Friday, November 30, 2012

Karl du Fresne: Shafted by their own council

So this is what it has come to. The Kapiti Coast District Council, according to today's Dominion Post, has identified 40 "sacred" Maori sites on which owners will not be allowed to subdivide, alter existing buildings, or disturb the land.

As I write this, I'm fervently hoping the citizens of the Kapiti Coast will be laying siege to the council offices and that the mayor, the councillors and the council functionaries (who I suspect are the real villains of the piece, because that's usually the case) will be cowering in terror in a basement panic room.

If not, they certainly should be. But it won't happen, because the populace has become so desensitised to this type of attack on their rights that they have become utterly supine.

According to the Dominion Post, letters were sent to affected Kapiti property owners last month giving them four weeks' notice that the historic status of the "wahi tapu" sites would be included in the new district plan, which takes effect this week.

Landowners appear to have been taken by surprise. One said the letter came out of the blue.

If I correctly interpret  a statement by Waikane Community Board chairman Michael Scott, details of sites deemed to be tapu have already been entered on land information memorandums (LIMs) and titles. In other words, property values have potentially been undermined even before owners have had a chance to react.

Affected owners will be able to make submissions on the proposal until March 1, but it looks suspiciously like a fait accompli. After all, it's far easier for a council to defend something that has already been imposed than to convince people beforehand that it's fair, reasonable and necessary. The council bureaucrats will probably count on a high proportion of owners, weakened and demoralised by decades of increasingly brazen encroachments on their rights and freedoms, rolling over and passively accepting it. And they will probably be right.

Now, how did this come about? Well, from what the Dominion Post tells us, the council commissioned three local iwi to look at possible sites of historic interest to them on the Kapiti Coast.

They came up with a list of 400, which has been whittled down to 40 for inclusion in the proposed district plan.

What evidence was required to establish the validity of the iwis' claims? That's not clear, but I'm hoping someone on the Kapiti Coast will have the gumption to file an offical information request demanding to know.

One property owner is quoted as saying Maori researchers believed a pa site and an urupa (burial ground) may have been on his land. But the property had been in European ownership and farmed since 1830, and previous owners had never mentioned a pa site.

The owner is now prevented from carrying out earthworks, modifying existing buildings or subdividing. Just like that.

According to Michael Scott, who is a lawyer, the restrictions mean owners will not be able to dig a hole and put a swimming pool in. A farmer will be allowed to graze stock, but not disturb the land surface.

Does this mean, I wonder, that a property owner will have to pay koha to the local iwi for the right to plant lettuce and tomato plants? I'm not being entirely flippant, because given the now-routine ritual subservience to Maori claims, which can delay a highway construction project because of concerns that a taniwha might be disturbed, anything is possible.

The most obvious objection to what the KCDC is proposing is that it's a flagrant violation of  property rights - in other words, the right to determine what to do with one's own assets and possessions. Tragically, this fundamental right has already been so circumscribed that most people have given up trying to defend it. (It says a lot about the architects of our Bill of Rights Act, passed by a Labour government in 1990, that  reference to property rights was omitted.) 

But even more alarming is the casual acceptance by the Kapiti council that certain people who define themselves as Maori should have the power to determine what other people do with their land - in other words, the conferring of special privilege on the basis of race. Twenty years ago such a proposition would have rightly been regarded as outrageous. But this is the logical and inevitable outcome of a pernicious policy of biculturalism under which people's rights and privileges are determined by the extent to which they can claim, however tenuously, Maori ancestry. 

We don't know who these iwi representatives are or on what basis they determined that certain pieces of land are sacred and inviolable. They are not elected and not accountable for the consequences of anything they recommend. It's power without responsibility, the antithesis of democracy.

The real villains, however, are not the local iwi (after all, it's human nature to avail oneself of any special treatment offered) but those in the Kapiti council who have orchestrated this abuse of power. They are elected, paid and entrusted by the hapless citizens of Kapiti to ensure their interests are protected and their rights respected, but choose instead to shaft them.

And the worst part about it is that Kapiti represents, in microcosm, what is happening all over New Zealand on a grand scale.


Anonymous said...

Gosh. This is so outrageous that I find it hard to believe. You're right. This is an issue about property rights and there is increasing evidence that these are becoming compromised. The veto on the sale of shareholders' shares in Auckland Airport, the breakup of Telecom and the huge cut in the shareholders' value, the Crafar Farms, the list goes on. How to stop the rot? John Ansell is probably one place to start but paradoxically if Maori really can show a property right (rather than just the Waitangi Tribunal simply decreeing one) then they should be entitled to hold and dispose of property like anyone else. This is a deeply worrying issue. Where does one look for optimism about it?

Anonymous said...

Comment Karl du Fresne: Shafted by their own council.
Kapiti is an outright threat, not only to the ratepayers of that area but a grave threat to the principal of “Individual Freedom of Title”. This according to some Maori has never existed in pre European times, and furthermore if they achieve the power they are vying for, will disappear in a Maori dominated New Zealand (Or whatever they decide to call this land).
It is quite obvious that since Councils were re-invented , firstly by the Lange’s Government in the early 1980’s and in 2002, they have assumed that their powers are unlimited with, it seems very little regard to what they were originally designed to do. That is the provision of core services by a utility; and not the promotion or extension of huge sports complexes, together with the entertainment scenario we have just witnessed that which is estimated to cost the Wellington Ratepayers over one million dollars.
The rather simplistic notion by members of the council that this will benefit the citizens in the “long run” has never been borne out in a reduction of rates!!!
Rather amazing was the spectacle of the Prime Minister hobbiting around at this function especially after the recent passing of a Local Government Bill limiting this sort of wastage of ratepayers and taxpayers money. Still it is always good copy for the next election.
Instead we have now Councils acting as a new type of Gestapo, demanding how we live, where we live, and what we are allowed to do, especially when it concerns anything to do with Maori; a sort of racial privilege granted to them by Councillors obsessed with a craven image of themselves prostate at the altar of Maoridom.
What indeed this will lead too, is a total nightmare of racial abuse and intolerance; whereby those outside the Maori domain become mere serfs, ordained to ask annually for pardons for so called past colonial injustices.
Yes Councils are the real villains, but right with them are our so-called Members of Parliament aiding and abetting......have we a real chance of survival outside of Revolution???

Wayne said...

This is yet another example of NZ democracy being whittled away by Government, Councils, and other governmental bodies. Unless New Zealanders stand up and scream it will undermine many of our rights.

Ray S said...

To stop this same BS from happening right around the country, we will have to do a lot more than stand up and scream I fear. Perhaps that time is getting very close.
I hear the idiots and racists in power are looking to increase the term of government. Just think what damage Findlayson could do to the country with the extra time. Still, would the other lot be any different, probably not.

barry said...

I blame john key, that traitor to NZ. On his first morning as prime minister he could have knocked all of the part-maori preferences and all of the other part-maori garbage on the head. Instead, what he's doing is making them all worse every day

Anonymous said...

This appears to be standard karl du fresne nonsense. this is no different than an historic places listing or anything else a council may put on a land site. However, because it is Maori it results in a large number of mindless comments. Do we see the same outrage over council protection of historic trees, heritage buildings, view shafts, water run-offs, public noise etc?

Dave Hill said...

Agree with Barry John Key is a traitor who's actions or rather non actions to appease the less than 2% of people who voted for the Maori party has consigned this country to years of racist misery that has progressed so far its hard seeing any one even with the will to make the changes necessary. We are the laughing stock of the south pacific as once were South Africa when there was also a racist government.
Key when he loses the next election will leave NZ and take his millions with him most likely to some nice PC job at the UN. Its sad what NZ has become, a spineless PC obsessed racist country dictated to by corrupt people with a little Maori blood and their white money grabbing lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Property rights are NOT the real issue!
They are only the result of the imposition of a another religious/spiritual belief/culture onto others ON THEIR OWN Property

During the passing of the Tainui settlement shortly before the 2008 election,( which very unusually was voted against by the National party) Gerry Brownlee complained that the settlement bill wrote Maori spiritual beliefs into law.

Since then National have gone much much further.
I expected this sort of thing to emerge during this summer or at least next summer as Maori wardens with their new powers, to order ordinary kiwis off the waahi tapu sites up and down the coastline.

Why some dickhead in the Kapiti Council has invited iwi to name their wahi tapu sites (which only they can define) beats me.
Unlike the MCA legistlation I don't think it's Law.

The point is freedom to practice your religion on your own property or church DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ENFORCE YOUR BELIEFS ONTO OTHERS . . . .ANYWHERE!

What is needed is to establish that New Zealand is a


darkhorse said...

why doesn't someone give s85 a good lokling at a rule isn't meant to have the effect of a designation

If some property needs to be removed from any reasonable use for the public benefit it is meant o be acquired through the public works act/designation process. That is why there are no compensation provisions in the RMA they are elsewhere - no one seems to have considered this in the respect of issues such as the one being discussed here

85Compensation not payable in respect of controls on land
(1)An interest in land shall be deemed not to be taken or injuriously affected by reason of any provision in a plan unless otherwise provided for in this Act.
(2)Notwithstanding subsection (1), any person having an interest in land to which any provision or proposed provision of a plan or proposed plan applies, and who considers that the provision or proposed provision would render that interest in land incapable of reasonable use, may challenge that provision or proposed provision on those grounds—
(a)in a submission made under Part 1 of Schedule 1 in respect of a proposed plan or change to a plan; or
(b)in an application to change a plan made under clause 21 of Schedule 1.
(3)Where, having regard to Part 3 (including the effect of section 9(3)) and the effect of subsection (1), the Environment Court determines that a provision or proposed provision of a plan or a proposed plan renders any land incapable of reasonable use, and places an unfair and unreasonable burden on any person having an interest in the land, the court, on application by any such person to change a plan made under clause 21 of Schedule 1, may—
(a)in the case of a plan or proposed plan (other than a regional coastal plan), direct the local authority to modify, delete, or replace the provision; and
(b)in the case of a regional coastal plan, report its findings to the applicant, the regional council concerned, and the Minister of Conservation, which report may include a direction to the regional council to modify, delete, or replace the provision.
(4)Any direction given or report made under subsection (3) shall have effect under this Act as if it were made or given under clause 15 of Schedule 1.
(5)In subsections (2) and (3), a provision of a plan or proposed plan does not include a designation or a heritage order or a requirement for a designation or heritage order.
(6)In subsections (2) and (3), the term reasonable use, in relation to any land, includes the use or potential use of the land for any activity whose actual or potential effects on any aspect of the environment or on any person other than the applicant would not be significant.