Water: The debate between ownership and rights
Fri, 20 Jul 2012 6:13p.m.
By Tova O’Brien
The 'O' word – ‘ownership’ – has been painted a dirty word by Crown lawyers at the final day of the Waitangi Tribunal hearing over Maori water rights.
Politicians and the media were blamed for using the term, but there seems to be no simple alternative.
The Crown says the term is an irrelevant distraction and the issue is about rights, not ownership.
“Their argument is semantic and I have to say the tribunal doesn't seem to be buying it,” says Green MP David Clendon.
But the tribunal has a tough job on its hands - the court operates between two languages and there's not always an easy translation for terms.
One of those terms is kaitiakitanga. Kaitiakitanga sits at the core of Maori rights – it is hard to define and different iwi have different ideas about exactly what it means.
“[It’s] to control, to care and protect, and that is the Maori version of ownership,” says Maanu Paul, the Maori Council co-chairman.
But arguably the person who has used the 'O' word the most over last two weeks is Prime Minister John Key.
“We just do not believe anyone owns water,” he has said.
By the end of the month we'll hear what the tribunal thinks.
“We'll just sit back, await their report now and go through the process of responding to that report in due course,” says Mr Key.
The Maori Council has called this hearing the "fast and furious" first phase of what could be a far longer, far more intensive process.
For now, though, it's just about stalling the sale of Mighty River, but if phase two does go ahead expect a full deconstruction of every point and argument raised over the last two weeks.
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25/08/2012 2:50:26 p.m.
Selling of assets is a short term fix to a long term problem. As any accountant will tell you the money generated will only fix immediate problems. About time everyone in this country acknowledges the maori as the rightful custodians of this country instead of bleeding them dry and taking advantage of them and slagging them off. I am pre maori my heritage dates over 16000 years in Aotearoa I am not Moriori but tahawai. Allrights are reserved by the original inhabitants of this land as stated under the treaty of waitangi and kaupap of maori. My ancestors didnt die and bleed for this land, to end up to be dictated to by some foreign entity. Lets take it to the high court and get a permanent solution to all maori greviences and reinstate the treaty of waitangi in all its glory and constitutional law that every person in Aotearoa can live by even immigrants. Maori kaupapa as a law can incorporate all, its what being a whanau is all about.
22/07/2012 10:18:44 a.m.
Labour are scum wrote:
We need to stop the gravey train and the excessive welfare in this country - as promoted by Labour. We need to mine for minerals, coal and oil and get the econmomy going. Key is doing the best job - but all those loony 'minorities' like like the Greenies and 'anti-everything' brigade hold NZ back. Shearer is proving to be truly pathetic and he shows no drive or intelligence - all the left ever do is moan and they have no alternatives whatsoever to get the economy going.
22/07/2012 10:15:19 a.m.
If it's a choice between Maori owning the water or John Key owning it (or selling it to his mates), Maori have my vote every time. At least they care for it and have a connection to it whereas John Key just looks at it in terms of $$$. The obsession with money is what is ruining this country and stripping it of everything that made it a great place to live and bring up a family.
22/07/2012 9:04:41 a.m.
perhaps you should educate yourself wiseacre it was not key that brought up water ownership, it was the maori council and a certain greedy tribe. Key was doing his job and replying to their racist crap. there is no opposition to the partial float of teh assets, hardly anyone goes out and protests. and on election day the public spoke about what they wanted when they destroyed the party against the partial float and voted in with the biggest win under MMP national. silly communists like you should educate yourself.
22/07/2012 12:03:06 a.m.
The Maori has the right of way to their treasures and nothing anyone can say and this has nothing to do with Racisum..The Maori are not alone in this world but to Self Governs will makes the diffenences to the Tangata Whenuas and Treasures..GET REAL MIKE' bare in mind that we all pay water rates and power bills, and who owns them, drinking water bottles selling in stores worldwide and who owns them' the ghost who walks MIKE?..
21/07/2012 11:29:07 p.m.
I'm with you Mike. This is all about greedy radicals who's only aim is rip the tax payers of New Zealand off for hundreds of millions. These fundamentalist are breeding racial tension with their constant phoney claims for that benefit no one but themselves. And they gee up the lay maori and lunatic liberals to go on marches for their own selve serving aims. The 85% of the rest of the country should have there own protest march against these parasitic radicals who use the word 'Racist' with great skill to stiffle any real and just debate.
21/07/2012 8:34:23 a.m.
The real word is this is all about is the 'R' word Racism which aims to give on racial grounds one group ownership/rights above all other NZ'rs in NZ by depriving/charging for water.Or maybe its all the 'D' word for Dollar, as they want money out of this.The treaty was a document that gave Maori rights as british subjects, and they also lost with the treaty too - as with any contract both parties lose and gain. Pre-treaty Maori sold NZ over 2x and the treaty put a stop to this ongoing re-sale of NZ by Maori by putting all land deals in crown hands. It also stopped land buyers suppling guns to Maori for land and put aside almost all the earlier land sales.With the treaty signing, ownership of water adopted British law, that nobody owned water. This means nobody owns it so they can't charge/deprive others rights to water. This water claim is a breach of the treaty intended to charge/deprive water rights of others to make money for a few elitist racists and will not benefit Maori in general.
21/07/2012 7:39:37 a.m.
The constant braying by John Key about water *ownership* was always about making absurd generalisations in order to dumb down the discussion into manageable soundbites that inflame racial tensions but ignore the real issues.
John Key has shrewdly - some might say opportunistically - managed to steer the debate from a loud and unequivocal opposition to the selling of our strategic assets into a much more muddied debate over Maori rights, provoking racial division within the community. John Key is gambling that anti-Maori sentiment within the community is stronger than the opposition to asset sales.
Typical conservative strategy. Keep the voters ignorant, create division within the electorate, and play to their baser instincts - fear and selfishness.
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