John Roughan - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

11 Feb 2012

John Roughan - Asshole of the Week

The debate concerning the partial privatisation of our state owned assets is starting to heat up, with propaganda and a lack of objective opinion being all too apparent in the MSM.

But just when it looked inevitable that National would disregard the majority of Kiwi's who don't want asset sales, a document the rightwing would prefer we all ignored is set to wake them up from their free market stupor.

Last Tuesday, The Dominion Post reported:

The Maori Council says it is prepared to take the Government to court if it does not act in good faith over its Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

The Council will also today lodge two claims to the Waitangi Tribunal over the Government's plans to partially sell the state-owned enterprises, including one relating to rights for the water used by the companies.


Mr Key said he did not expect the Council's actions would delay things.

No one owned the water in New Zealand, people had rights to use it, but did not own it, he said.

"There'll be endless debates about usage rights, and they'll certainly claims it's taonga (treasured) and it's been a long-standing debate."

John Key is really showing how ignorant he is of the founding document of our nation. Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi states:

The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the sub-tribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise (7) of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures (8). But on the other hand the Chiefs of the Confederation and all the Chiefs will sell (9) land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.

8 "Treasures": "taonga". As submissions to the Waitangi Tribunal concerning the Maori language have made clear, "taonga" refers to all dimensions of a tribal group's estate, material and non-material heirlooms and wahi tapu (sacred places), ancestral lore and whakapapa (genealogies), etc.

Māori consider water to be a taonga and sacred, and it is therefore included under the Treaty of Waitangi. There is no question that Article 2 defines and includes all New Zealand's water resources, which unless legitimately sold to the crown or its appointees, still belong to Māori. The fact that this ownership has not been formally recognised by the crown is irrelevant to that fact.

That's why it's disappointing to see the spin John Roughan is trying to put on the debate. Today the ignoramus made some shit up to try and paint those opposed to asset sales in a bad light, also arguing that ignoring our founding document is somehow justified.

The old hack writes:

Lands, forests, fisheries and treasured things were expressly in the Maori sphere. Government and good order were entrusted to the Crown. Cooke stressed that the obligation to act "reasonably and in good faith" was reciprocal. It applied no less to Maori than the Government.

Is it "reasonable" of them to ask that Meridian, Genesis, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy should continue to be bound by an obligation on the Crown to observe Treaty principles? I think so; the Crown will remain their major shareholder.

Is it reasonable that those companies might be obliged to consider Maori interests if they ever want to change the flow of rivers or drown land? I think so.
On the Maori side, is it acting "reasonably and in good faith" to invoke the Treaty simply to oppose partial asset sales? I don't think so.

Obviously Roughan doesn't think very much at all.

The Treaty doesn't need to be "invoked" because it's already incorporated into legislation... you don't need to invoke it for it to be in effect. The problem is that the government of the day is trying to usurp the legally binding document and is therefore acting unreasonably and in bad faith.

Whether or not people disagree with the partial privatisation of our state owned assets is not particularly significant in terms of the Treaty of Waitangi either... in my opinion the bad faith shown by National in trying to disregard our founding document is of more significance.

There's also no relevance as to the government supposedly retaining a majority share in terms of the Treaty because Māori have not rescinded their rights. There is no scope within the Treaty to allow places sacred to Māori (which includes all waters) to be sold off if the Crown retains a certain percentage.

Although the principles of the Treaty should not place unreasonable restrictions on the Crown to follow policy, the government must act reasonably in formulating its legislation in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi... they cannot simply ignore it like National is trying to do.

That's where John Key has gone horribly wrong... National have arrogantly formulated policy without properly considering existing legislation that binds the crown to act in accordance with the founding document of New Zealand, which assuredly takes precedence over any badly formulated legislation.

The Waitangi Tribunal has outlined a number of Treaty Principles (PDF) including:

If the Crown is to avoid acting in breach of the Treaty or Treaty principles it must recognise that its power to govern is constrained in important ways by its Treaty obligation to respect and give effect to the critically important guarantee of Maori rangatiratanga in terms of article 2.

There is no question that National will lose any legal battle concerning this issue, because it has already been ruled on before:

It was recognised by Justice Somers in New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General [1987] 1 NZLR 641 (CA) at page 693 that a breach of the Treaty must be a breach of the principles of the Treaty. This raises the question of whether the Crown can ever be justified, when exercising its right to govern in terms of article 1, in doing so in a way which is inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to Maori under article 2.

I suspect John Roughan actually knows that National's insane privatisation plan is long term economic suicide, but is choosing to ignore the facts of the matter because it suits his selfishness. What an asshole!

As long as people like Roughan believe they can make a short term profit at New Zealand's expense, we will continue to get manipulative articles that are written with the comprehension level of your average drunkard.