Nick Smith

Iwi leaders’ water claim “nothing but corporate greed” says Ngapuhi academic

David Rankin has called out the Iwi Leadership Group for their attempt to hijack water in New Zealand, aided and abetted by Bill English and Nick Smith.

His press release makes perfect sense.

As iwi leaders from around the country meet to discuss claiming commercial rights to all the country’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs, dams and any other fresh water, Ngapuhi academic David Rankin has questioned their motives.

Mr Rankin, who is currently undertaking a PhD on traditional property rights, points out that prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, Maori never owned water.  And even after Europeans arrived, Maori never owned water.  He says that there is no cultural basis or historical precedent for the claim.  Neither is water Treaty right according to him “Water is not mentioned in the Treaty once.  ‘Taonga’ are mentioned, but these are not property rights.  A ‘taonga’ traditionally was something that could be acquired at the point of a spear.  Try doing that with water”, he says.   Read more »

Maori making grab for water and Nick Smith & Bill English appear to be helping them

Maori are going to go after water as the next grievance claim….and it appears that Bill English and Nick Smith are entertaining their claims and negotiating with them instead of telling them to piss off.

Maori leaders have mounted a bid for effective ownership of a share of the country’s freshwater.

This would allow them, and other with water rights, to onsell it to those who need water for irrigation, hydropower and other commercial uses.

Talks between the powerful Iwi Leaders Group and the Government, fronted by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Environment Minister Nick Smith, are at a critical stage after ministers rejected a nationwide ‘Waterlords’ settlement along the lines of the Sealords deal over Maori commercial fishing claims.

The Government is adamant it will not hand over rights in perpetuity to Maori – but it may compromise by allowing regional councils to do local deals with Maori.

Farmers are worried that there will not be enough water to go around if significant quantities of freshwater are set aside for Maori.

In a Cabinet paper, Smith points to possible “catchment by catchment” deals at a regional government level. The Crown has acknowledged Maori interests and rights in freshwater but their extent and nature is at issue. The Government may set criteria by which local iwi can get preferential access to water, catchment by catchment, Smith says.

Ministers and iwi leaders held a summit at Waitangi during the February 6 commemorations, in a swift response to an iwi- commissioned report proposing radical ways to deal with freshwater and Maori claims. The report, by research group Sapere, proposed a nationwide settlement, an end to 35-year renewals of water consents. and a move to permanent rights and a market in tradable water rights.

It argued the regime would not only be a boon for Maori but would add $2 billion to the value of power-generating assets, $5.5b to the primary sector and boost the overall economy, while helping reduce the effects of drought through more efficient use of water. It would also open the way for the Government to levy resource taxes on income from using the water.

If National wants to lose more than just Northland they will keep on going with this process under the control of Bill English and Nick Smith.    Read more »

Please sit down: Len Brown delivers on special housing

Mayor Len Brown

Mayor Len Brown

Auckland mayor Len Brown told TV One’s Q+A programme that 170 houses have been built in Special Housing Areas as a result of the Housing Accord between Auckland City and the government.

so under the Special Housing Areas we know that of the sections created and the building consents given, which is around 1200, there have been 170 houses built as a consequence. And the reason why we know that is because we are actually holding much, much closer focus on those Special Housing Areas.”

At the mid-way point, the Housing Accord has so far approved more than 16-thousand building consents.


And somehow this is a source of pride… why?   Read more »

Auckland Council given serve by Hearings Panel

Auckland Council has been served up a cold dish of come-uppance by the Hearings Panel where it concerns the Unitary Plan.

Arrogantly Auckland Council’s heavy weights Penny Perrit and Roger Blakeley have been pushing forward their own agenda for some time.

After considerable debate the Hearing’s Panel Chair – Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick – has issued up a savage Interim advice note telling Auckland Council that the RPS (Regional Policy Statement) section of the Unitary Plan is essentially trite and it means the Council will need to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the most important section.

The RPS is the Policy and objectives section for the whole region and it’s flavour essentially cascades down through to the rules and zones and it dictates the way the city can and can’t expand or grow. Getting this right is not only critical but fundamental.    Read more »

Concrete Cancer Cover-up, Ctd – Did Nick Smith mislead parliament?

The concrete cancer cover-up fiasco affecting New Zealand’s $400 million concrete sector has taken another turn with the Minister for Building and Housing Nick Smith now looking like having misled Parliament.

Under questioning from Winston Peters, the Minister for Building  and Housing Nick Smith initially covered off his statements by saying that “I have been assured by officials”.

But Ministers have to satisfy themselves that the answers they’re getting from officials are right – otherwise they get caught out.

So when Nick Smith gets cocky and thinks he knows best, he gets held to account.


Sources inside the industry have told Whaleoil of  a ‘WTF’ moment when they heard Nick Smith say this, and are now asking who is advising the Minister on this issue.

If he was getting good advice, he would not have told Parliament that “high alkali cement is allowed under New Zealand cement standard” – a statement that is likely to come back to haunt Nick Smith for the simple reason it is just wrong.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Cover-up, Ctd – Core samples? Easy peasy

Core Samples from the Warehouse Pakuranga, Auckland

Core Samples from the Warehouse Pakuranga, Auckland

After reading the exclusive Concrete-Cancer Cover-up series, one of our eagle-eyed Whaleoil army member spotted something they thought we would like to see – photos of where concrete core samples have been taken.

And this wasn’t overseas, this was right here in New Zealand – at the Warehouse Pakuranga in Auckland.

Last week Winston Peters hammered Minister for Building and Housing Nic Smith over officials telling the Minister’s office that the $40.6m Manukau District Court rebuild has used dodgy cement and asked why core samples haven’t been taken.

It’s a good question that the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) gets very uppity about.

Just image if core samples of the taxpayer funded Manukau District Court building were taken and sent to an independent laboratory for testing and came back showing they have a problem.    Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup – Winston has Nick Smith over a barrel

Like a shark, Winston Peters can smell blood from a mile away and his target this time is Minister of Building and Housing Nick Smith.

The Government has been warned about the concrete cancer issue for near on six months now, and yesterday we saw a flustered looking Nick Smith start the ol’ political trick of shifting the blame to his officials.

Nick Smith gets up and tried to crack a funny about carpets and curtains, then tries to fob off the seriousness of the concrete cancer issue happening under his watch by saying there’s competitive issues at play within the building sector.

Really? Is that the best you can do Nick? Of course there are competitive issues inside the building industry, just like there are competitive issues across all sectors – But it doesn’t stop the very simple fact that there is a very real problem here.

You’ve got to give Winston credit when credit is due. Read more »

Armstrong: Government struggles over State Housing message

Seems that John reads Whaleoil and concurs with me that the whole Housing New Zealand housing stock upgrade has been poorly handled in terms of what the public get to know and understand about it.

Pick your way through the latest batch of just-released Cabinet papers dealing with the future of state housing and you will find the reason why the National minority Government is struggling to sell the virtues or otherwise of its radical reform of the bottom end of the housing market.

It comes down to simple bricks and mortar. Or the lack thereof. The officials who wrote the documents talk of ministers intending to give “external audiences” the constant message that the “conversation” about social housing needs to change from being focused on how many houses will remain under Housing New Zealand’s control – and thus in state ownership – and how many will be sold to “community housing providers”.

The problem is that everyone can see National selling the houses, and nobody can see National replace them with anything.   In the mean time, Labour and the Greens keep broadsiding with an “asset sale” message that, even though not correct, people can understand.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Cover-up, Ctd – What’s all the fuss about?


When you start investigating a story the interesting thing is how people respond to questions.

Some are helpful, provide information and are keen to see an issue resolved. Others are less than helpful and are keen on seeing the story shut down.

Sadly, Rob Gaimster, CEO of the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) falls into the later category.  More on Gaimster later.

A recap is needed on why this Concrete Cancer Story needs to be told.

The basics are this;

  1. In January, February and March 2014, a cement importing company Drymix imported tens of thousands of tonnes of cement from Vietnam into New Zealand which, according to their own test results, failed to meet recognised industry standards.
  2. Drymix failed to make its test results available for public scrutiny which raised questions within New Zealand’s $400 million-a-year cement market.
  3. This cement had higher than accepted alkali content.
  4. Concrete cancer is caused by high alkali levels in cement combined with moisture in the concrete and a reactive form of silica in the aggregate. When this happens it can end up causing expansion and cracking in concrete resulting in major structural problems.   Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup, Ctd – What does the government know?


You would think that with millions of tax-payers money being poured into the construction of the Manukau District Court, the Government would want to have confidence in the integrity of the building.

Following this explosive Concrete Cancer Cover-Up series on Whaleoil, government officials have had to rely on information from Rob Gaimster, the CEO of the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ).

If you listened to CCANZ, who on Monday quietly posted an update on their website, they are desperate to say that everything is all right, nothing to see here, move along.

That line didn’t work for Helen Clark.

WOBH is hearing that questions about high alkali cement problems are being raised in Wellington; not only about the potential exposure from the Manukau Court building constructed with dodgy cement from Vietnam, but whether buildings in Wellington are potentially affected.

But CAANZ seems desperate to keep digging the hole they have got themselves in, thanks in part to their support of member company Drymix.   Read more »