Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mike Butler: Deal divides Blenheim community

A High Court ruling a week ago over Blenheim land that was compulsorily purchased by the government under the Public Works Act from a settler family that is to be sold to a tribe as part of a treaty settlement shows how the treaty settlements process divides a community.

The Fairhall family who began farming in Woodbourne in 1885 had a large part of their land taken to build RNZAF Base Woodbourne in 1939, and another part in 1947.

The Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill would transfer ownership of Woodbourne air base to Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia, and Rangitane o Wairau. The Fairhall family told the Maori Affairs select committee in August last year that it opposed the inclusion of this land in treaty settlements as they considered this would over-ride their rights under section 40 the Public Works Act 1981.

Under the proposed settlement, the Government can sell to the Kurahaupo iwi parts of Base Woodbourne that were still required for defence purposes, including the 1947 land, and then have the iwi lease it back to the Defence Force.

Family spokesman Tim Fairhall, Wellington, said: "We realised at the time that while the select committee made really nice noises to us, and said we had a serious matter to sort out, they were going to take advice from officials - the same people we've been talking to for the past four years and getting nowhere."

The Government was disputing the family had a valid claim to the land, Mr Fairhall said. But the Government did recognise its prior ownership of land in that area because it had offered the family part of the golf course under the Public Works Act in 2010 when that land was declared surplus.

But on February 21, 2014, High Court judge Lowell Goddard rejected the Fairhall family's request to remove the Woodbourne land from a Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Marlborough tribes, saying the land taken in 1947 is needed and therefore not eligible for "offer-back" to its original owners.

Under 1981 changes to the Public Works Act, only the immediate successors to George Fairhall would be eligible to have section 40 offer-back rights under the Act.

Judge Goddard also said that to accept the claim would be to challenge Parliament, which was beyond the court's jurisdiction.

In the judgement, the court accepted the Crown's position that, while the applicants may be successors of beneficiaries of George Fairhall's estate under the law of estates and succession, they are not "successors" for the purposes of section 40 of the Act, because the beneficiaries are no longer alive.

"Had the land become surplus to the Crown's requirements during their lifetime, they would have been entitled to a s40 offer-back. The Crown's case is, however, that the applicants are generationally removed from such entitlement and are not eligible for offer-back, as they are the successors of beneficiaries for whom entitlement did not crystallise during their lifetime," Judge Goddard said.

It appears the Fairhall family are between a rock and a hard place. The High Court judge says that to interpret the law otherwise would be going beyond the court’s jurisdiction, and Parliament’s Maori Affairs select committee won’t respond.

The Waitangi Tribunal sympathises with Maori complaints about compulsory purchases under the Public Works Act. There is no Waitangi Tribunal for the Fairhall family.

Judge rules that family not eligible for land, Marlborough Express, February 25, 2014.
Family taking land claim to court, Marlborough Express, February 3, 2014.


paul scott said...

grrrrh, anger, time to act

Anonymous said...

The land is needed ? Seems a strange way to approach the answer.It is obvious that it is needed, the question to be addressed is whether it goes to the Fairhalls.
Is there nothing in case law ? A precedent?

Cpt747 said...

..what a regular event this is...the Treaty grievance industry, perpetuated and encouraged by the 'neo-Nazi' low-life Traitors.. guess who ?..c.finlayson/key. When is this gigantic con-job on all the people of New Zealand to be stopped..? in practical terms the "Treaty" rubbish is already in our constitution...NZ is well established on the highway of racial discrimination , hatred, social disruption , poverty (plenty of this ) and civil strife...When New Zealanders awake to their total loss of Democracy and then discovering that 'slavery..' to the privileged maori- elite is established already, with the continuous Waitangi settlements ...there will be NO prisoners taken ..when this hits the streets....WAKE UP NEW ZEALAND...NOW...

Barry said...

Cpt747 is right.

I think that the least key and finlayson should get for their treason is life in jail and have all of their assets (including the ones in family trusts) liquidated and the proceeds distributed to taxpayers.

Solitary, one meagre meal a day, no exercise time, no shower, no library, nothing to read, no tv, no radio, no computer, no visitors, etc.

Cpt747 said...

..good comments Barry...perfect punishment for these two 'low-lifes' of NZ politics...have forwarded our comments with Mike Butlers Blog' to the 'neo Nazi ' traitors we speak about... All New Zealanders must be informed of this ..Democracy Destruction.. that is well under way.....

Anonymous said...

is it a coincidence that the judge is part Maori?

Dave said...

Agree with Barry , but also add on compulsory; waiata every morning, endless cultural safety seminars, the treaty according to Hone, and learning Te Reo.
That's what a lot of ordinary Kiwis have to endure every day. Couldn't think of a more fitting punishment.

Peter Pearson said...

To use Judge Goddard's premise, the current members of the three iwi, while they may be 'successors' they are 'generationally removed' from the original iwi members, so do not qualify for compensation. That sounds logical to me.

digby said...

Judge Goodards comments that that the beneficiaries are not successors as the benificiaries are no longer alive should this not also apply to the Maori they want to give the land to as they are generations removed and the land would have been paid for by the Fairhalls and should be returned to their desendants.

K M Findlay said...

All Government assets should not be sold but be given to a private trust for the benefit of all New Zealanders to use without any user charges. Politicians cannot be trusted with the important stuff.

Anonymous said...

One would think at least one of these learned lawyers and judges would have noticed that the land was not taken under the Public Works Act 1981, but under legislation that preceded it.

A strong argument can be made that the offer-back provisions which rightly apply to the subject land are those which prevailed at the time of the taking.

Auntie Podes said...

This is totally ludicrous! Maori bleat on about alleged wrongs done to them literally decades ago. The Waitangi tribunal allows all sorts of contrived claims to be made - provided it is made by somebody who "feels" Maori.

But what about whitey? He loses his claim after just ONE GENERATION!

First disgraced yet still ennobled "Sir" Doug - now unelected Maori servant Finlayson, with Key's stupid grin as sanction, have and continue selling us down the drain.

Anonymous said...

The main problem I have with treaty settlements is that they are announced after they have been approved. I believe that the public needs to know what happens in the treaty process, so any proposals can be debated publicly before any decisions are made. I just hate getting fait accompli decisions shoved down our throats. I am sure that the current system of telling us about what's been given away is simply to keep the Maori party on National's side. I hope that the next election will be won by National without the need for the Maori Party's vote, and that the new government will be able to discuss matters concerning proposals for reparations to the Maoris that are transparent and that they are publicised and debated - before decisions are made. The current system is totally undemocratic.

Peter van der Stam, Napier said...