Two Victoria University academics are reported as claiming that three bottom lines - outlined in a Cabinet paper on water in May 2016 - breaches the Treaty of Waitangi. The three options are: “nobody owns freshwater”; “no national settlement favouring iwi/hapu over other uses”; and “Allocation determined catchment by catchment based on resource availability, efficiency of use, good industry practice and a positive contribution to regional economic development”.
Their claims are blatantly false.
Their claims are blatantly false.
There is much activity within New Zealand by people making false claims about the treaty and seeking to pervert its meaning by ignoring the evidence of its day and the meanings of its words. It is of paramount importance now and henceforth that these people be discredited. Despite the claims of Geoffrey Palmer and others, the Treaty is a succinct and straightforward document.
There is only one Treaty, in the Ngapuhi dialect of the Maori language of the day. It was translated by the Williams, father and son, from Hobson's final draft of 4th February. It has three articles.
By the first, the chiefs ceded sovereignty completely and for ever to the Queen. In consequence, all Maoris became British subjects.
By the third all Maoris were granted the same rights as the people of England – no less but no more – a magnificent gift not bestowed on native peoples elsewhere.
The second article (excepting a statement concerning the sale of Maori land inserted for their protection) guaranteed the possession of their land and property to the chiefs, families and all the people of New Zealand. Unequivocally, all the people were guaranteed the same rights whoever they were. This article was actually redundant since the third article implied it.
Nowhere within the treaty do the words "Aotearoa" and "iwi" occur. Neither was in common usage if at all.
One of the academics, Maria Bargh, is reported as saying "water is owned in Aotearoa. It is owned by Maori according to tikanga Maori." First note her flawed use of the anachronistic word "Aotearoa" which shows her lack of objectivity. Second, whatever "tikanga Maori" may have been it was superseded for ever by the transfer of sovereignty and from that point, English common law as administered in New South Wales applied – New Zealand initially being an extension of that colony.
Bargh then makes the unsubstantiated claim that even under common law, the statement that nobody owns water is a gross oversimplification.
Then she quotes the Waitangi Tribunal assertion that there are Maori "proprietary rights in water". It is abundantly clear that this tribunal is profoundly corrupt, invariably supporting tribal claimants, its "finding" that Ngapuhi never ceded sovereignty being just one example of a blatant falsehood which flies in the face of the evidence. Its opinion on water is worthless and damaging.
Then she quotes a 2013 Supreme Court ruling to support her claim. However, rulings of this court are far from sound. There are other rulings of courts in New Zealand which demonstrate incompetence or flagrant bias or both. The Court of Appeal 2003 decision in the foreshore and seabed case is a glaring example which ignores precedent and practice.
Parliament, as New Zealand's paramount court must assert its precedence and correct these flawed abuses of justice.
She then goes on to deny the commonsense and practicality of water management by catchment, the sound practice of the superseded catchment boards, in favour of "hapu and iwi". This is a barefaced and indeed racist claim for special privileges for certain unconstitutional pressure groups within the country.
In short, Bargh and her associate, Carwyn Jones, who is not quoted, have fabricated a story to support a conclusion they want to reach, a blatant example of racism which must be peremptorily dismissed.