The Principal Environment Court Judge has lauded the RMA as ideal. No wonder we have such problems, when one of the most resented pieces of legislation is seen as without flaw by the main Judge who interprets it.
Judge Whiting defends the Environment Court’s recent time limit on the diversion of Whanganui River headwaters for electricity saying “that to Maori groups, severing the headwaters of their rivers is a sacrilege” and “that Maori have always believed the spiritual realm interacts with the physical, seeing natural resources as part of themselves.”
I believe spiritual beliefs should not be a basis for legal rights. I don’t care if they are Catholic, Buddhist or Gaia. I will respect people’s beliefs, but I object to those beliefs having the force of law behind them.
And lets be honest how many Maori honestly honestly believe that taking water from a river upsets the spirits?
The 2001 Census showed us that Maori religious affiliations are falling rapidly – from 79% in 1991 to 68% in 2001, and taking into acocunt those who objected we have only 335,000 out of 525,000 (63%) Maori stating a religion.
Now the largest is Anglican with 75,000 and Catholic on 68,000. Neither of these religions say that you piss the Gods off if you take water from a river. Ratana has 45,000 and they might believe that, but they represent less than 10% of Maori.