Former National leader Don Brash sounds a warning to his old party.
Brash warns National could face provincial revolt over water
Former National Party leader Don Brash says the party could hand NZ First a powerful election campaign if it gives Maori preferential access in fresh-water reform.
New details of the Crown's negotiations with the Iwi Leaders Group over fresh-water reform, emerged on Sunday, with signs the Government is moving towards "catchment by catchment" negotiated at a regional -government level, that could grant iwi preferential access.
Brash said the Crown appeared to be trying to stop the issue becoming a national one by passing responsibility to regional government, but he believed there was growing anger among the public at preferential deals for Maori.....
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Not all tribal leaders are happy with the process. Ngapuhi leader Ian Rankin calls it like it is "nothing but corporate greed".
Iwi leaders’ water claim “nothing but corporate greed” says Ngapuhi academic David Rankin
As iwi leaders from around the country meet to discuss claiming commercial rights to all the country’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs, dams and any other fresh water, Ngapuhi academic David Rankin has questioned their motives.
Mr Rankin, who is currently undertaking a PhD on traditional property rights, points out that prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, Maori never owned water. And even after Europeans arrived, Maori never owned water. He says that there is no cultural basis or historical precedent for the claim. Neither is water Treaty right according to him “Water is not mentioned in the Treaty once. ‘Taonga’ are mentioned, but these are not property rights. A ‘taonga’ traditionally was something that could be acquired at the point of a spear. Try doing that with water”, he says.
Mr Rankin believes that the attempts by iwi leaders to grab hold of water rights is just a case of opportunism. He sees a pattern emerging where if Maori leaders thump their fists long enough about a resource, they will acquire it. He points to the foreshore and seabed, Auckland’s mountains, some national parks, mining rights, forestry rights, and radio frequencies as examples.
“Tribal trusts boards are not about Maori, they use the iwi names as a front for their commercial ventures. The average Maori receives as much benefit from them as the average European: none,” says Mr Rankin. “As proof of this, even though iwi now measure their wealth in the billions of dollars, Maori are poorer now than at any other time in living memory”.
Tomorrow the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance and Democracy Action are standing alongside the Taxpayers’ Union which is presenting a briefing paper on the issue of so-called ‘Taniwha Tax’ provisions in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. This tax is a prime example of how the power of local government is being used to undermine private property rights, the bedrock of democracy. It is morally wrong and had been introduced by Auckland Council without consultation or transparency. Here is an extract from the foreward of the briefing paper.
“Our work is to shine some democratic light onto what has happened. Most of the organisations quoted or supporting this report, would agree Auckland iwi have a special place in the region’s planning process, but are concerned the Auckland Council has imposed an uncertain and clumsy regime. The organisations have all expressed concerns that the Council has failed to include elementary safeguards to protect owners, the integrity of the planning process, or the public interest in secular equality before the law.”