An insightful question

November 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports on the Maori Council court case:

Justice Young said he did not understand why the Government needed to act before the transfer because were determined under the Resource Management Act and the Government could change that any time in favour of Maori. ”I don’t follow why it matters who owns Mighty River Power.”

Exactly. Contact Energy was sold totally and this is no way impacted any rights around water. The mechanisms for recognizing water rights are not linked to the ownership status.

One can of course not judge the outcome off one possible isolated comment, but it is heartening to see the Judge identify the core issue.

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27 Responses to “An insightful question”

  1. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    I have not understood why selling a minority shareholding impacts on the company’s obligation to Maori over water rights. When the fallacy of the court case is exposed the government might do nothing. That is why I think Maori should have pursued negotiation rather than court action.

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  2. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    tvb

    They are probably being advised by lefties with a sense of entitlement and strong militant mindset… Unable to be thugs and block the sale via strikes and standover tactics they choose court action…..

    Like all things lefty – it’s not about getting the best outcomes – it’s about being seen to be doing something the militant mindset likes seeing so they stay popular….

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  3. lastmanstanding (1,310 comments) says:

    Just a bunch of cunning Horis looking to make a buck of the WHITE MOTHERF…………S

    More racisim from the race that ate its neighbours and each other. Just a bunch of cannibals

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  4. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    Ngai Tahu have kept well clear of this. They have significant water rights potentially but prefer to keep their powder dry. Tainui are a different matter. The King is being manipulated by others and does not seem to know what to do.

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  5. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    tvb

    Anti asset sales is a lefty agenda – of course they don’t know what to do because they don’t have a clear direction of what they need to do to get Labour supporters behind them again…..

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  6. lilman (973 comments) says:

    The Maori King is trying to find his feet in a political world where he has limited experience.
    Unfortunately his staff have shown a disregard in the past for protocols which ensure perception and reality are one in the same.
    The Kings credibility has taken another knock and he risks becoming sidelined.
    Any decision that has impact on his authority must be measured and based on his political influence of which he is eroding significantly.

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  7. dime (10,215 comments) says:

    There is a Maori King? lol

    Maori dont like the government selling anything. Once its sold they cant claim it.

    Just because they havent figured out how to claim ownership of power plants, doesnt mean they wont stumble across a scam.

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  8. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    an insightful question… it is heartening to see the Judge identify the core issue.

    And there I was, thinking just about any idiot could become a High Court Judge :-)

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  9. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Isnt the ‘king’ a truck driver ?..bawhahahahah!

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  10. Manolo (14,173 comments) says:

    The Stone Age tribes trying to get ransom money. A sad reflection of today’s NZ.

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  11. Reid (16,719 comments) says:

    What disappoints me is the govt has already acknowledged water rights exist, it’s just the mechanism for applying them doesn’t lie in suspending the asset sale.

    It did this because it couldn’t afford to blow the Maori Party out of the water, which it would have done if it had done the right thing and told Maori to go to hell. Another poisoned chalice from the marvellous MMP.

    See the unwritten assumption from the idiot journos who once again aren’t doing their jobs, is that water rights are like the airwaves. But the airwaves was to promulgate Te Reo – a taonga that is inarguably a taonga and which does belong exclusively to Maori. But water is a universal taonga. It belongs equally to every single person in the country and therefore you cannot apply the same argument to that as you do to the airwaves. And if you can’t do that then you have no legal precedent.

    But unfortunately the govt didn’t run this line, because it couldn’t, and the alternative of making an end run by the media convincing the public that despite what the politicians were saying, no rights existed, is not happening because none of the idiot journos can think straight.

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  12. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    Reid

    I think you have over analysed it…. The lefty militants took a stance they though would be popular enough to get a lefty party elected… The socialist puppet masters have no other concern than to gain power…..

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  13. flipper (4,332 comments) says:

    Just yesterday, J.Key reiterated a point that the POINTY-HEAD left, and socialist panty waists in the MSM, cannot bring themselkves to face – either sell-down to 51% oifin selected state assets, or don’t build the new and replacement assets the nation needs. And in that context, just read and absorb The Economist’s (of a week ago) 14 page special on the new basket case of Europe, Hollande’s France. Wonderfully clever those French (and NZ) panty waists, are they not? :)

    Ergo, if we wish to avoid that greasy slope to oblivion, pack Lapour, the red melons, the tenured union staffers et al, off to the sub Antarctic islands of the Great Southern Basin. The pursuit of this legal challernge by some Maori (are they surrogtates?) interests might well be likened to econocide.

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  14. rangitoto (264 comments) says:

    About time they were declared a vexatious litigant

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  15. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    But water is a universal taonga

    Says who?

    Oh, of course, the people who stole the water rights in the first place.

    How convenient.

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  16. Fentex (1,136 comments) says:

    I’m not sure what the facts about water rights are – but this judges question doesn’t make much sense to me.

    He questions why bother because the government can change the appropriate acts at any time.

    It’s true, our government can change any law at any time, therefore why should any court bother with anything it does or issue any injunctions ever because Parliament can always choose to over-ride/alter/obviate the issue in the future?

    It doesn’t make much sense to me to ask why bother because the ground may shift. Surely his job is to deal with the facts and law as they are now and not to suppose that the government will choose to satisfy the complainants later? He’s not there to gaze into a crystal ball.

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  17. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    Fentex

    He questions why bother because the government can change the appropriate acts at any time.

    Well yes… Think how the judiciary must have felt when the Auditor General was denigrated and law breaking validated to avoid a court case for dear leader…..

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  18. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Fentex –

    Any lump sum compensation to Maori is always going to be done by an act of parliament, irrespective of who the owner of the hydroelectric equipment is.

    So it is immaterial who the owner of the hydroelectric equipment is.

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  19. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    I don’t understand the vitriol toward Maori here. Maori believes it has a right over the water. The crown disagrees so the Maori Coucil have gone to court to test its theory. I don’t think that the Maori Coucil case has any merit but it seems to me that there are a buch of people here who would deny Maori the right to contest their position through the courts. Why would you deny that right.

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  20. Reid (16,719 comments) says:

    Says who?

    Oh, of course, the people who stole the water rights in the first place.

    Luc, I need water precisely as much as any other human being on the planet. Maori don’t need any more or less water than I or anyone else. Therefore by any definition it is a taonga since we all need it not just want it but because we all need it to the same degree it was a unversal taonga not one specific to Maori and therefore no human being has any more or less right to it than any other.

    If Maori happen to vest particular spiritual qualities in water that I don’t, that’s their option, but the fact that I don’t vest those same spiritual interests in it, is up to me, and the fact that Maori do and I don’t, is neither here nor there in terms of legal precedent over the definition of a taonga. There is a clear argument in the case of the airwaves which is that Te Reo is the communication vehicle for a nation’s culture and it is a fact that languages have to be used or else they die away and so does the culture. So that’s why the airwaves is fair enough.

    But water and the usage of it is a completely separate set of arguments and the only possible way anyone can incorporate that into a taonga of particular nature specific only to Maori is through an arbitrary ruling that has no logic behind it. And that’s what has happened.

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  21. The Bin Man (6 comments) says:

    More pertinent questions should be;
    Why is Donna Hall allowed in the court?
    Why were the proceedings that would have led to her being struck off delayed?
    Was it to enable her to participate in supping from the trough one last time?
    Is she still billing out via legal aid despite the fact that she is about to be struck off?

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  22. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    reid

    you are conflating the concrete, physical fact of water with abstract, conceptual rights to water, especially rights to a share of the economic return of that water when it is arbitrarily utilised to produce economic returns.

    It’s just another form of confiscation, and the governments position of calling upon ancient English common law as overriding specific provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi – even while I consider the court will side with the government as the tradition of the legal system is to uphold established privileges until change is either forced on it or they have a rare epiphany – is risible to those who have the imagination to look at the issue from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

    Even if the energy asset sales have no impact of Maori water rights – and I find that idea problematic as it would once again involve the socialisation of private liability in the event of compensation eventually being forthcoming – it’s an ideal opportunity to negotiate on the basis of a willing party to redress instead of constantly being dragged along kicking and screaming.

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  23. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    … abstract, conceptual rights to water

    don’t exist.

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  24. wat dabney (3,849 comments) says:

    Can’t help thinking that something very like this must be going through Donna Hall’s mind:

    Ah well this is where my claim falls to the ground. There’s no possible way of answering that argument I’m afraid. I was only hoping you would not make that particular point, but I can see you’re more than a match for me.

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  25. Keeping Stock (9,381 comments) says:

    Judging by the questions that Justice Ronald Young has been asking the applicants (the Maori Council), there seems to be little chance of their action against the Crown succeeding. Get your spare cash ready; Mighty River Power shares will be 2013’s hottest item :D

    And even in the time that I typed that, Adam Bennett from the NZ Herald has tweeted this:

    Adam Bennett ‏@AdDeville

    Justice Young tells an increasingly frustrated Geiringer to take a deep breath and count to ten.

    Ouch!

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  26. Reid (16,719 comments) says:

    It’s just another form of confiscation, and the governments position of calling upon ancient English common law as overriding specific provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi – even while I consider the court will side with the government as the tradition of the legal system is to uphold established privileges until change is either forced on it or they have a rare epiphany – is risible to those who have the imagination to look at the issue from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

    Luc personally I find it risible as the Waitangi Tribunal listens seriously to tribal elders recite their “oral” history which is then ripped to shreds by Crown Law historians who actually know what history really is, then the Tribunal rules in the tribes favour anyway.

    you are conflating the concrete, physical fact of water with abstract, conceptual rights to water, especially rights to a share of the economic return of that water when it is arbitrarily utilised to produce economic returns.

    Luc just because a commercial operation uses water to generate income this does not make that water a commercial asset anymore than it does when they wind to do the same thing. Give me reasons why you think Maori should have commercial rights over and above everyone else, because so far no-one has explained it.

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  27. Nookin (3,571 comments) says:

    “However, Justice Young challenged Mr Geiringer’s claims, asking him repeatedly to explain how Mr Key’s statements were an error of law. That led to a heated exchange which ended only when Justice Young told an increasingly frustrated Mr Geiringer to” take a deep breath and count to 10″ and to “remember where you are”.

    Would love to have seen that!!

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