Water claim could provoke anger - scholar
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 12:29p.m.
By Janika ter Ellen
John Key says the Government's asset sales plans won't be held up by a Maori water rights claim being heard by the Waitangi Tribunal.
But the legal challenge could deter investors when the assets are floated.
The foreshore and seabed debate saw Maori mobilising in their thousands.
Now, economist and treaty scholar Brian Easton believes a claim to the water used in state-owned power companies could provoke a similar reaction.
“If the Government were to ignore those property rights, then I think there could well be the same sort of anger as occurred with the foreshore, that is they would see the Government has privatised them.”
New Zealand historian Paul Moon says time is of the essence in this case.
“The anxiety among the claimants is that if they don't get the issue addressed now, once anything falls into private ownership it falls outside the scope of the tribunal.”
But the power of the tribunal is limited and Prime Minister John Key says the challenge won't stop the asset sales.
The Maori party doesn't like that response - it was formed when the Government legislated against Maori ownership of the foreshore and seabed.
But Mr Key denies the issue is causing tension.
“They're not tense. This has been an ongoing, longstanding debate. This is not new to my Government. There have been previous other claims that Maori own the water.”
But this claim and the threat of future action through the high court could do damage to the power companies' share price when they're floated.”
Mr Easton says the issue is confusing.
“Any ambiguity, particularly a legal ambiguity of this sort, where people will be reluctant to pay for an asset - they're not quite sure what will happen to it.”
The Government may include a clause which would compensate investors for any future claims, but that would see taxpayers face ongoing risk and potential costs.
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11/07/2012 12:05:04 a.m.
@mel when you buy water from the supermarket your not buying the water you are paying for the bottle, the filtering and stuff cost not the h2o it self. No one owns the water because the water comes from the sky from all parts of the world, seas, rivers, lakes and so on. For one people to say they own the water would mean they would have to stop rain clouds coming from outside nz, or that would be theft. And for Maori to say they own the water is aloud of crap, humans are made up of 70% water so does that mean Maori own all the people too or would we all have to give that back to them. Everybody on earth has the right to water, doesn't matter what colour your skin is. This has nothing to do with stopping John keys its all about Maori want the 49% shares.
There are a few things that could happen.
1 taxs go up coz the sale doesn't go through ( to make up the money nz needs)
2 Maori get the right to own the water, then power prices go up to pay for the water that goes through the turbines.
3 Maori get the right to water the govt sells 100% of the power stations.
4 govt says stuff you all and shuts the stations down all together. How long would it be before we would be begging for it back?
10/07/2012 6:28:20 p.m.
If water isnt owned by anyone. Why do pakeha sell it in supermarkets? Does that mean that pakeha own it?
10/07/2012 2:47:07 p.m.
'David' stop being a moron. National won the electionso move on .They have a mandate - period. Labour lost bid time. Natiopnal want to get the economy going, the left want to hold it back.
10/07/2012 2:23:34 p.m.
All about $$$ wrote:
I am not Maori, but to press ahead regardless when there are unresolved issues shows arrogance and insensitivity. Is this not the sort of attitude that created grievances in years gone by? Surely govts should have learnt by now to do things carefully when Maori interests are involved... but John Key presses on regardless.
10/07/2012 2:20:08 p.m.
Water and air surley are not owned by anyone?
The move and can be here one day Aussie the next so sorry dont buy into that one
10/07/2012 1:17:23 p.m.
David Barnes wrote:
To sell any asset one has to prove ownership,the government is only an administrator and owns nothing, so for mr key and his government to even offer for sale our assets paid for by our taxes means this sale is illegal.if he really believes he has the power thru a mandate to sell then he would welcome a fully binding referendum,as we all know this won't happen,and yet were constantly told were in a democratic country and our concerns count.Lets have a high court case and determine who actully owns assets,if its us then the serious fraud office needs to be involved and the people who voted for asset sales need to be before a judge for acts of treason against the people.
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