislation has specific clauses where a Treaty clause is considered necessary.” Why would he be seeking Maori views if the issue was redundant?

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  5. m@tt (613 comments) says:

    If cactus wanted to illustrate that the National party are no better than the Ngai Tahu board then she succeeded.

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  6. Nick R (500 comments) says:

    The issue, as I understand it, is that land owned by SOEs like Meridian is potentially available to Maori for the purposes of settling Treaty claims by virtue of section 4. If that land is sold into private ownership, or otherwise put outside the scope of the SOE Act, so that it cannot be the subject of Treaty claims, then iwi have lost something of substantial value – even if those rights are currently inchoate or theoretical.

    It has nothing to do with private property, whether owned by iwi or anyone else. So the fact that Ngai Tahu sell off land they own is neither here nor there.

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  7. Joel Rowan (99 comments) says:

    It’s ok. National, National Plus, and National Lite, will still have 61 seats if Ngati National quits the government.

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  8. kowtow (7,968 comments) says:

    Why consult Maori? I thought we just had a general election.

    Time to stop racist pandering and scrap all references to the treaty.

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  9. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    And presumably if the Maori Party quit, National will also take the retention of the maori seats off the table too? Could be a win for a return to sensibility.

    Would also fit in with the upcomming changes to electorate boundaries.

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  10. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    Damn straight rolla_fxgt. If Maori Party want to play silly games, then there’s no reason not to have a 2014 referendum on whether we should keep Maori seats or not.

    I’d put money on there being 70%+ support to get rid of the god-forsaken things at the earliest possible opportunity.

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  11. samtheman (40 comments) says:

    The unholy alliance between the Maori Party and National was only going to last so long. If the Maori Party don’t stand up for their principles during this term they won’t be around for much longer

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  12. Cactus Kate (549 comments) says:

    Nick K it has everything to do with it. Watch Maori leading this debate frame their argument. Maori have proven they have no sentimentality when it comes to flogging their family silver. Can’t see why we are expected to behave any differently, “principles” are just that.
    How many treaty claims remain outstanding even remotely connected to asset sale land?
    It’s grasping at the last straws they can when many Maori didn’t feel enough love for this issue that Labour campaigned on, to even get off the couch and vote.

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  13. EverlastingFire (291 comments) says:

    “they’ll presumably lose the constitutional review, their portfolios, and I imagine Whanua Ora”

    That would be great, but National will cave before the bros walk.

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  14. V (694 comments) says:

    Let them walk.

    Why should Maori have a particular say over Mixed Ownership model companies?
    What role have treaty principles to play in companies like AirNZ?
    Why do Maori have a particular say over things like water rights? Particularly in relation to the power companies who need certainty over water rights to run the power stations in the first place.

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  15. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Maintaining the Treaty conditions of existing legislation would be required of any new arrangement, so what’s the issue? Has the government said that it wouldnt be?

    I mean, what prompted such a response from the Maori Party? Seems like they are flying off the handle.

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  16. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    Asset sales were EXCLUDED from the confidence and supply agreement, so that leaves the Government free to pursue its own policy with its support partners. What the Maori Party are now saying is we will not support the legislation but if certain clauses are not included we will walk away from the Government. They want it both ways. If the Maori Party want certain clauses included then the must support the legislation.

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  17. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    Time for the Nats to repeal racist Acts and do away with Maori seats. Betcha a huge majority would support this move. We are in the 21st Century NOT the 19th Century time for the Maoris to join the new millenium and move on.

    As CK says these are a 2 faced biggoted racist people who want it not both ways but ALL ways.

    Thats why they are such a disgrace as a race. They have no moral or ethical leadership so they follow the same lawless immoral unethical path.

    Time for them to either join or piss off. The Chinese and other Asian races dont take any crapola from them. And neither should we.

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  18. Other_Andy (2,516 comments) says:

    Ah, Ngai Tahu…
    That would be the tribe that sold some of their land 3 times over and claimed land that wasn’t theirs
    The tribe that agreed to 2 or 3 (Can’t remember the exact amount) FINAL settlements and comes back for more every time.
    The tribe that sells land while their argument for ToW compensation was that land was taonga and couldn’t be sold
    The tribe that got most of the fisheries quota so members of the tribe could be employed and when they got it sold their quota to foreigners.

    Don’t worry, the next generation of Ngai Tahu will lodge a treaty claim for the 21.000+ ha they sold.

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  19. Shazzadude (522 comments) says:

    National might have 61 seats without the Maori Party, yes-but two of those seats are Tau Henare and Hekia Parata. I wouldn’t automatically presume they’d flop over, especially Tau who has nothing to lose.

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  20. m@tt (613 comments) says:

    tvb “If the Maori Party want certain clauses included then the must support the legislation.”
    Just because you wish it to be that way doesn’t make it so. They could threaten to walk over anything the see fit and demand anything they see fit. There are no rules that say it has to be logical…

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  21. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    Question:
    Are the Maori Party who claim to represent many Maori, breaking their commitment and responsibilities of the treaty? The nation just had a general election, in which National campaigned on asset sales, and won the popular democratic vote. Thus effectively the Maori Party, and by association maori, are breaching the treaty, by aiming to have more say over government than other citizens get.

    Others thoughts?

    I thought the treaty made us all equal, and have the same rights. Seem the Maori Party are trying to attempt to have more say than they are entitled to. Perhaps we have to have a new election to decide what should happen?

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  22. david (2,554 comments) says:

    They were quite open befopre the election in claiming a case for Maori to have preferential rights to purchasing the 49% so this looks like a petulant response to being told that they need to join the queue with all the rest of “New Zealanders” who want a slice of teh action.

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  23. dime (9,682 comments) says:

    woo hoooo let em go!!!

    cya maori party!

    they may as well go now, they are only going to create a false outrage in 2 years time and become anti-national – the only way they will survive another general election.

    i plan of buying some sweet power company shares. but i wont be if they come with some weird ass tie to a treaty that shouldnt exist.

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  24. ISeeRed (244 comments) says:

    “Nationwide hui begin next week for the Government to consult Maori…..”

    So good to have left all that racial pandering and preference behind.

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  25. tas (596 comments) says:

    I’m not sure what exactly the Maori party want. What exactly are their demands? All stuff and nzherald tell us is that it has something to do with the treaty and asset sales. Referencing section 9 of the SOE act isn’t helpful either. It just states that

    Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

    This is a notoriously vague bit of legislation. The principles of the treaty have never been properly defined. Most just interpret it as meaning that SOE land can be given to Maori in settlements. But I think the Maori party want more than that. They want more influence and control. Or maybe they want to claim a share of the companies being part-sold.

    So can the Maori party please clarify their demands?!

    Also, yes, I’m expecting National to relent t these demands.

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  26. RJL (145 comments) says:

    @SaduI’d put money on there being 70%+ support to get rid of the [Maori Electorate Seats] god-forsaken things at the earliest possible opportunity.

    The National Party would be insane to try to get rid of Maori Electorate Seats.

    a) this would have a huge risk of mobilising the large numbers of non-voters to actually vote, and to vote against National, next election National would be defeated in a landslide,

    b) this would also have a high chance of totally radicalising parts of the electorate. We could see a genuine civil war. You might well say “bring it on”. The people that the National party actually listen to will surely say “that is an unacceptable business risk”.

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  27. DJP6-25 (1,313 comments) says:

    They should be careful not to let the door hit their butt on the way out.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  28. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    The Maori party is being stupid.

    They’ll have almost no influence unless they stay within the government.

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  29. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    Time to tell the Hori Party to either get with the programme or FOXTROT OSCAR.

    Time for the Nats to call a snap election on an equal treatment for ALL platform.

    No more Maori seats. No more special favours. No more TOW bullshit.

    Betcha Nats would get 60% vote. The vast majority of citizens are sick to the bad teeth of the petulant Horis moaning on about how special they are.

    Thats the trouble with the young bros. They have an highly over inflated opinion of themselves.

    Time to bring the little horis down to earth.

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  30. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I think it’s long overdue that we start treating people as New Zealanders. John Key needs to man up and put an end to this constant pandering to one minority group that thinks it’s somehow more entitled to our resources than other New Zealanders, and thinks it should be specially consulted over and above the normal channels. It’s bollocks and it needs to end.

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  31. Mark (1,436 comments) says:

    Key has invested a lot in this relationship with the Maori party in the last three years and will not be happy to lose them from the current cosy arrangement. It was a tidy wee arrangement that meant that Maori, Act or Dunn could flounce without risk to appease their sector interest groups on any particular issue but now Key will have to lean hard on banks and Dunn if they look wobbly.

    The stakes and risks now rise a bit

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  32. samtheman (40 comments) says:

    The Maori Party are well within their rights to do whatever they want. If their demands are as ridiculous, arrogant and unworkable as most people here think, John Key will ignore them and the Maori Party will collapse at the next election. The Maori Party obviously think it will end better than that, but it’s entirely their choice.

    Also, to suggest they somehow have to fall in line behind National because National won a plurality (not majority) of the vote is ridiculous.

    I don’t support the Maori Party but they can do whatever they want, they just have to deal with the electoral consequences.

    lastmanstanding – done with your racist tirade yet?

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  33. flipper (3,847 comments) says:

    Some points:
    1. Hernare and Parata will noit suide wiuth Maori Party. Both are luist MPs.
    2. Let us wait until the dust settles. Sounds like sabre rattling to cheers up their supporters
    3. If thery want to stay inside the tent, confidence and supply will remain. If they go outside – Goodnight
    4. Hard to help make policy if you are pissing outside the tent. Sharples may be cabbage-looking but he is not “green”.
    5. Media beat up that will ciome to nothing.

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  34. Yvette (2,745 comments) says:

    The issue would cause tension at Waitangi Day commemorations over the weekend and at least one iwi leader had suggested Maori hold a hikoi in protest of the move, she said.

    Co-leader Pita Sharples said the party was not in government to ignore the real issues.
    “This Treaty clause is about New Zealand. It’s not just about Maori. The Treaty is all of our Treaty and this clause protects us and our natural resources, us New Zealand, and that’s really really important to me.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6339225/Maori-Party-could-quit-over-Treaty-references

    Media stirring?

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  35. simonway (375 comments) says:

    If a company is no longer an SOE, then its obligations are the same as any other company

    Unless the government passes a law saying otherwise. Consider the case of Air Canada: it was privatised in the ’80s, but the legislation that privatised it required that it continue to offer services in both French and English to all customers.

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  36. Yvette (2,745 comments) says:

    SKY News on Prime – Government’s 51% share may contain Treaty clauses, but not the other 49%

    One could think that if the Treaty has principles, they would surely apply to the lot or none at all – if anyone really has a list of what the principles indeed are.

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  37. Peter (1,673 comments) says:

    a list of what the principles indeed are

    Indigenous chaps clip ticket wherever possible, I believe.

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  38. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Don’t worry too much folks. Remember this weekend is Waitangi weekend where all the political parties go up north like sheep to be abused by racist fucks like John Hatfield and co.

    The apartheid party had to make some noise before the collection of losers gather at some god forsaken meeting house, this type of crap happens every year.

    Pity the Apartheid party did not get this worked up about child killings.

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  39. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    Principles like selling out to totalitarian thugs.

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  40. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The greedy racists are insatiable and rapacious. They want more and more koha all the time.
    Labour lite should cut them loose to see what happens. Will Smile and wave have the testicles to do it?

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  41. Tautaioleua (293 comments) says:

    As much as I would like to see the backs of our Maori Party in government, a part of me is still suggesting that Key’s handling of the issue was somewhat poor in comparison.

    A week before Waitangi is not an ideal time frame for these old ghosts to reappear. Has he already forgotten the thugs that tried to assault him over similar ghosts only a few years ago now?

    It may have been easier to swallow late last year or even further down the road, this year.

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  42. lilman (934 comments) says:

    Key wont man up he has shown cowardice before.
    Cant believe his parties folding over making hard working ,tax paying dairy farmers,SUBSIDIZE, the rest of New zealand for the price of milk,chalk up ONE for popular politicing.
    Now he will piss in the pockets of the Maori party over this issue as well.
    Really sad that a New Zealand asset is being divided up on race lines,South Africa has nothing on this place.

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  43. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    Cactus @1.59

    You appear to have your Nicks in a knot.

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  44. lilman (934 comments) says:

    And as for assets that were stolen from the Maori, all I can say is HARDEN THE FUCK UP

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  45. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    This is actually quite a clever tactical move from the MP.

    As someone said above, during the campaign they clearly flagged asset sales weren’t a bad thing provided iwi got a fair crack at them.

    The MP know they were damaged by Mana’s Uncle Tom line, and they need therefore this term, to address that issue head on. Otherwise Mana will just keep chipping away at it all the time, just like Peters will do to Key during Question Time for the next three years. The MP cannot afford to let that happen. Right now, the MP stands at the conservative end of Maori politics, and as we all know, that position in Maori politics is a hell of lot more left of centre than it is in European-Asian NZ politics. Lest some above misunderstand, I’m not making a judgement on that, simply observing the facts as they stand.

    Therefore, given the MP need to deflect Mana’s no doubt vigorous, nasty and astute propaganda which will be all of those things, what would you do?

    The MP know that asset sales mixed ownership will have to happen. They have seen in the first term that Key (being naive) puts great store in keeping his election promises for he thinks the electorate gives a stuff about them (which they don’t, but that’s another story). They also know that Key (being not quite so naive, this time) puts great store on keeping a significant faction in Maoridom tied to National, in order National breaks the Maori-Liarbore stranglehold which Hulun (conveniently for National), put onto the table way back when she asked Tariana to lie down in that back seat while the pre-arranged photographer she’d organised to have waiting at the gate of Permier House humiliated her in the next morning’s paper.

    Ever since then, Liarbore-Maori relations have been stuffed. About a week ago however the Ratana Church announced it was reviewing its previously severed ties to Liarbore and I don’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if knowledge of the preliminary results of that review was one of the factors behind this latest move. Either as disinformation which the MP had leaked to the Nats to help their case here, or something which is fact, in that Ratana will go back to Liarbore, which would put additional pressure on the Nats to cave.

    On a final note, I don’t really understand why its useful whenever the Maori issues come up here, to keep repeating the same themes which everyone already knows about. I mean why do people bother for example pointing out they aren’t in favour of the Maori seats? What does that add to any Maori debate? Everyone knows there is a segment in the electorate who doesn’t support them, but what value does it add to the whole issue by someone merely claiming “me too?” Maybe sometime there’ll be a referendum on it, and maybe there won’t be. But either way, until there is, there will be no change, so who cares who belongs to that camp and who doesn’t?

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  46. Viking2 (11,284 comments) says:

    Sadu (53) Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I think it’s long overdue that we start treating people as New Zealanders. John Key needs to man up and put an end to this constant pandering to one minority group that thinks it’s somehow more entitled to our resources than other New Zealanders,

    Well he won’t of course despite his staunch attitude on the news tonight. Remeber thata big bunch of hids usless MP’s are maori and they will side with the MP. Oh not in the open but behind closed doors so Key will have to appease the slimy lot.

    Watch and see.
    Where’s the Attourney General in the Dotcom row. Not supporting our residents that’s for sure.

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  47. KH (694 comments) says:

    The Treaty agreement was important. Maori handed over full sovereignty in return for citizenship. End of story. It’s time Maori started respecting the agreement they made. I am sick of hearing them pretend the treaty was something different to what it was.

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  48. EverlastingFire (291 comments) says:

    Funny seeing the two most racist parties in the parliament come out about this. They don’t want any foreigners owning assets, but if we sell it all off to Maori tribes that’s a-okay. Wouldn’t hear a thing out of them.

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  49. Yvette (2,745 comments) says:

    State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 No 124 (as at 01 May 2011), Public Act
    9 Treaty of Waitangi
    Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Question is: Is the Treaty a ‘living document’ – does taonga now include “electricty at a reasonable price” – surely a treasure. Will there be future Treaty claims if the bloody thing is broken or neglected and power prices rocket?

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  50. Matt (224 comments) says:

    It seems to me that “principles of the treaty” means we have to keep our Maori friends in strong drink and sparkly beeds to avoid them complaining to the UN.

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  51. Steve (4,524 comments) says:

    I thought blackmail was illegal.
    Go Maori go. Walk and never darken our doorway again

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  52. Francis_X (149 comments) says:

    lilman (245) Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    “And as for assets that were stolen from the Maori, all I can say is HARDEN THE FUCK UP”

    Yeah? What about property rights? Can I pop around to your place and help myself to some of your stuff? It’s a funny ole world when some of my fellow righties wank on about property rights being absolute, except when it’s property rights for Maori. Simple fact, it either applies to us all or none at all.

    Seizing someone’s land has a name: communism.

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  53. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Remember the main Principle of the Treaty of Waitangi.
    Translated from the Maori it reads “Follow the Money”.

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