The Waitangi Tribunal decision

August 25th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

The Government is under pressure to allocate Maori shares in the part-float of state-owned companies to keep its assets sales on track.

But a delay seems inevitable after the announced yesterday that Maori have proprietary rights in water and said the partial sale of state-owned energy companies should be put on hold to protect their interests.

Going ahead with the part-float of Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy without allowing for Maori rights would be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, it said.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government would consider the findings in good faith and respond after taking advice from officials and Crown lawyers.

“We’ll go through the merits of the argument and in the fullness of time we’ll come back with a response.” He has also promised to discuss the Government’s response with the Maori Party before making it public.

There’s two issues here. In my view the Tribunal has one issue right and one totally wrong.

There is little dispute that Iwi have some rights when it comes to water in certain areas. This has been recognised in settlements made by the Crown, and in fact the Government has been negotiating with the Iwi Leaders Forum on these rights for some time. The extent and nature of the rights is not clear cut (hence the negotiations) but no Government has ever said there are no rights.

Where the Tribunal has it wrong is saying that the partial sales should not proceed, as it may limit the ability of the Crown to settle such rights. With all respect (in fact little respect), this is nonsense. The Crown is the the Crown.  Parliament can pass a law on pretty much anything – as it does with other settlements. The Crown can allocate money for a settlement.

And in this particular case, the mixed ownership model arguably makes it considerably easier to settle any claims over water rights. You can simply buy some shares on the NZX and use them in a settlement. You can’t do that if they remain an SOE.

There is no barrier to settling any claims, by implementing the Mixed Ownership Model.

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73 Responses to “The Waitangi Tribunal decision”

  1. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    The big wrong is that the tribunal continues to exist

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  2. tvb (3,947 comments) says:

    The obligations over water rights stay with the company. The sale of a minority shareholding does not alter that. This is a bit of brownmail designed to screw some money out of the Government.

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  3. Brian Marshall (181 comments) says:

    The Waitangi Tribunal is a farce and should be abolished. Nothing, absoultely nothing in the treaty at all says anything about water rights. Therefore it’s a common law issue and not a treaty issue. Under common law, there are no ownership of the water and the common law rights relate to things such as usage of water and fishing rights.

    We need to say no to racist policies.

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  4. rg (190 comments) says:

    Dead right David, it is bizarre, if there was no partial sale of shares Maori could get nothing because no shares exist. In any case the ownership of water and the power companies is a different thing. There is no value in the water itself and the Govt does not get any payment for the use of water. The power comnpany with its dams and turbines realise the value. It is ownership of these which give water value not the ownership of the water. The Grown gets nothing for the water, so give Maori their share of nothing. Maori did not pay for teh dams so they deseve none of that.
    The argument that because an entity (such as a power company) makes money out of water and therefore Maori should get some is spurious. It would also mean the owners of the shotover jet who make money out of water should pay maori.
    The water is not devalued by driving a boat over it not by going over a dam, so who ever owns the water deserves nothing anyway.

    One thing the Tribunal did say was that in a couple of cases the equivalence of ownership exists for Maori. This is good news for those affected by flooding because now they know who owns the water, they can sue

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  5. lilman (675 comments) says:

    Bullshit , simply put.
    Maori own no water.
    Next its air I would think?
    Key needs to shut this talk down straight away,not that hes got the nuts.
    T o think a tribunal can dictate law and interpretate it is Bullshit.

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  6. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Why are Maori only asking for money if the generators are operating in the private sector?

    Afterall, arn’t they ‘owed’ money from the SOE’s for using water for the last 80yrs?

    Maori are being dishonest about all this!

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  7. Anthony (737 comments) says:

    lilman, Maori have already tried the air with asking for a share of radio spectrum sales – no doubt will again with 4G

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  8. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    This is a straight political battle.

    The Neolibs in favour of asset sales will do everything they can to make sure the policy succeeds. This includes: rushing through legislation, forming a government with nut cases like John Banks, no select committee hearings, bribing the Maori Party, offering bonus shares to correct the market, and an expensive advertising campaign.

    Those of the left will do what ever they can to stop the sales including: the referendum, stalling the matter in the Tribunal, changing the government, placing more and more pressure on Peter Dunne, etc.

    Of course, National/ACT/United Future have more seats in the House so they have the upper hand.

    A 90% vote against asset sales in the referendum will be interesting.

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  9. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    But hang on….

    If we think the tribunal has PIUBD we are, accordiung to the Horrid’s Armstrong this morning, red necks.
    Cabbge looking I may be. Greeen I am not. Armstrong et al are away with the fairies.

    There has been much talk about removing Doug Graham’s knighthood.

    I think we should retrospectively/posthumously remove Robin Cooke’s knighthoiod (he did nothing but his well-paid job to secure it!) and also his Brit gong.

    Afterall, it was Cooke of Thondon who gave this silly WT group legs.

    Time for the WT to be buried.

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  10. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    The applicants are a bunch of greedy conmen and the tribunal decision, foreseeable from the start, is built on bullshit.

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  11. hj (5,708 comments) says:

    How about Maori can have the water but not the kinetic energy?

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  12. beautox (408 comments) says:

    I’m another one to call bullshit on the whole Waitangi Tribunal. How did “sign here or we will kill you” get magically transformed into “maoris own everything”. About time a politician had the balls to say so and bring the whole rotten edifice down.

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  13. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Well this issue will be one the defining issues in the next election.

    Euthanasia and gay marriage and the such like will be important issues – but the water rights thing is going to be much more critical.
    The constitutional review group is due to report next year and it will be all in favour of the treaty (as almost all of its members are on the treaty gravy train)
    The Maori party are probably screwed and will get fewer seats next election (I dont think they can pull another foreshore thing ouit of the water rights arguement – unless National pass a law to put water into the hands of ‘no-one’ – but I doubt theyll do that).

    So – national either give into this rag tag lot who are claiming these rights, or

    they say you can have your day in court but we are going to proceed with the sale (and when the court injunctions are over you just might finish up with nothing )

    Giving in will send a good chunk of the voters over to NZ first and Conservative.

    So Johny Key and the boys and girls have some serious thinking to do.

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  14. Muzza M (286 comments) says:

    I thought Maori were supposed to have a thing called Mana. Did we intentionally breed it out of them or was it just a case of evolution.

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  15. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Well if Maori do have a property right in it then that brings liabilities as well, as in, when it floods, Maori owe the country, big time.

    Not that I think they do have a property right in it.

    We went wrong, as others have said above, when we granted them property rights in the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Not that this is the only thing we’ve done wrong, I mean, if you have a Justice system which is prepared to listen seriously to sentimental oral history based on no evidence, which ours is, then where the fuck do you start when you’re looking to identify every single wrong that’s been done, to we, the people? But anyway, re: this issue, I noted the head of the Maori Council was v careful in the media yesterday, to explain that the water claim had been around in legal circles for simply ages and it was a mere coincidence that it only surfaced in public consciousness as the same time as the asset sales. And if we believe that, why don’t we all rush out and buy a fucking bridge that doesn’t exist.

    What’s the bet that no lousy journalist whatsoever, bothers carefully to examine that particular claim, for that is the smoking gun on this particular claim, if one is looking to call bullshit on it.

    The constitutional review group is due to report next year and it will be all in favour of the treaty (as almost all of its members are on the treaty gravy train)

    It certainly will be barry and what’s the bet our so-called conservative govt will be falling over themselves to accommodate the “objective” recommendations? Leaving the voice of any opposition to sound completely outside of Parliament and any significant decision-making circles.

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  16. KevinH (1,129 comments) says:

    The Crown owns everything and can do as it wishes, yeah right. Where in the Treaty does it say that.

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  17. thor42 (780 comments) says:

    I’m with backster, hj and beautox.
    The Waitangi Tribunal is **nothing more** than a RACIST GRAVY TRAIN for Maori.
    John Key and the Nats have got things completely out-of-whack lately.
    When they should have folded and brought the troops back from A’stan early, they stood firm.
    Now, with this bullshit, when they should stand firm and tell the Tribunal to piss off, they will **fold**. I’m betting on it.
    Maori are the biggest RACISTS in the world.

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  18. MH (558 comments) says:

    this amorphous entity The Crown is used when it comes to Treaty settlements. The Crown is a more palitive euphemism for the Government,elected by the people. Somehow by using the word Crown we are re-assured that it isn’t us the taxpayers who are shedding out millions in reparations for misdeeds mass slaughter and greed pre 1840. Long to drain over us. When will Maori allow us,all the people to join in and become voting members down on our Maraes. Why should British subjects be treated differently? What about our rights of access to traditional fishing grounds etc. When do they come into effect,if ever?

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  19. thor42 (780 comments) says:

    How “hard done by” are Maori when compared with the rest of the world?
    Look at India. Did Britain give India any compo for colonisation? None that I’ve heard of.
    South America. Has any South American country got compo from the Spanish for their ***vicious*** colonisation? None that I’ve heard of.
    Mexico – any compo from the Spanish? I don’t think so.
    The US and Canada – compo to the “First Nations” peoples? They have a few reservations – that’s about it.
    Australia – compo to the Aborigines? Naff all, from what I’ve heard.
    South Africa – compo to the tribes there? Not much, from what I’ve seen.

    Yet here in New Zealand?
    ** A few hundred thousand Maori have been awarded ***hundreds of millions*** of dollars in compensation.
    ** They have been given a share of Sealord.
    ** IIRC, they have been given a share of the fisheries quota.
    ** They have been given a share of forestry assets IIRC.
    ** They have had land handed back. Not all of it, by a long stretch, but a DAMNED SIGHT MORE than ANY other group from overseas.
    ** They have had apologies.
    ** They have a “permanent” number of Maori seats in Parliament. Yes, it’s racist, but there you go.
    ** They have their own electoral roll that they can go on if they choose.
    ** They have the racist Waitangi Tribunal, whose SOLE RACIST PURPOSE is to enrich Maori.
    ** They have welfare benefits (that they are not bloody slow to take advantage of…..).

    Maori “hard done by? I don’t think so.
    They are BY FAR the most pampered, cosseted, fussed-over race in the whole world.

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  20. thor42 (780 comments) says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention…..
    Maori have **their own schools**, supported by the taxes of **everyone** (not just Maori).
    They have their language supported by the taxes of **everyone** (not just Maori).
    I’m sure that there are other bits of support to Maori too (that I’ve forgotten).

    Are there any other “Maori goodies” that people can add to the list?
    Things that only Maori are entitled to? Any university quotas – things like that?

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  21. MH (558 comments) says:

    Aboriginee Affairs then the Native Affairs Dept then the Maori Affairs Dept etc

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  22. kowtow (6,733 comments) says:

    John Key and the Notional party needs to grow a pair.

    Go for a referendum on the whole “treaty ” industry,the apartheid seats,separatism etc. They ‘d get 80% support.

    Won’t happen.

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  23. thor42 (780 comments) says:

    Agreed, kowtow. **KOWTOW FOR PM!**
    You’d do a darned sight better than Key is doing at the moment.

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  24. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    I think some of you Neolibs forget the Crown signed the Te Tiriti o Waitangi along with many Maori chiefs. In the Neolib world, I thought a contract was a binding contract.

    You can’t simply back out of it now that it doesn’t suit you.

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  25. Paulus (2,299 comments) says:

    Absolute Racist Bullshit.
    If Key bows to this I will no longer work for, or vote, National.
    It’s all about MONEY, and reverse Apartheid.
    One Nation – Rubbish

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  26. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    “One Nation” – I seem to recall an Australian political party with that name.

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  27. Grant (383 comments) says:

    and your point is Handjob?

    G

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  28. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    The greed of the Stone Agers is limitless.

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  29. Peter (1,471 comments) says:

    I look forward to the Waitangi Tribunal being ignored.

    Key only has one valid course of action, and his voters expect him to take it.

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  30. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Well I am on the Left side of the debate, so hope the Waitangi Tribunal decision throws another spanner in the works.

    I see September 30 looks like the date for 350,000 signatures to initiate a referendum – Democracy is great.

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  31. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    It used to be that Neo Lib’s were called NeoCon’s. Same term for the politics of Envy.

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  32. hj (5,708 comments) says:

    The left paint Maaori as saintly, high minded, devoid of greed but filled with duty to the whenua and (apparently) we “visitors”; the reality is that theirs is the monstrous position: a territorial cheque book the result of good but impractical intentions.

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  33. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    Monique, Neo-liberals and neo-conservatives are two very different ideological groupings. The neo-libs are all about free markets and capitalism and the govt staying out of people’s business. The neo-cons are about stronger military power, spreading democracy around the world and supporting govt intervention in people’s lives in support of creating a better, more moral nation. They also supported far more welfare policies than neo-libs because neo-cons are the descendants of the Lyndon Johnson Democrats who created Medicare and expanded the welfare state in the US. Their break with the liberals came over their continued support for the Vietnam War, a nuclear arms race and tough anti-communist and later anti-terror policies.

    As for Maori ownership of water, this has to do with issues beyond the Treaty. Governor Hobson and his replacement Fitzroy both held that Maori owned all of NZ, even the water and land they had never occupied or cultivated. That’s why Maori were eager to sell land early on, because it was land they’d never really used and didn’t need. Governor George Grey on the other hand held that Maori had no right to that land. He passed the Wastelands Act, essentially nationalising all unoccupied land at once. That didn’t lead to war though, in fact it had little effect on Maori-Pakeha relations of the time. Now though, the Tribunal is trying to push us back to the Hobson policy, where Maori own everything even water they never used.

    What I find to be a real affront though is that there are tribes making claims who never actually signed the Treaty. If they never signed it, how can they claim to be aggrieved that it was broken?!

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  34. Jimbob (639 comments) says:

    Golden opportunity for National to start the beginning of the end to treaty negotiations. Make a stand on what is a legitimate claim and what is not in the treaty. We as New Zealanders are all waiting for the day this happens. It needs to be done and The majority of New Zealanders will support it at the polls.

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  35. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Jimbob – The Crown has already signed Te Tiriti, it is not a document up for negotiation or cancellation by way of a poll.

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  36. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Jimbob – The Crown has already signed Te Tiriti, it is not a document up for negotiation or cancellation by way of a poll.

    But it is up for interpretation you supercilious little plonker. We all understand you, as a lefty, imagine yourself to be the utter and absolute authority on all things Tiriti because as a lefty, you “weally weally weally weally weally weally care and it’s tewwible and twagic and the poor Maowi and oh dear” and therefore, as the only one in this debate with the best intewests of Maowi at heart, your view is cowwect and your view must therefore, pwevail.

    Yes mate, we understand that.

    But because all you lefty people are in fact not only supercilious little plonkers but you’re also thick, naive, emotional and arrogant, the rest of us chose not to listen to your perspective Hamnida, because of all the foregoing traits which you and in fact, every single one of your ideological compatriots share and display, in spades, 24/7/365.

    So it would be rather good if you’d just shut up and let others who aren’t you or your political ilk, discuss the issues intelligently with a worldly, objective and humble perspective for that, Hamnida, is what this issue needs and whenever you contribute, that’s not what this issue gets.

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  37. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    “up for interpretation” – I bet you would like that.

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  38. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    See I told you you were supercilious and arrogant and thick Hamnida. Way to prove my point.

    How about getting all emotional next?

    If you don’t understand what is thick about your comment, well how about the fact that no conservative govt has backed off the Waitangi process? Does that not mean anything to you? Graham was in fact a fast mover, as Tinkerbell has also proven to be. But no, nothing registering on the lefty radar is there. So if that’s not thick, what is it?

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  39. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    @Hamnida,

    Clearly it is open for interpretation, else the Tribunal would not have been able to issue the recommendations they have.

    Similarly, the govt will have to assess it’s interpretation in light of that report and decide which steps to take next. And there are a number of options they could choose.

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  40. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Tinkerbell? Really, that’s a little beneath you Reid.

    If you want to indulge in that sort of nasty irrelevance don’t you think you should go take a seat between Mallard and Cosgrove?

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  41. Nostradamus (2,772 comments) says:

    Hamnida clearly comes from the “end justifies the means” school of lefty thought.

    Well I am on the Left side of the debate, so hope the Waitangi Tribunal decision throws another spanner in the works.

    I see September 30 looks like the date for 350,000 signatures to initiate a referendum – Democracy is great.

    Democracy is great. We had an election. The result was a National-led government. One policy the National-led government actively campaigned on, and which turned out to be a hotly-debated election issue, was asset sales. Just because you don’t like what the duly-elected government is doing is no reason to look for spanners to throw into the works.

    My goodness, what is it with the likes of Hamnida and Penny Dumb that they think they can rewrite history?

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  42. Boglio (73 comments) says:

    If Maori want to collect a fee or what ever for the water passing through the Hydro Stations then they should pay extra for the power generated. Let those of us who think the water is not owned by any one get power at the basic price and the surcharge can be paid by anyone who benefits from the water payment and those who want Maori to get paid for the use of the water.

    Those who agree with the WT on the ownership of water could register. We will then see who registers for the increase and wants to pay extra. This would then show the percentage of the population who agree with Maori ownership….. Maybe not when their conviction singles them out for a surcharge on the power to pay for the water.

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  43. MH (558 comments) says:

    once again the Royal We, the Crown is used as something inviolate,unable to be changed. we the voters,are the power behind the Crown. national hold the Crown,wear the Crown, and every 3 years or so,we the people kick them out. All Treaties have a lifetime or are ignored,re written,become obsolete,put away in museums like the UN Charter and the League of Nations.Treaty of Versailles etc.

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  44. Boglio (73 comments) says:

    I see the left says that their are 350,000 signitures… a great place to start for the power surcharge

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  45. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    If you want to indulge in that sort of nasty irrelevance don’t you think you should go take a seat between Mallard and Cosgrove?

    While I accept your point bhudson in that it was not necessary but I don’t think he cares. I have stories from people who know him directly that indicate our A-G is not a nice person and actually, I happen to think Tinkerbell suits him. If I thought it would hurt him I wouldn’t use it, but in my reading of his personality, his armour of arrogance is quite up to deflecting that pinprick of an insult. He’s a bit like Chris Carter, in that one could have appropriately used the same label against him, but as we know, if a conservative had done that, Liarbore would have screamed homophobia. Which just shows the lefty hypocrisy again doesn’t it.

    But perhaps I shouldn’t use it, even though I personally judge Finlayson wouldn’t give a damn about it albeit he protests hurt which I judge as a feint in order to stop the other side from undermining his public political aura and not because he is.

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  46. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Boglio,

    Well I think we have to call bovine scatology on that. The population eligible to enrol is assessed at 3.3m. The population enrolled across general and Maori rolls is 3.07m.

    CIR rules require signatures of 10% of eligible voters. That could be 10% of either number above (I would have thought it meant those enrolled as a distinction between ‘eligible to enroll to vote’ and ‘eligible to vote [having enrolled]‘, but who can be sure?)

    Either way, if they had 350k signatures they would have filed already.

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  47. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Reid,

    Having met the man, I can assure you he is nothing at all like Chris Carter (as we know him from Parliament and the media.)

    He has never once, to my knowledge, made any complaint about those comments from the Opposition. His colleagues did.

    I am sure, though, that you are correct that he would lose no sleep over the insult.

    I merely raise it because the reference is the territory of people in Labour of certain public perception. I wouldn’t have thought you would have wanted to be associated with them in any way, shape or form.

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  48. OneTrack (1,979 comments) says:

    Well if they only want their traditional property rights (not “ownership”), I dont think anybody is going to stop members of the local marae going down to the local river and filling up a flax basket with water. And which lefty, in their right mind, thinks this issue will simply go away if the asset sales fall over. You are still going to have to pay for the water rights if they get away with this. And what’s next – air? If not, why not?

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  49. wreck1080 (3,533 comments) says:

    Money’ll make the maori go away.

    Gimme a break, the maori used the river to catch a few eels and to paddle around and a place to have a wash.

    The maori had no idea about the laws of electromagnetism and the ability to generate a current by using water to drive huge turbines to spin magnets. They were too busy fighting and eating each other.

    As far as I know, maoris can still eel and swim in the rivers, so they have lost nothing.

    As said, the maori just want the money. And, even if they get it, next year they’ll be asking for more.

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  50. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    As said, the maori just want the money. And, even if they get it, next year they’ll be asking for more.

    It’d be nice if Maori or some govt at some stage would simply ask Maori what, pray tell, did they own, so we know what to expect.

    It’s just that it appears to be surprise after surprise after surprise as new discoveries come along.

    I mean if we reveal what was discovered years ago invent anti-gravitation propulsion and free zero-point energy, it seems to me that Maori would be leaping in to claim that Tiriti naturally covered that and you’d have to be mental not to see that, I mean how could it not have?

    And that’s just ridiculous. Not the example, the anticipated reaction from our native brethren. So personally, I reckon it’s time for the entire country to ask Maori to fess up, give us a laundry list of everything you reckon you’re entitled to as a result of Te Tiriti from now till forever, period. And if you can’t, well then it’s not much of a fucking Tiriti, is it. But we’re entitled to ask, as a country, for that list, I reckon.

    Apart from anything else, if we don’t get to see it soon, I’m sensing the next big expensive thing Maori invent claim will cause a total revision of the goodwill that’s been generated since 1984, notwithstanding all the media munting and hand-wringing and wailing to the contrary about how justified it all is that will ensue from organisations like TVNZ, DomPost, NZHerald, TV3 and all the rest of the lefty shrill brigade, in the wake of claim number ninety gajilion, six hundred and seventy five.

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  51. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    if we reveal what was discovered years ago

    Have you read Suppressed Inventions Reid?

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  52. Reid (15,603 comments) says:

    No. But I’ll google it right now. :)

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  53. kowtow (6,733 comments) says:

    Own the air?

    Don’t be surprised, this govt and many more are taxing and trading and it. Carbon dioxide. How mad is that?

    What’s next?

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  54. Than (376 comments) says:

    National needs to send the Waitangi Tribunal a thank you card. They have turned this from being about asset sales into an Iwi/Kiwi issue.

    Right now the government is shaping its reply. My guess is they’re trying to find a diplomatic way of placating the Maori Party while still telling the Tribunal where they can put their report. And if they do, the majority of middle New Zealand will be right behind them. This decision has probably guaranteed National’s popularity will hold, or even increase a point or two, in the next round of polls.

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    What a load of crap by DPF and the other lunk heads, how can something be sold of which the propriety interest of the owners isn’t settled?

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  56. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    DPF ‘advances’ his argument by saying that ‘the crown is the crown.’ How convincing.
    How about the assets are sold in the true situation, with a liability of determination of ownership. I can just see buyers lining up for miles. DPF suggests a law change – the answer to complete the act of depleting people of their property and their rights, that’ll work won’t it – just like it has worked since 1840.

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  57. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    Proprietary interest is not ownership. The proprietary interests could be resolved through commercial settlements. The representatives of the Maori Council have made that clear.

    Such settlements do not require that the mixed ownership model not be in place. Previous Treaty settlements show that – the assets related to the grievance are not necessarily returned in their original form.

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  58. Bogusnews (425 comments) says:

    I can see some major complications in this.

    Let’s say for a moment that the Moari do “own” water because it comes through their land. Well, what about where the water has come from before it got to them? If it passes under my land do I have a right to demand money from Maori? And if it comes from under someone elses land underground, then heck, I’ll have to pay them money.

    The lawyers would love it.

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  59. Bogusnews (425 comments) says:

    It also brings back memories of something Maurice Williamson said.

    He mentioned Maori “leaders” were always asking for more money to help their disadvantaged peoples. But whenever asked to do pro bono work – oh no, can’t do that.

    Then of course there were the regular taniwha’s which strangely always went away as soon as the Maori were given some money.

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  60. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Watching Q and A this morning, it looks like the Waitangi Tribunal have put one massive spanner in the works.

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  61. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    bhudson,

    The words ‘could be resolved’ should be ‘has’ in your explanation. I’m saying the issue should have been resolved before the ‘decision’ to sell was announced, sound politics and even sounder business practice. I think it’s been an avoidable blunder, it’s been obvious that a deal needed to be done and it should have been constructively undertaken to have done so at the outset. Why would the Crown not have seen this coming when water has been an historic issue. I see that some of the language of the claimants declares that there is not a claim that they own all water, and concessions by the Crown about the ownership of water in general – those facts alone where enough to draw a plan toward an agreement. All the potential parties and interests were known so some significant effort should have been put in earlier, particularly so because the recommendation has been viewed by some leaders as an acknowledgement that the Crown will ‘now have to talk (negotiate with) to them.’

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  62. aquataur (39 comments) says:

    There is a physical argument why Maori have no right in the value created by hydro schemes.

    Water is not used in the production of electricity – not in the sense that it is consumed or any of its essential properties or qualities are altered. The potential energy released by the water falling to a lower level is what creates value – it would be equally logical for Maori to claim ownership of gravity in this situation as it is for water (perhaps that’s next on their list).

    For those who remember, the potential energy is defined as mass x height x gravity. the only thing that changes between the top of the dam and the tailrace is the height – created by the dam owner not by the water itself. It follows the economic value should go there, not to the water.

    There is also an economic argument as to why whoever owns water should not receive any value from hydro generation (assuming someone does and that it is not a common good). that is the value of a resource can be defined as the value of the next best alternative use of it – in the case of the Waikato water which does not have alternative uses (such as irrigation), this value would be zero or very close to it.

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  63. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    So aquataur you believe you have a right to use somebody else’s property provided you don’t change it or consume it in anyway, or because you believe it has zero value or close to it. Good luck with that.

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  64. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    Your conflating the status of undetermined proprietary rights with ownership. They are not the same thing. aquatour did not claim a right to use another person’s property

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  65. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    I don’t think so bhudson. Undetermined proprietary rights have to be resolved before ownership status, or any sale, can be achieved in my opinion. And for another 2 cents worth there might be as a natural consequence the need to resolve the value of past usage. So better therefore, that consultation had taken place in the proper order.

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  66. aquataur (39 comments) says:

    Nostalgia

    Your argument misrepresents what I said – I didn’t talk about the right to use someone’s property

    I stated I did not believe anyone owned water

    My argument was the regardless of who, if indeed anyone owns water, the economic value should flow to the dam owner

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  67. aquataur (39 comments) says:

    As an aside, it is also strange that the claim emerges now. as private interests already have substantial hydro generation (Contact and Trustpower) and indeed, there are probably at least a hundred small scale hydro schemes around – why the silence until now. It stinks of opportunism

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  68. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Undetermined proprietary rights have to be resolved before ownership status

    Not so. Proprietary rights are distinct from ownership. The Maori Council itself made that distinction through its representatives on Q&A last week.

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  69. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    It’s been a Crown concession, the ownership of water aquataur, and the water has been used, is being used. While the economic value has flown to the dam owner that doesn’t set a precedent that there is no value for use of the water in the present, past or future, merely because of an assumption the Crown either own the water or the right of its use. DPF seems to think that because negotiations have been going on, the Crown can act while the issues are still unresolved, but that would be the very reason why they shouldn’t – at least without Judicial examination of why no settlement has been reached or how the protection of each party’s rights were intended to be resolved within the sale process.

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  70. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    aquataur 5.24 one could equally say it stinks of arrogance by the Crown.

    bhudson. That conflicts with statements that agree that Maori by their own representation say they don’t own all water, and the Crown conceding water usage and rights do exist. Pretty good example of the cart before the horse.

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  71. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    Not at all, the Maori Council are on record as saying that they do not claim ownership of the water, merely proprietary rights in some areas – Q&A 19 Aug available through TVNZ OnDemand.

    The Crown has been extremely clear that no one owns the water. Any rights the Crown may accede to will be distinct from ownership.

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  72. swan (651 comments) says:

    Did the tribunal also recommend trading be halted in Contact and Trustpower shares?

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  73. tedbear (121 comments) says:

    Presumably this water the Maori claim to own is the stuff that was laying around when the treaty was signed. ie 1840, so I assume they have attached a label to that water.

    They cannot own future water, ie next week’s rain, can they? Some of that water may have started life in Australia for example, so for Maori to own next week’s water from rain means they also own Australia’s water.

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