Labour vs Key vs Waitangi

Opposition parties are calling on the Maori Party to walk the away from its support agreement with National over the Prime Minister’s “insulting” comments about the Waitangi Tribunal.

This is very interesting because Labour faced a similar situation in 2000 when Maori claimed New Zealand’s oil and gas production before the Waitangi Tribunal:

Jonathan Milne wrote in the Dom Post on 16 October 2000:

MAORI claiming ownership of New Zealand’s gas and petroleum resources are wasting their time with a Waitangi Tribunal hearing this week, according to the Government, because the tribunal’s recommendation will not affect its policy.

Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain said last night that he had assured oil drilling companies of continuing crown ownership of oil and petrol — and no Waitangi Tribunal hearing or subsequent court action by Maori would change that.

The tribunal had earlier asked the Government to hold fire on Taranaki claim settlements and oil-related decisions till Hawera-based Nga Ruahine’s claim over gas and petroleum royalties was heard, to avoid prejudicing the hearing.

The oil industry has been paying levies and royalties to the Government — worth up to $140 million this year — since gas and petroleum resources were nationalised in 1937.

Mr Swain said the claimants were entitled to express their view to the tribunal, but they already knew the Government’s position on ownership of oil.

“If the tribunal decision is in their favour, and it may or may not be, then I would imagine they’ll be looking to try and have that claim reinforced through the courts procedure,” he said.

“They have a right to do that, but they know the Government’s position.”

Labour’s position was quite clear then, Paul Swain was even more robust than John Key has been. He basically said that it didn’t really matter what the Waitangi Tribunal said, Labour’s policy was going ahead anyway and he even went as far as to assure oil drilling companies.

Swain’s comments of course sparked “outrage”…Jonathan Milne again wrote int he Dom Post the next day:

THE Government was jeopardising its case for keeping ownership of oil and gas resources by disregarding the Waitangi Tribunal, Maori Land Court Chief Judge Joe Williams warned yesterday.

His warning came as a senior government official conceded that Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain had a conflict of interest, in dealing with Maori concerns about drilling while accepting royalties from mining companies.

Mr Swain sparked outrage yesterday, at the start of the tribunal’s hearing into Nga Ruahine’s claim over petroleum resources, by saying that neither the tribunal nor the courts would change the Government’s petroleum policy.

Nga Ruahine kaumatua Tom Ngatai told the tribunal that Maori had been treated like a dog. “But you kick your dog so many times, and you’ll end up bitten and bitten. Possibly he’ll kill you . . . It’s all very well to say in the paper that everything’s futile, but we’re not here to say `good morning’ and go back home.”

Chief Judge Williams, presiding, asked crown lawyer Virginia Hardy to convey his concerns to Mr Swain: “You have no doubt advised your client that he is unlikely to assist his case, either here or in the ordinary courts, by indicating a closed mind.”

Mr Swain, delegated with responsibility for crown minerals, has assured international investors in petroleum exploration that their position will not be threatened.

Helen Clark even weighed in with her own view:

Prime Minister Helen Clark said the Government’s settlements were based on policy, not Waitangi Tribunal recommendations. “You can assume that the Government will proceed to settle in line with the previous statements it has made about its principles for settling.”

So, as David Farrar notes, will the opposition parties that are calling on the Maori Party to walk away from the Government on this issue, now make the Waitangi Tribunal recommendations binding on Government and Parliament. Helen Clark and Paul Swain never did…so why would David Shearer now…or is all this pure politicking without any foundation or basis in honesty from Labour and David Shearer?

We have all been here before and the result will likely end up the same…except it is far clearer on water…no one owns it. We have heard the threats and carping and whining from Maori before.


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  • petal

    It has been very clear that Labour’s “opposition strategy” is to mostly try and apply pressure on the coalition partners and not National.  National are popular.  Dunne and the Maori Party not so. They even tried getting at National via John Banks….  

    It’s quite the compliment that Labour’s BEST attempts at being an opposition involves focusing on what they see as lower hanging fruit – the coalition partners.

  • Alloytoo

    Forgive me for asking, but what exactly have the Maori Party done for National since the election?

    The average National Party voter when faced with the posibility of the Maori Party ‘walking’ might well be forgiven for asking:

    “So What.”

    • Neil

       Or – “Thank Christ for that!!

      • gazzaw

        Or – if it happens over the water issue:

        “We’ll go to the country. See you at the polling booths next month”.

        Haven’t heard Kiwis so united for a long time over the attempt at blackmail over water ownnership. No wonder Shearer is backpedalling like crazy.

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

       Alloytoo – You will need Maori party in 2014 to be in Government. Otherwise Sheep and his Greenies will be the Government propped up by Winnie. Don’t forget that.

  • Bob

    What did Key think would happen with the Maori party when he dismissed the Waitangi Tribunal like he did? Did he think it would all go well and no one would mind??

    I am glad he did (pity he doesn’t do it when these bloody expensive settlements are in the wings)  because A: it could very well put a spanner in the works for asset sales, and B: it is about time someone said NO to Maori in this decade. As pointed out Labour did it last decade and the world did not end for Maori, just as it wont this time. 

    It is time certain Maori groups stopped living in grievance mode and get to grips with the fact they live in the 21st multicultural NZ. 

    • grumpy

      This claim on water is just a politically motivated stunt.
      National should sack the Maori Party, dump the Maori seats and scap the Waitangi tribunal.

      • Neil

         Did you copy and paste this – or re-type it….?

    •  So let me get this straight, A minor party knowing full well the majority parties policy platform and intent, sign a coalition agreement with them after the people have made their judgement of said policy at the polling booth.  Then some external force applies pressure to the duly and democratically decided decision, and they start getting the humpty.  Why did they sign up in the first place, baubles of power anyone. 
      NZ politics, what a sad reflection on this country, the house should be ashamed.

  • Phar Lap

    Heard Shearer,the” Phantom” ,or” The man who never was”,being interviewed on a radio channel regarding his stance on water,and the Claims at the Waitangi Tribunal.He kept circling   the question ,round and around like a dog chasing a bitch on heat.Finally his reply,”no one owns the water”.His comments around the whole claim, was almost a carbon copy of John Key’s comments.He could have said that comment at the start of the grilling,yet it took about ten minutes.So other than sitting on the oppositions benches,and making the faces ,Maori were being offered a **** full of snow, or in this instance a cup of cold water.

    • Phar Lap

      We need a referenda on the Waitangi Tribunal.It would require three hundred thousand signatures to enact one.If that was offered to the country   it would  probably be filled by lunchtime in any given day.

      • patriot

        maori party is trying to push the Govt around — time to push back against maoris in the interests of NZers .

        If maori party threaten to withdraw support — let em go and NZers will fill the votes gap caused by denying maoris their water ownership claim .

        maoris are part of being a NZer , they should not be taking as maoris + taking as NZers — all for one & one for all

        Ditch the Treaty — there was a War after the Treaty in 1860s — time to look at a new deal that is fair to ALL NZers as ONE .

  • BJ

    Disband the Tribunal! 
    All members of Iwi that had grievances are all long dead and gone and if the truth be known, it is highly likely that our current day Maori’s ancestors would have sold whatever they had recouped or retained from the Treaty, last century – because greed and desire for wealth over working an honest, hard physical days work would have seen them part with their lands gladly.As for water – it does not belong with the lands of this country – just think about the water cycle – it evaporates up in the sky from land, animals and humans and then condenses to fall as rain out of a cloud that may drop its load to a different place entirely from where it rose from – it is as the air we breathe – owned by no-one.  

    • Whollyghost

      Yep, the hydrological cycle and the mixing effect of atmospheric circulation means that water molecules in New Zealand rivers dating back prior to 1840 are now more than likely to have been evaporated into the atmosphere and are now residing in rivers/lakes in places like Germany, Chile, Uganda, and Canada; in fact, in any country you care to mention. Perhaps these countries need to be warned that the Maoris are about to start claiming their water there. 

  • le sphincter

    Key is a clueless twit sometimes.
    He could have said the Waitangi Tribunal would be given ‘due consideration’ which is parliament speak for  WTF?

    • Hagar

      whats wrong with saying as it is. Clear and precise. no weasel words.

      • Alloytoo

        Absolutely nothing. Which is why he’s PM and not Goff.

    • Pukakidon

       That is because you think Labour –   This means never tell the truth and always avoid the question.   Good on him for saying it as it is.     Refreshing, maybe this is the start of what the rest of the country is thinking in regards to the stupidity of the current ridiculous Treaty claims.  

      • Meg

        No, from a political point of view it was very stupid of him to say it. A great number of people might be cheering him for it (now) but in the long run he could lose the Maori Party over this and cause a new racial rift. 

        Yes it was very “bloke” of him to just blurt it out, but from a political point of view, good leadership POV, it was very very dumb. 

      • patriot

         any racial rift will be caused by maori party — they are trying to threaten NZ if they dont get their own way ….  time to say to Maoris — No way do you own the Water , in the most  forceful way possible . 

         Dont mess around — tell maoris that they will be inciting racial disharmony if they try to claim water as their own  

        Free Water , Rain and Clouds dont belong to maoris — never . But after water has been collected it belongs to the collector .   I get water off my roof into Water tanks — water is mine after i collect it from my roof .

        As the Rain falls freely — it is never going to be maori rain or maori water  —

        Treaty is dead due to the 1860 Wars & no agreement of the 2 versions of the Treaty –  maori NZers are NZers and get water as NZers .

      • Pukakidon

        John Key and National are in Government because of his popularity and honesty.  They were up front in all their policies and therefore have the mandate to continue with the selling of no more than 49% of infrastructure so they can reinvest in more and therefore gain more return.   They are in power due in part by the fact that John Key is honest.  National have not been pig headed, and have made changes to their policy after receiving pressure from the public (teachers a case in point).  I do not see any problem with that because it is part of democracy and its take integrity to change.

        As far as the Maori party are concerned it will be their choice whether or not they come to realise that there are some battles worth fighting for their people and then there are some stupid cases that are best left alone and just undermine everything they have already achieved.  Claiming the water to block the sale of 49% of infrastructure that allows ordinary NZ citizens including the lowest paid (Kiwisaver) to get a return for their retirement is a stupid idea. 

        National is an inclusive party and did not need the Maori party, however including the Maori party is a good move in assisting the Maori people of NZ and the Maori party realise that it is better to be working within to get the best results for their people.   Maori typically dont vote National so it does not matter if they walk away, however it will be their loss.

      • TravisPoulson


        Free Water , Rain and Clouds dont belong to maoris — never . But after water has been collected it belongs to the collector .   I get water off my roof into Water tanks — water is mine after i collect it from my roof .

        “I think this best explains it patriot, nice. Like Cam pissing off to the bush, he doesn’t own the deer in the bush, but what he kills is his. 

        Unfortunately, some people are too stupid/selfish to grasp this concept.

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

       Spinach – Key is not Sheep Shearer who struggles even to say what his name is. Say it as it is. Time for your beer.

  • Bob

    And now we have pretty good proof that the Maori Party (as long as a certain female co-leader is in charge) will never form a Govt with Labour. 

    But she scoffed at Labour’s calls for the Maori Party to walk away from the support arrangement given its record in preventing Maori from going to court on the foreshore and seabed.”Who cares what they say and what they think actually?” ((NZ Herald )

  • Chris

    Ah this entire attack is simply Ad Hominem; thats all Labour can do really. Nothing they ever say makes sense and all they do is apply personal attacks which are always aside the point. They know they are playing this game but they will twist any arm to put a spanner in the works of the asset sales…for which they still haven’t even got a good reason for not letting go ahead.

    Funny that they themselves once sold off assets and they themselves according to this article brushed of the Maori Tribunal claim to oil and gas quite forcibly…but thats Labour for you. They rely on the short memories and general stupidity of the average person to get anywhere.

  • Mr_Blobby

    You nailed that one grumpy.
    Race and religion should have absolutely nothing to do with Politics.
    We are long overdue for a ceremonial dumping of the Maori seats. With 1% support, the raced based Maori party would be consigned to history. Between raced based seats and maori in list seats they have twice the number of MP’s they are entitled to under 1 man 1 vote.
    As for the so called treaty. It was irrelevant 5 minutes after it was signed. It was not a founding document of this nation and should be seen for what it is a historical document of little note. How on earth did it rise from the ashes in the last couple of decades and take on such importance, is beyond me. Scrap it and change Waitangi day to New Zealand Day and be done with it.Labour did change it and National reversed it back.
    Leave the moaning minority to scrap amongst themselves.
    Yes Phar lap. A referendum would settle the question of the treaty once and for all. It would probably be like the smacking referendum at about 90%, but as we know referendum are non binding. We don’t have any Politicians of note in a position to act on it.
    That is why this Government set up their constitutional committee  Loaded up with Maori and sympathizers and a Maori chairman with casting vote, to make sure. What do you think there recommendation will be and how will they sell it to the Majority. Or will they institute it without a vote, much like the treaty process.

  • Bobo

    I’ve had enough of the Maori grevience industry, time to consign the treaty to history and tell the whining pricks to FO. The constant complaining and bitching about ancient history by a select few professional Maori wankers has got to stop, how about they take some of the millions they have already got and help some of their people instead of constantly wanting more and more.