So if you are a novelist you’re exempt from the Public Works Act?

February 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A lineup of Maori leaders and top writers have made a Waitangi Day protest to the Government over the seizure of novelist ’s ancestral land, saying it breaches the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Government has taken 983 square metres of Grace’s land north of the Waikanae River for the Kapiti expressway.

Today more than 30 writers, academics and Maori leaders – including Dame Fiona Kidman, Sir James McNeish, Witi Ihimaera and Dame Anne Salmond – have signed an open letter to Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, urging the Government not “to literally bulldoze a road through the land”, which they say is of “major historical significance”.

The translation is that we think Jane Plod can have their land compulsorily acquired for a road, but not Patricia Grace because she is a novelist!

They say they are aware many people have lost land to the expressway, and they “have every sympathy for them”, but they believe “Patricia’s land is a special case that deserves to be exempt from the current plan”.

What other special rights should novelists have? A lower income tax rate?

Grace said yesterday that she was thrilled with the support, which was unprompted by her.

“The Crown, iwi and Waitangi Tribunal are working very hard to redress the past, while the is still able to take Maori land,” she said. “It is like compensating with one hand and taking with the other.

“Maori land should be outside the Public Works Act. No more Maori land should be taken.”

Oh, it is not writers that should be exempt, but all Maori. So if you have any Maori ancestry at all, you should be exempt from the Public Works Act.

How about this for a deal. You can be exempt from the Public Works Act that allows roads to be built and utilities such as power pylons to be located so we have a national grid – so long as you agree to never use any roads or electricity.

“Her place in New Zealand literature is remarkable and unquestionably significant,” the signatories write. “She should not have to fight, particularly at her stage of life [she is in her late 70s], to retain a piece of land that is hers by whakapapa . . . she should pass it on to her descendants.”

Wait, now the argument is that if you are aged over 70 you should be exempt?

The land once belonged to her great-great-grandfather Wi Parata Te Kakakura, who gifted large sections of it to Waikanae.

Or is the argument that if land has been in your family for multiple generations, you should be exempt from the Public Works Act?

I’m not unsympathetic to Patricia Grace, or any landowner who has to sell land against their will to the Government under the Public Works Act. It is a awful thing to have to go through. The Public Works Act is a fairly draconian law. However it is a fairly necessary one, without which we would not have roads or power.

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62 Responses to “So if you are a novelist you’re exempt from the Public Works Act?”

  1. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    More neo-apartheid claims: the Government should be able to take land from non-Maori for capital works, but not from Maori, Grace argues.

    No wonder she’s such a miniscule figure in the international world of English-language literature. Not up to Alan Duff’s ankles.

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  2. Anthony (766 comments) says:

    So is the land itself scenic or have some historic features, or is it just a hunk of dirt?

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  3. ZenTiger (425 comments) says:

    From what I can gather, the main advantage Maori have over Europeans, is that they have ancestors.

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  4. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    More ethnic crap . . . enough is enough.

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  5. Anthony (766 comments) says:

    I’m glad my ancestors left their grievances behind when they emigrated to NZ, and got on with making the best of life!

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  6. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    They are just trying it on. Anyone in the same situation would do the same thing.
    Nothing story, move on!

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  7. kowtow (7,582 comments) says:

    They have a point.

    Successive governments ,the courts and all sorts of other quasi govt ,taxfunded bodies have said that certain groups,ethnicities,genders etc have special rights,are entitled to protection,elevated status,quotas etc

    As the Good Book says Ye reap as ye sow.

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  8. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Before the arty-farty set points out Grace has won the Neustadt Prize with its reward of fifty thousand US dollars in 2008, look at some of the other recent winners of this prize administered by the University of Oklahoma: Claribel Alegria, of Nicaragua; Duo Duo, of China; Rohinton Mistry of India and Canada, and Mia Couto of Mozambique. David Malouf, of Australia, is about the only other winner from this corner of the world.

    Guys and gals, you’ll have read all of these.

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  9. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    Who is Patricia Grace?

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  10. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Heard of google Mrs Trellis?

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  11. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Or maybe the first sentence of DPF’s post!

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  12. Reid (15,912 comments) says:

    The real point here is not the story of someone objecting and having supporters in that objection, it’s that a media organ is so profoundly foolish that it sees fit to publish this on Waitangi Day using the language and angle that its taken in the article, knowing full well (if anyone who works there really does have a 3-digit IQ) that the demand of the objector can never be met and will simply generate unnecessary resentment amongst particularly Maori at whom its clearly aimed due to its publication on this day.

    It’s clearly designed to generate a furore and fair enough, if it was an issue the govt could do anything about. But it can’t do a damn thing about it for reasons DPF explains which as I say, are already perfectly obvious to all of us with 3-digit IQs.

    This would be appropriate to publish if it was done by a political organisation with an anti-govt agenda, but I’m afraid of all newspapers, the Dom Post should be the furthest from this type of tactic out of every single media organisation in the whole country, given that its home is in Wgtn and it therefore should be acutely aware of its reputation as a professional media outlet and its point of difference which is that it specialises in reporting on govt matters.

    It’s actually shocking that it would think to do this, in the way it has, on this day. It shows such profound ignorance and unprofessionalism you have to wonder if the entire editorial team has been secretly taken over by the university division of the Gweens, it’s that bad in its naivity, its idealism and in its ignorance of professional behaviour in a newspaper of national ranking.

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  13. RF (1,260 comments) says:

    Cry me a river. More bloody idealists who are hand wringing over another perceived Maori grievance. They are trying to put us back into the horse and cart days.

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  14. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Public works act equals Communism. No thanks.

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  15. elscorcho (151 comments) says:

    What amuses me is when so-called socialists oppose things like the Public Works Act. The PWA is perfect left-wing politics (which is why I support it).

    Any member of Labour/Greens etc. who opposes the seizure of land under the PWA should never be able to call themselves left-wing, progressive, socialist etc.

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  16. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    So if you are a novelist you’re exempt from the Public Works Act?

    Well, if you look at the first line of the Stuff article you’re quoting it says, clearly enough I would have thought, that “the seizure of novelist Patricia Grace’s ancestral land … breaches the Treaty of Waitangi.”

    It seems clear enough that the Public Works Act does breach the Treaty of Waitangi, so how ironic that this article appears today of all days. Also ironic that despite all the right-wing ranting about Maori protesters wanting to “dredge up the past,” we have confiscation of Maori Land in breach of the Treaty going on right now in 2014.

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  17. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Here come the libertarians, labelling the Public Works Act as communist.

    Without it, if we had roads at all they would be crazy loops. Without it, we would have no power transmission lines, and probably no hydro dams.

    The Scorned (11.37) (I’m not sure about elscorcho at 11.40) can add this to the wacko platform for the seized ruins of ACT: revoke the Public Works Act.

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  18. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt posted at 11.46:

    It seems clear enough that the Public Works Act does breach the Treaty of Waitangi…

    How about the various laws and regulations that make slavery illegal. Do they breach the treaty, too?

    Did the MSM highlight today any such contradictions with the treaty?

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  19. Jim (395 comments) says:

    ” we have confiscation of Maori Land “

    I wasn’t aware that the Public Work Act discriminates based on race of landowner. Are you suggesting it should?

    We have compulsory acquisition of anyone’s land to make way for public infrastructure. Can you suggest an alternative? Are there any countries that don’t do this? Even countries governed by ‘original’ inhabitants?

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    I wasn’t aware that the Public Work Act discriminates based on race of landowner. Are you suggesting it should?

    It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. It is, however, in breach of a Treaty the NZ government is obliged to honour.

    We have compulsory acquisition of anyone’s land to make way for public infrastructure. Can you suggest an alternative?

    Well, it seems to me that if you signed a Treaty and then find that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks, your obligation is to go back to the people you signed the Treaty with and have a chat to them about how you can come to some agreement that allows those tasks to be carried out. That is of course a much, much more expensive option than just pretending you never signed any treaty and doing what you want regardless, but no-one ever said human rights were about government convenience.

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  21. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    How about the various laws and regulations that make slavery illegal. Do they breach the treaty, too?

    I should think anyone going to court with the view that a Treaty signed by the British government in 1840 could be argued to have included slaves under the definition of ‘possessions’ would be laughed out of court.

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  22. radvad (661 comments) says:

    3..2..1.. Labour announces that a Labour government would stop Maori land being taken under the PWA.

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  23. Manolo (13,323 comments) says:

    Just forget about the Stone Agers’ whining.

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  24. RRM (9,422 comments) says:

    Happy Maori ™ Day, New Zealand!

    Remember, white mother fuckers, you’re an ungrateful race of thieves and it’s all your fault.

    Try to show some more respect for your Maori ™ hosts. And Ona tha treaty, ona tha treaty, ona tha treaty…

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  25. alwyn (380 comments) says:

    I notice that Ms Grace, and most of her supporters, have no hesitation in grabbing whatever they can out of the taxpayer to support them in their “artistic endeavours”.
    You nominate as her supporters Fiona Kidman, James McNeish, Ann Salmond and Witi Ihimaera. The first three of them, plus Grace herself, all happily took Prime Minister’s Awards, and the large grants that go with them, so that the taxpayer can keep them in comfort. Ihimaera also has had various taxpayer funded grants. They happily take from their fellow citizens but appear to be unwilling to accept any obligations to their fellow residents of this country.

    Psycho Milt. Of course a claim in favour of slavery would be laughed out of court, but why? It is at least as well supported by the “principles of the treaty of Waitangi”, as signed, as any of the other claims. After all, at the time the Chief’s of the tribes did have slaves. They certainly didn’t have FM radio broadcasts did they. and they claim that electro-magnetic radiation is a “taonga” guaranteed by the treaty.

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  26. greenjacket (415 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt: “It seems clear enough that the Public Works Act does breach the Treaty of Waitangi”
    Have you ever read the Treaty? Or are you just trolling? (Of course both can apply).
    .
    The Treaty has three articles: and while article 2 acknowledges Maori ownership of their land, article 1 is that the Crown can govern New Zealand (and article 3 is that Maori have the same rights as British subjects). And building of public works is a basic role of government QED Public Works Act is clearly not a breach of the Treaty.
    .
    Opposition by some to the Crown taking land under the Public Works Act has nothing to do with the Treaty (and in my experience, people bleating that something is a breach of the Treaty are invariably those who are least informed about it), and everything to do with a sense of entitlement.

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  27. johnwellingtonwells (121 comments) says:

    I have a taniwha for sale

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  28. edhunter (491 comments) says:

    bc I have heard of google & I’am still none the wiser as to who Patricia Grace is, other than an elderly Maori woman artist… damn if only she was gay she’d be a prime candidate for a place on Labours front bench.

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  29. Jim (395 comments) says:

    PM: “Well, it seems to me that if you signed a Treaty and then find that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks, …”

    But does it? The treaty text allowed for the NZ govt to preemptively acquire land “at such prices as may be agreed upon”, and the public works act appears to allow the same (first by agreed value at market rates, and failing that compulsorily, with right of appeal to Land Valuation Tribunal).

    I don’t think you are disagreeing that a process for obtaining land for public infrastructure is necessary.

    I’m aware there are two language texts to the Treaty and that many have argued over interpretation. Not to start an argument on that, but it does seem that there are those that want to twist it far beyond any plain reading, others that wish to say they would never have signed it, and some who hold it as an incontrovertible document of virtue. Depending on what they want out of their interpretation of course.

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  30. marcw (222 comments) says:

    I’m rapidly comming to the conclusion that anyone being conferred the title “NZer of the Year” status is anything but – more like “NZer more entitled of the Year ‘coz I’m just special”. Not like all us other hard working, honourable Kiwis eh.

    Talk about lowering the value of the special award. Please, don’t nominate me ever.

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  31. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt posted at 12.14:

    if you signed a Treaty and then find that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks, your obligation is to go back to the people you signed the Treaty with and have a chat to them about how you can come to some agreement that allows those tasks to be carried out. That is of course a much, much more expensive option.

    So it’s blackmail, then?

    And if the letter of the treaty, Maori should give back the money they received for wireless spectrum. That was certainly not their property in 1840.

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  32. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    @ Psycho Milt

    “Well, it seems to me that if you signed a Treaty and then find that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks, your obligation is to go back to the people you signed the Treaty with and have a chat to them about how you can come to some agreement that allows those tasks to be carried out. That is of course a much, much more expensive option than just pretending you never signed any treaty and doing what you want regardless, but no-one ever said human rights were about government convenience…”
    ———————————————–
    Yes, another grievance solution from the Geoffrey Palmer “let’s just make shit like ‘the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi’ up” bag of Labour Party policy disasters. Save us from deliberately ignorant left wingers who start an argument with the phrase, “well it seems to me…”!

    A better solution – actually read the Treaty:

    “Her Majesty, Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, regarding with her Royal favour the native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and anxious to protect their just rights and property…deemed it necessary…to treat with the aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty’s sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands.

    Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of civil government…has been graciously pleased…to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following articles and conditions…:”

    If these supposed high-priests of New Zealand literature could actually read, they would see that the Treaty was between the Queen and the chiefs and iwi, NOT private individuals like Patricia Grace. So there is no finding (to quote you Psycho Milt) “…that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks”.

    Unless, of course, we want to enforce the second part of article 2, “the exclusive right of pre-emption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate, at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.”.

    Hmmm. Anyone want to guess how Ms Grace, or any other Maori property owner for matter that would react if they had to first offer their house and land to the Government Land Office before they could negotiate a private sale?!

    Inconvenience? Nah – in Psycho Milt’s obscurantist world that would be “an obligation”.

    Left-wingers – people who create problems where none would otherwise exist, then market their ideas as the solution.

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  33. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    …I have heard of google & I’am still none the wiser as to who Patricia Grace is…

    Most people are embarrassed by personal ignorance and seek to conceal it rather than proudly display it. There’s something almost admirable about your unselfconscious embracing of your ignorance.

    The Treaty has three articles: and while article 2 acknowledges Maori ownership of their land, article 1 is that the Crown can govern New Zealand…

    Well, yes – but it doesn’t follow that the right to ‘govern’ includes the right to disregard stuff you explicitly agreed to elsewhere in the Treaty.

    But does it? The treaty text allowed for the NZ govt to preemptively acquire land “at such prices as may be agreed upon”, and the public works act appears to allow the same (first by agreed value at market rates, and failing that compulsorily, with right of appeal to Land Valuation Tribunal).

    Hmm – I was under the impression the provision was that Maori would only sell land to the Crown, not that the Crown could compulsorily acquire land and provide compensation.

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  34. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    So it’s blackmail, then?

    Well, I guess if we were to define blackmail as “people expecting you to stick to the agreement you signed even though it turns out to be expensive for you to do so,” then… wait, what? Are you serious?

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  35. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    Heard of google Mrs Trellis?

    Done that, none the wiser.

    I do know who Lord (sic) is :)

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  36. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    Hmmm. Anyone want to guess how Ms Grace, or any other Maori property owner for matter that would react if they had to first offer their house and land to the Government Land Office before they could negotiate a private sale?!

    The fact that the Crown could also enforce a Treaty clause that Maori would find inconvenient is true but irrelevant.

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  37. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Further on Psycho Milt’s 12.14 post:

    …if you signed a Treaty and then find that it prevents you from carrying out some important tasks, your obligation is to go back to the people you signed the Treaty with and have a chat to them about how you can come to some agreement that allows those tasks to be carried out.

    With Maori, however, the chats don’t reach a conclusion. Counting the latest top-up for Ngai Tahu, there have been four Government settlement payouts to Ngai Tahu for most of the South Island, on which they inhabited a few scattered settlements on the fringe. You can bet Ngai Tahu will come back for more, and will fight any move to cancel its group charity status, under which its many businesses compete with the advantage of being tax free.

    Treaty “settlements” have the characteristic of blackmail payments.

    Meanwhile, I note in the Hooerald that Harawira in his comments at Waitangi praised Nelson Mandela. How ironic. Mandela fought apartheid, Harawira fights for an NZ economic form of apartheid.

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  38. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    @ Psycho Milt

    As irrelevant as imposing on the Crown obligations towards someone such as Patricia Grace, who is neither a chief, nor an iwi, so she therefore has no moral or legal recourse to an treaty/agreement that doesn’t directly involve her?

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  39. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    The government is of course free to argue that this isn’t “Maori land,” but I don’t think it would be doing itself any favours with the other Treaty partner.

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  40. elscorcho (151 comments) says:

    More importantly, Psycho Milt, what’s your take on whether or not William the Conqueror was the rightful king of England given there was a verbal agreement?

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  41. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    So if you are a novelist you’re exempt from the Public Works Act?

    Damn straight.

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  42. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    “The government is of course free to argue that this isn’t “Maori land,” but I don’t think it would be doing itself any favours with the other Treaty partner.”.

    Now you are obfuscating.

    The fact that it is “Maori land” i.e., owned by a Maori is irrelevant for the purposes of recourse under the Treaty of Waitangi.

    It is NOT owned by chiefs or iwi. So I think the Crown would MOST certainly be doing everyone a favour, Maori included, by preserving the EXCLUSIVE nature off the agreement between itself and iwi.

    It is like a Maori in the USA trying to argue any property they own there cannot be confiscated under the American Public Works Acts because the American Government entered into agreement with local native American tribes. They may well have. It is nothing to do with Maori land owners. Just as Patricia Grace is not a party to the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Now repeat after me, “the Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement between two peoples, and those not specifically referred to in the text have no recourse to it…”

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    So, your interpretation is that the government can sign a Treaty guaranteeing Maori undisturbed possession of their land, then take any particular piece of Maori land they like on the basis that they didn’t guarantee any individual landowner undisturbed possession. And you’re accusing me of obfuscation?

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  44. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    No.

    My interpretation (actually, the one that Maori and the Crown, through negotiated settlements and Court decisions have arrived at) is: -

    There are two parties to the Treaty of Waitangi.

    They are named the Crown, and iwi. Only them. No one else. Anyone else can butt out in terms of direct appeal.

    Like I’m married to my wife. That is an agreement between her and me. It says so on the marriage licence. You, Patricia Grace, and everyone else can respectfully fuck off if you think you can intrude into the obligations, responsibilities and privileges that operate therein. It is not your business, nor your direct concern. If we divorce, you won’t be getting a slice of the division of assets. I have checked and neither “Psycho Milt”, nor any other names, pseudonymous or otherwise do not appear on the legal document that is our marriage licence. It is just me and her.

    That is also why iwi don’t try and recover their dispossessed land from individual land owners. Their grievance and recompense is with the Crown.

    But if you REALLY think Patricia Grace has a just case, why don’t you put YOUR money where your mouth is on this legal fool’s errand? Instead of expecting tax-payer time and money should be spent on this sham, why don’t you start a collection, starting with a substantial portion of your own money to assist Ms Grace to exercise her right as a subject of the Crown, and take the matter to court. Where she will lose. Because she is not a party to the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Or is it a case that we should all have to pay when someone convinces you with a legally-bogus sob story, because you are incapable of properly discerning what is and isn’t an “obligation” under the Treaty?!

    No wonder lawyers were drooling when that legal sophist and fool Geoffrey Palmer chucked the nebulous phrase “principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” into legislation.

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  45. Sadu (128 comments) says:

    I reckon she is just trying it on with the government. Nothing to lose by trying.

    I have 1/64th Maori in me – if the government tried to take my land off me you can be damned sure I would play the taniwha card and try to get additional koha out of the deal.

    The problem the government has is that they entertain this shit.

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  46. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    @Kimbo, Psycho Milt: interesting. Checking for understanding. I think you’re saying Kimbo that the treaty is with Iwi, therefore only lands that are communally owned by Iwi (commonly referred to as Maori Land) is covered. An individual person of Maori ancestory who happens to individually own land isn’t covered, in large part because this concept didn’t exist for Maori prior to the treaty (i.e. everything was owned by the tribe, individuals didn’t own anything).

    So if the land was actually iwi land that Grace happened to live on, it’d be covered. But if it’s her personal land then it’s not covered.

    That sort of makes sense to me, but just checking that I’m actually representing your argument correctly.

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  47. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    Yep.

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  48. Monique Angel (251 comments) says:

    What are the alternatives to confiscating Grace’s land? It all sounds very 1910 to me.

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  49. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    You write “No,” and then everything following it effectively means “Yes.”

    But if you REALLY think Patricia Grace has a just case, why don’t you put YOUR money where your mouth is on this legal fool’s errand?

    First, because as you point out, she would lose – NZ history shows that to be pretty much a given when Maori dispute government confiscation of their land. Second, because the threshold for being willing to blather on about something on a blog comments thread is somewhat lower than that for involving yourself in a court case. I doubt that you, for instance, feel so strongly about this that you’d be willing to fund the government’s costs in such a case.

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  50. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    “What are the alternatives to confiscating Grace’s land? It all sounds very 1910 to me.”

    Indeed, it is: We travel by horse and cart because one person’s selfish desires would effectively veto the economic building of a modern public highway – despite the legal obligation promised to ALL subjects of the Crown to compensate.

    All on the basis of the privilege of her race/whakapapa.

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  51. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    Hah! – I call bullshit on lots of levels…

    “First, because as you point out, she would lose – NZ history shows that to be pretty much a given when Maori dispute government confiscation of their land”.

    Really?! Where have you been since the Government granted retrospective power to the Waitangi Tribunal to investigate claims back to 1840? Ngai Tahu, Tainui, Ngati Whatua…

    “Second, because the threshold for being willing to blather on about something on a blog comments thread is somewhat lower than that for involving yourself in a court case. I doubt that you, for instance, feel so strongly about this that you’d be willing to fund the government’s costs in such a case”.

    But I do, Psycho Milt, I do. Any time Patricia Grace wants to exercise her right to appeal to the New Zealand courts, she does so to an institution my taxes pay for. Plus any legal aid she manages to procure.

    Study the facts and then decide if you are willing to get some skin in the game for this alleged cause which is so open and shut according to you, and THEN you will be worth listening to.

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  52. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Sadu, that’s exactly the point I made. I got down ticked though!
    Oh well, I’ll try not to take it personally :)

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  53. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    Really?! Where have you been since the Government granted retrospective power to the Waitangi Tribunal to investigate claims back to 1840? Ngai Tahu, Tainui, Ngati Whatua…

    So, not a court then. You think she’d lose there? They seem to take the ToW a bit more seriously than the courts have done over the last century or so.

    But I do, Psycho Milt, I do. Any time Patricia Grace wants to exercise her right to appeal to the New Zealand courts, she does so to an institution my taxes pay for. Plus any legal aid she manages to procure.

    To that extent, we both have ‘skin in the game.’

    All on the basis of the privilege of her race/whakapapa.

    No, all on the basis of the government having obligations under a treaty it signed. The fact that you don’t like the obligations doesn’t alter the fact that the treaty exists.

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  54. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    I think Psycho Milt, that the question is whether there are in fact obligations in the treaty to individual Maori, as opposed to iwi. I can understand that if it were a rule like “and you won’t kill iwi”, then logically that extends to not killing individual Maori – clearly you couldn’t kill some of the iwi and then say “well, it’s not like I killed all them, there’s still an iwi there.”

    But in the case of land, I’m not sure it reduces like that. If the construct is that the Crown won’t take land belonging to iwi, that could reasonably be interpreted to mean land owned collectively by the iwi. And I think that’s an interesting question. Do you have a view on that?

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    I’ve got a view on that PaulL, probably one that psycho won’t agree with – you can’t have an agreement with a group (or iwi) that excludes the individuals of that group. ‘Chiefs and iwi’ was a convenient title to place in the Treaty, the idea that individuals were excluded seems raving mad, particularly because that isn’t spelt out. They were included as iwi and the Chiefs represented them with their signatures. Logistically it couldn’t have happened any other way, I don’t see how you can have an agreement with a group among whom you treat individuals as though the universal agreement doesn’t apply to them.

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  56. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    To Maori the use of the Public Works Act to acquire their land for public utilities has been a blunt instrument that disenfranchises Maori from their assets with little or no recourse to protest or fair remuneration. The Treaty claim process would not exist if the Crown had acted benevolently in the past and in a modern setting it is still necessary to challenge the Crown and it’s intention to ensure that the process has integrity and recognises the significance of assets to Maori.
    Regretfully for Patricia Grace the Act will be used to alienate her from the land of her ancestors and there will not be a great deal that she can do about it apart from receiving the token payment that the Crown will offer that no doubt will be well below c.v.

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  57. smttc (687 comments) says:

    Monique, it is not a question of confiscation. That implies no compensation. It is negotiated acquisition at an agreed price or compulsory acquisition with any dispute over the compensation offered by the Crown being subject to the decision of a quasi judicial body.

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  58. Auberon (868 comments) says:

    Just a brief footnote on this; I’m told the Dom Post stuffed up and the aerial view of the land on its front page today, which purported to show Ms Grace’s land, was incorrect. It showed buildings on the land, but they were in fact on land which previous owners had voluntarily sold to NZTA. Ms Grace’s land has no buildings on it – it’s half a hectare of scrub, which NZTA wants 1/6 of. Patricia Grace actually lives somewhere else. But some will say the fact it’s a vacant lot doesn’t matter; that she doesn’t live there is neither here not there – she’s Maori, and wrote some frankly incomprehensible nonsense which was in my ENG 101 course at university because that’s how guilt ridden white academics chose to deal with their shame. But in the end it’s a piece of land that’s needed for an important road and she’s being outrageous in opposing it.

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  59. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    If the construct is that the Crown won’t take land belonging to iwi, that could reasonably be interpreted to mean land owned collectively by the iwi. And I think that’s an interesting question. Do you have a view on that?

    I think that if Ms Grace had been having a look through the Property Press and had bought this property for a nice little place to retire to, Kimbo would have a very good point – caling it Maori land because it happened to be owned by a Maori would be drawing a very long bow. However, it’s actually ancestral land, and if the history of this country has taught us anything it should have taught us that Maori take their ancestral land seriously, and coming up with bogus legal scams to strip them of it in exchange for some unilaterally-determined compensation is really not a good idea because the aggro will last for generations. As it stands, I think this is exactly as I described it above – for the government to claim that the fact it promised Maori undisturbed possession of their lands doesn’t stop it taking any individual Maori’s land would be some pretty disgusting weaselry.

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  60. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    Are you suggesting that building a road is a bogus legal scam? I’m not really sure whether that’s a position I’d agree with.

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  61. itstricky (1,535 comments) says:

    Stuff: A lineup of Maori leaders and top writers have made a Waitangi Day protest to the Government over the seizure of novelist Patricia Grace’s ancestral land, saying it breaches the Treaty of Waitangi.

    DPF: Oh, it is not writers that should be exempt, but all Maori. So if you have any Maori ancestry at all, you should be exempt from the Public Works Act.

    Psycho Milt: I think that if Ms Grace had been having a look through the Property Press and had bought this property for a nice little place to retire to, Kimbo would have a very good point – caling it Maori land because it happened to be owned by a Maori would be drawing a very long bow. However, it’s actually ancestral land, and if the history of this country has taught us anything it should have taught us that Maori take their ancestral land seriously

    Yes, you’re on the money – this is same s* different day.

    Regardless of the outcome – the statement by DPF is just a very thinly veiled re-representation of the Brash, Ander* what’s-his-face Kiwi/Iwi bollocks again. Stop trying to imply with the first sentence that this has anything at all to do with whether you are Maori or not. And that, just because you’re Maori, you have some sort of special priveldges against the law that no one else gets. It’s not and in no way implies that. You’re just trying to aggrevate the masses of short tempered “I’ve had enough of this” under-currents. And wadda you know, the first ten comments from non-thinking aggro-mites proves it.

    You should recognise this yourself Mr Farrar. I don’t believe for a second that you don’t. Skating on thin ice that falls into a sea of steaming stinky whale oil.

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  62. Psycho Milt (2,250 comments) says:

    Are you suggesting that building a road is a bogus legal scam?

    “Bogus legal scams” applies more to the 19th and 20th Centuries up to about the 1970s, after which a bit more subtlety was required. However, it seems to me that if you’re covered by a Treaty with the government that guarantees you undisturbed possession of your land, and one day you’re visited by a servant of government to tell you the government is compulsorily acquiring your land in exchange for such compensation as it deems fit and it’s all perfectly legal, you’re fully entitled to mentally replace “perfectly legal” with “a bogus legal scam.”

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