O’Sullivan writes a speech John Key should give

Fran O’Sullivan has used her column today to write a speech that John Key should give:

Mr Speaker, I rise today in this House to introduce legislation to vest all natural resources – water, geothermal steam, airwaves, aquifers and, for the avoidance of doubt, all minerals, ironsands, magma, rare earth deposits, coal, lignite, methane and uranium in this country and the exclusive economic zone that surrounds our shores – in a new Crown entity representing the combined interests of all the people of New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, my Government considers natural resources like water, geothermal steam, and the aquifers that underpin our rich agricultural plains to be public goods that are part of the common wealth of all New Zealanders.

For the avoidance of doubt – and I know many in this Parliament today will regard this as fanciful – the legislation will also extinguish any “rights and interests” that Maori might claim now and into the future to the commercial use of solar power, the wind, the tides, the navigational properties of the stars and the moon. This will also include the magma and lava flows which have enriched our soils over the centuries and will do so again in coming volcanic explosions.

She goes on…

Mr Speaker, there are some in this House that believe the global financial crisis is over. They do not understand that the United States has embarked on a third wave of quantitative easing – or printing money. I have strong concerns that the US is at the edge of a financial cliff. I am also concerned that China – the powerhouse of our neighbourhood – is having to embark on another multi-billion-dollar infrastructure spend to keep domestic growth moving. And that our nearest neighbour, Australia, is slowing down.

That slowdown is also affecting New Zealand as the wave of redundancies in export-sighted industries continues.

Mr Speaker, these are the issues that cry out for the burning attention of my Government.

But I am disappointed that trifling and vexatious claims are now being advanced at the very time we wish to deal with the major water issue.

For the avoidance of doubt, let me say my Government will strongly resist the claim filed by Ngapuhi seeking commercial rights over the wind.


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  • Bob

    What that woman said.

  • Souvlaki

    If ONLY he would !! Don’t believe however he has the testicular fortitude, but I hope to be proven wrong.

  • jabba

    Fran is a very smart woman

  • Alex

    But doesn’t this all create a dilemma?

    If all the national resources are the common wealth of all New Zealanders, so not able to be removed from that common wealth, then can’t it be validly argued that, therefore, SOEs should also be regarded as the common wealth?

    Or is there a valid distinction?

    I’m just raising this issue because it seems to me that there is a natural tension between the Statist philosophy of the solution suggested by Fran Sullivan, and the small-State philosophy supposedly driving the share floats.

    If so, could this not just play quite nicely into the Leftists hands (including Winston Peters) who will say “yes agree that the natural resources are the common wealth, and so too are SOEs”.

    • OneTrack

      Ah no. If you actually read what she said, instead of what you wanted to read, she said “natural resources”, not “national resources”.

      yes, there is a valid distinction.

      • Alex

        What is this distinction? Don’t just assert it, or say “because Fran said natural resources not national resources”.

        But whatever your basis, the more important point of my post — and what you over looked — is that the Left will likely seek to expand any such legislation to cover SOEs.

        The more I think of it, Fran’s solution is really just Helen Clark’s foreshore and seabed Act writ large. It will be exploited by certain Maori politicians to tell their supporters, “there you go, pakeha politicians stealing your resources again, like they did with the foreshore”. And does National really want that on its hands?

        In any event, now I’ve read more detailed reports of what happened at the Hui, other iwi do not share the “King’s” view and want to negotiate their water rights with the government individually. So I’m now more relaxed about this all.

        • Goldie

          What are these unique water rights that Maori possess? If Maori claim ownership, then that right must be derived from something. Historically Maori claimed rights to land by virtue of conquest and continuous use – if Maori failed to “keep the fires burning” or where driven off by force, they lost those rights. So Maori customary rights to things are well established. This was a critical part of the Crown case in foreshore and seabed – that Maori rights to the foreshore and seabed couldn’t actually meet tests under Maori custom anyway (the Courts view was that this was probably right and that it would be almost impossible for Maori to make a customary claim to foreshore or seabed that could be recognised let alone any right approaching ownership, but that Maori had the right to make a claim, even if remote and unlikely, to the Courts).
          So how were these rights to water derived? I fail to see any claim by conquest or by continuous use. I suggest that Maori claims to water are actually just some grifters who can sense an opportunity to shakedown the government for some more money.

          • Alex

            You may well be right. But you can’t make sweeping judgments, since the common law requires a case by case determination. Tuhoe managed to prove common law rights to a lake way back in 1948. Whether the other iwi can remains to be seen.

            But if you pass legislation abrogating any rights they might have, then it will be interpreted by as suggesting that there were rights in the first place. This is what happened when Clark ballsed the foreshore legislation up. The Court of Appeal, while suggesting Maori rights to the foreshore may not have been extinguished, also remarked that it would likely be very difficult for Maori to establish such rights given the passage of time. Clark’s legislation created the myth amongst many Maori that they did have rights to the foreshore, and that the Act had taken them away.

            The root of the problem is this myth that the Treaty has created legally enforceable rights. It did no such thing. Any rights need to be established at common law by the courts, applying legal precedent and examining proven evidence — and not by the Waitangi Tribunal.

          • GregM

            I have always supported Tuhoe independance.They never signed the treaty. Given that, why have the taxpayer just forked out $170 million to a party that wasn’t a party to start with..
            How about someone says “fuck off. you lost”

          • Alex

            Well I’d like, and I’d think most people would like, to entertain the possibility that this country was founded on more enlightened basis that “we won, you lost”. After all, it is the source of some national pride, that we don’t have hideous history that Australia or the Spanish colonies have towards their native populations.

            But the historian in me wonders if this is just naive given that probably every country was ultimately founded due to one people dominating and subjugating other groups of people.

            The rot started with the 4th Labour government inserting into legislation the words “act consistently with the Treaty of Waitangi”. National should have promptly repealed that when it returned to power in 1990.

            In my view, any granting of rights, resources and compensation should be based either one of two things:

            (1) due to a court judgment that the Crown had violated common law rights of Maori (which were preserved when the Crown took sovereignty in 1840 by operation of English common law), or

            (2) because iwi can use the rights, resources and money to improve their members’ well-being and address the appalling statistics.

            If the latter, the iwi should be audited to see whether they are achieving improving iwi statistics. If not, then cut the funding off.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Where do I sign up.

  • David

    Bloody shame Neville Key has the fortitude of a jellyfish and could never get close to saying this.

  • Bill Barnsley

    Before everybody gets all misty eyed by Fran and her admittedly brilliant column let us not forget that she had information that would have stopped labour winning in 2005. She lacked the onions to publish and we were subject to another three years in the reign of terror. A period that saw Cullen spend as much as he could and leave us dangerously under done to face the GFC storm.

    • Jman

      More details please?

  • Meg

    Key will never do such a thing. He needs the Maori Party too much. Without them he is screwed and so will give them almost anything they want.

    Just watch, very soon Key will cave and meet with more tribes/iwi than he has said he would. Soon after he will meet the Maori King. A deal will be done for special shares, rights, protection etc… and hey presto done.

    • GregM

      I actually agree with you on this one Meg. I can see it coming too.

    • pukakidon

      Have to agree also Meg

    • Matt

      I disagree. JK is smart enough to know that if the MP bring down the govt over this he will win a landslide in the resultant election so there is no reason at all for him to give in.