Rotorua lakes

I love the Rotorua lakes, having spent five days canoeing across most of them, and camping by the lakesides. They will always have very fond memories for me, as it is on that trip I met a very special person, Anna, who was visiting from Germany.

I think it is entirely fair the Government pay $10 million compensation to Te Arawa to compensate for the 1922 settlement not being inflation adjusted.

But giving them compensation, plus the title to the lakes, is a bit like picking both the money and the bag when asked to choose by Selwyn Toogood.

I am very sympathethic to treaty settlements based on breaches of property rights. That is why I have some unease over legislating on the foreshore issue – that should have been Labour’s final resort, not its first resort.

But awarding title on the basis of ghosts of Maori warriors on a phantom canoe spiritual beings, taniwha, kaitiaki [guardians] which appear as lizards, eels or floating logs is mumbo jumbo nonsense.

I also regard it as offensive to have Anaru Rangiheuea state “It’s a matter that is not up for debate unless you are a descendant of Te Arawa or in Government.”

It is up for debate, and I think Lake Taupo serves as a lesson about the pitfalls of giving away title to lakebeds, even if one tries to protect public access. Over time it inevitably leads to more friction, with claims for airspace rights also.

Lets pay the compensation, but lets stop handing out title to lakebeds and seabeds. They must remain for all NZers.

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