David Rankin, the outspoken Ngapuhi leader, has criticised the claimants in the current Waitangi Tribunal water claim for acting out of what he labels “pure greed.”:
“These claimants need to be honest. What they are after is a slice of the pie. This is not about culture, it is all about profit and personal gains,” says Mr. Rankin. He points to the Sealord fisheries settlement 20 years ago, and says “after two decades, the vast majority of Maori have not seen a single fish. It is only the elite few manipulating the masses who get to enjoy the money that flows from these settlements”.
In the case of the current claim over rivers, Mr. Rankin points the finger at Maanu Paul and Annette Sykes. “These two,” he says, “are silent when one of our children is bashed, silent when one of our children is raped, silent when one of our children is murdered. But put some cash before their eyes, and they jump up and down pretending to be concerned about Maori rights. It’s disgraceful.”
Mr Rankin said that the claimants obviously put cash before culture. “Traditionally, we all shared the water in rivers. There was never any sense of ownership, only a link of identity. That’s why there is the phrase: Ko wai ahau?”
Mr. Rankin also questions the mandates of Maanu Paul and Annette Sykes. “What rights do they have to speak on our behalf?” he asks. “What is their whakapapa, and who do they really represent? These are self-appointed leaders – known among Maori to be “Claytons Leaders”, that is, the leaders when you don’t want a leader.”