Friday, October 5, 2012

Gerry Eckhoff: Lotus Eaters

Maori claims to fresh water and the Government’s refusal to summarily dismiss the claim surely now means that all publicly owned assets are open to claim and litigation despite 2008 being the cut off point for all claims to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Why should not Maori now claim a free share of all tax revenue – toll roads – rates, down to free parking as they are in partnership with the Crown? Well, why not; if it is true that Maori have a genuine partnership with the crown. I am however unaware of the actual percentage of the so called partnership which was obviously written into the Treaty of Waitangi somewhere. Clause….. ? Is it to be a 50-50 partnership; 70-30 - 90-10%; what is it?

The apathetic condition of most NZers means that a redistribution of 50% of Crown owned assets and their income streams could actually be up for grabs if there is in fact a 50-50 split as some think.

More recently a grouping of academia has emerged in order to increase the supply of unreality. They support the claim of Maori to the right to all natural resources as once upon a time their ancestors also but wrongly claimed ownership of these resources which were and seemingly still are freely available. The basis of these claims of ownership was and is based on the opinion of artificial intelligence within the bureaucracy or perhaps academia is more correct as law lecturer David Round points out.

Such people within academia are given to distil raw and often unpalatable material to such a refined state that the final product is unrecognizable from the original inputs.

The right of first possession to un alienated assets as some Maori claim, depends entirely on what was actually possessed and how it was possessed and retained.  That particular right differs from a use right in water that we all enjoy. What appears to be not understood by Maori is that a right Maori enjoy to water - differs from a right in water. A right to water implies a right to use for their or our traditional purpose whereas a right in water implies a right to absolute ownership. Just as a right to hunt on your own land is absolute; the actual right in the hunted animal is not, as the animal, as with water - is migratory. The claim of ownership therefore is an extremely short one as the adage – here today gone tomorrow implies.

It is entirely regrettable that we non Maori cannot go to our own “Waitangi Tribunal” equivalent to lodge a counter claim to fresh water. Relying on the Government to win the battle for the ownership of water is a bit like asking Baldrick of Blackadder fame to devise a cunning plan to defeat the enemy.  

It is not clear to me just how it can be spiritually offensive for Maori to own and trade water but such spirituality can pass if it has an income attached ie an income from water. The question of where and to whom the income would be distributed is legitimate. One can be forgiven for believing that so far there are those within Maoridom who luxuriate as a result of treaty settlements and where the trickle down to those in desperate need seems yet to manifest itself.

I for one do not deny Maori attachment to water or indeed all natural capital but I do take great exception to their belief that I as a non Maori cannot have the same or even enhanced awareness – use rights and cultural attachment to and of the natural world.

To put it as politely as possible: That is just natural bull shit.


John Scott said...

You are so right. Why shouldn't Maori claim anything and everything including the assets developed by Pakeha in the last 150 years. They already get a cut from the fishing licences for trout a species introduced to NZ by pakeha. Why shouldn't they own all of the fresh water and perhaps the fresh air we breathe. Mind you the water issue would probably not have eventuated if this government had not embarked on a plan of selling public infrastructural assets.

Ray S said...

Gerry, Gerry, you are far, far too polite with your last paragraph. Because this is a public forum, I will not write what you perhaps you should have said there.
I fear the present government will continue with pandering to maori elite and yes, at the expense of the rest of New Zealand (including the lower echelons of maoridom).
John Scott said "the water issue would probably not have eventuated if this government had not embarked on a plan of selling public infrastructural assets"
I think maori would have eventually got around to a claim for water and all other "natural" things. Why wouldn't they, keeps lawyers employed, (paid for by taxpayers) and there is an excellent chance of success.!

Kiwiwit said...

I think it is only a matter of time before Maori start claiming a right to our wives and daughters, much in the same way that Scottish lords used to assert their Droit du Seigneur. My guess is that Chris Finlayson will rush to accommodate them.