Water rights debate will cost millions
Thu, 09 Aug 2012 6:22p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
The fight over our waterways does not come cheap, with the Maori Council saying its legal bills over water rights could run into the millions.
That is the equivalent of a high-profile murder trial, and the scrapping at the Waitangi Tribunal is all being funded by the taxpayer.
Prime Minister John Key says it is a legitimate use of taxpayer money.
“Yes, I think it’s appropriate that the Government pays its fair share to allow justice to be held and aired in the public domain,” he says.
So far that fair share has covered $225,704.62 claimed by the Maori Council in legal aid. The Crown has spent a total of $489,471.22 so far.
Maori Council lawyer Felix Geiringer says it will only get more expensive once the dispute heads to court.
“Wait till we get to court, you have seen nothing yet,” says Mr Geiringer.
But Mr Key says this is how the system works.
“All we try and do is provide a fair system that's fair. We would get accused of bad faith if we didn't allow and provide financial support for Maori to test their rights,” says Mr Key.
But Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the costs are proof that the Government is wasting millions selling the assets that two-thirds of New Zealanders still do not want sold.
This is probably a drop in the water compared to what is to come.
The Maori Council has made it clear it will head to the highest court in the land if it has to in a bid to stop asset sales, meaning taxpayers are likely to fork out millions of dollars more to lawyers before the fight is settled.
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19/09/2012 12:12:53 p.m.
can anyone tell me what use of water has ever been denied to maori to use as a "treasure" as they say,and why now suddenly does their "treasure"have a cash value.water is a gift from GOD are maori trying to replace him?
16/09/2012 3:47:42 p.m.
Brian Morris wrote:
Let's not be naive. Selling power stations and coal mines is only the beginning of a slippery slope.
Look at Greece. They have 39 airports, 850 sea ports, state railways and energy companies up for sale and they're getting NO BIDS. Potential buyers are holding back, waiting for the price to drop. Which it will as Greece gets more desperate.
Italy is offering its offshore islands, castles, beaches (yes whole strips of their coastline), lighthouses and art treasures for sale. So far, no buyers. Same reason.
Sorry, George Clooney bought Villa L'Oleandra on Lake Como as his holiday bach.
Spain is selling its state lottery. Lotteries always make money, so why sell it?
The port of Dublin is for sale. That would give China a base in Europe.
Britain is selling its air traffic control system. Will Richard Branson buy that, and give Virgin Airlines priority landings and takeoffs?
When NZ sells a 49% portion, the rest will follow eventually.
This is like saying "I'm only 49% pregnant and I'm stopping right there." No, you can't stop once you start the journey.
Soon we won't just have Maori water rights and claims, we will have foreign owners' rights and claims on everything we sell a portion of.
Beijing will be tough bargainers because they've got the cash and a 1000 year business plan.
We think in 3 year cycles. How pathetic. Time to re-think BEFORE the horse has bolted.
27/08/2012 9:00:47 a.m.
@MOERA. It wont even cover consultancy and court costs.
12/08/2012 10:42:38 a.m.
I can't understand why Key wants to sell S.O.A in the first place. Why is he so adamant about a 'QUICK' sale? What's in it for Key and the National Party? Especially when majority of NZders are against the sales. This court case is going to cripple NZ, I wonder if Key has thought about that? With the policies Keys parliament have already put in place will see NZ slowly been Americanised. I do hope that NZ will wake up and realise that this national govt will sell us out.
10/08/2012 3:00:54 p.m.
reduce debt for assets...lolhow about the 'libor rate scandal'are we that stupid?
10/08/2012 10:10:29 a.m.
This is govt's fault. There wasn't an issue until John Key thought he could make a few bucks by getting smart. Now he's in the brown stuff looking stupid and costing taxpayer money. What a fool.
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