A Maori Mugging over Water

It appears that we may be set to be mugged again  by Maori, this time over water:

The row over a Treaty of Waitangi clause in legislation paving the way for the sale of the state-owned power companies has turned into an iwi bid for an ownership stake.

The Maori Council yesterday described that as its “elegant solution” to the looming “section 9” standoff after filing a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal over freshwater and geothermal resources.

The claim is an attempt to halt the sale of the SOEs until their claims over water ownership are heard and as pressure for a financial settlement grows.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday insisted it would not slow the sales process for the SOEs – but the Waitangi Tribunal claim is likely to be just the first shot in a battle that could ultimately see the Court of Appeal asked to intervene.

Maori Council chairman Maanu Paul said he expected the tribunal to hear its case urgently and while the tribunal’s recommendations are not binding, it could recommend iwi seek redress through the Court of Appeal.

But the preferred option of claimants appears to be direct negotiation between the Crown and iwi – with the decades-old fisheries settlement held up as one model. The so- called Sealords deal delivered Maori a 20 per cent stake in the fisheries and hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in the industry.

This is nothing short of the time honoured tradition of stand-over. Stephen Franks calls it:

The Waitangi Tribunal claims announced by the New Zealand Maori Council are unapologetically a hold-up. They have little apparent legal merit. But on form to date I predict a reasonable chance they will succeed for what they are – a legal mugging to lever free SOE shares out of an easy-touch government.

Legal proceedings are frequently purely tactical. Even meritless claims can work well to gain time, and to give the appearance of justification for procedural coercion.

Courts are so slow and so complex and unpredictable (with a Supreme Court anxious to make its mark on history) that a hold-up demand can work brilliantly. Maori claimants know they are in practice exempt from the damages for an improper injunction that inhibit vexatious litigation for everyone else.

A tactical demand, however unfair, gives Maori the time under the spotlight needed to get a government to pay rather than fight. Maori have little or no early downside. There is no one to call them to account if they crank up the political heat with fanciful explanations of their legal position.

At the rate that the usual Maori suspects are cutting up rough ACT is set for a resurgence in popularity.


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  • Paulus

    I heard an eminent lawyer, following the great churner Donna Hall this morning, and he having considerable experience with many major settlements says its a load of balls (politely).
    Most of the water involved with the partial assett sales have already been part of Iwi settlements, so cannot be included. Like Ngai Tahu in the South Island who have most water included in their settlement.
    He likewise said that the Waitangi Tribunal had no legal binding whatever, and as Key has said it is not for consideration, its dead anyway.
    The Government rules this country not the Waitangi Tribunal, surprisingly.

  • Dutyfree

    they have been angling for water ownership for years.  Just look at the co-management on the Waikato.  Tuwharetoa thought they had grab lake Taupo when they secured the lake bed, but have been rethinking ever since…………………


    whats next…the air we breathe????

    so here we go again… the maori trying to put this country to the sword. we have given them so much and in return have received so little. except for maybe a large prision population and lots of dead kids.NZ’s economy is closer than we think to being in the toilet and quite possibly never getting out. the sale of partial pieces of SOE’s is actually needed to repay debt and assist with growing as a nation. god imagine what overseas investors must think now that a minor race in NZ is going to attempt to stop the partial sale – why would they even bother to invest? or the fact that NZ sends billions offshore every year for the likes of Kiwisaver – so looks good for the cash to stay here. i am so sick and tired of these radical few making so many waves for the rest of us. the whole story of the “white man” making too much and paying less tax is pathetic. the maori tribes have had hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to help their people, make wrongs of long ago right again – well where is all the money??????? oh thats right it is tightly held by the few at the top who are in fact depriving their own people of their share. the likes of Tipene O’Reagan springs to mind. NZ will be the laughing stock again over this matter – if you added up partial SOE sales run by decent boards with business acumen, and allowed some mining and oil exporation NZ would be a very wealthy nation for all who live here and would bring in massive overseas investment. instead we will be destined to be a back water near 3rd world nation held to ransom by just a few who come out 1 day a year.

    • Pita

      whats next…the air we breathe????…Nope the Governments got that already with the ETS!


        They tried radio waves,so guess air is next


      Watch out you might upset Phillip Ure.SCF details will be used again.I agree with what you have said,good points all round.Think a better term would be black water,then back water.Cheers S

  • Anonymous

    The water in those lakes will have been fully replenished a multitude of times since 1840, they may make claim on the land and lake beds, although they were created on thirty odd years ago, but to lay claim to the water within is the same as Au’s attempt to tax rain fall.
    Time to knock the Treaty on it’s head. If they don’t like it stiff shit.
    I’m surprised they haven’t tried to claim the wind that drive the wind farms. No different!

    • DONKEY

      the only wind they know about is the wind from their arses

  • Grandstream

    So if Maori own the water, do we send them a bill for all the flood damage that has occurred while they have owned the water ? Nuff said…….

    • DONKEY

      what about the prison population percentage – send them a bill for that to?

  • Anonymous

    I can only assume that they are claiming water as a “taonga”. Seems like something only becomes a treasure when they discover that a value can be extracted from it.

    I bet they’d claim cow shit too if someone discovered how to turn it into money


      Already have,its called the crafer farms,and this stupid claim for water

  • spike

    Watched a documentary on maori tv last night (another waste of our money due to the indigenous rights by the UN). Anyway it was about the immigration nation…Australia and their white australia policy.  Made me think..the maori tv always shows these types of doco’s i.e. a series of docs on the american indians and all the sh*t they went through. It’s like they see themselves as suffering the same histories as these people when inn reality it would be impossible to name a colonised (not even indigenous) people that have been so well handled and pandered to as the maori’s.  Their problem now is that they are just like spoilt brats…despite their bad behavior such as killing their kids, you still can’t go past the checkout at the supermarket without them demanding something and the kick up such a stink through the supplicant media (who are all left wing PC marxists as we know) that we end up giving them what they want so that they will just shut up for a while! However as they super nanny shows this doesn’t solve the problem, they need some time in the naughty chair…..fu#*%kers!

  • Gavinc60

    whats next…the air we breathe????No they are still after radio spectrum rights – I kid you not!

    • Boss Hogg

      How about incoming energy from sun light, wind, rain (I Want It,  already underway as that goes into the lakes and rivers, why not claim twice though?) the moon, stars, gravity,  things yet to be discovered or invented yet.  Surely it is all covered in that magic treaty.

      Have we all read “The Travesty of Waitangi”  yet?

  • joe bloggs

    Ah the Treaty of Waitangi – the gift that keeps on giving… and giving.. and giving…

    Wish the NZ economy were as productive.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Make Penny Bright Honorary Minister for Water. That should piss off the Maori Council.
    Ms Bright will not get paid for this, she allready has an income.

    What’s that? Maori Lawyers saying no no no anyone but her

  • Thorn

    Judicial activism has made the Treaty whatever the Maoris wanted it to mean. Lord Cooke and his disciple Sian Elias turned NZ away from being a nation of predictable laws. Little wonder that widely-held disgust Kiwis feel towards the so-called justice system.

  • Peter Wilson

    I can feel a new anger arising amongst pakeha as maori bite off more than they can chew. Wouldn’t it be something if National said without asset sales there could be no more treaty settlements as there is no money.

  • Gazzaw

    So the Court of Appeal may become involved. Does this mean that the issue could ultimately go right to the top of our legal system? Doesn’t make me feel very comfortable with Elias lurking and no access to the Privy Council.

    • dad4justice

      Maybe maori and Dam Elias can get whitemotherfuckers to water their horses in the supreme sick joke?

  • hortense

    Enough is enough. Pandering to Maori has to stop. It’s time for the government to give us a referendum on the future of the Maori seats.