Keys assurance to the Maori party means nothing | The Jackal

19 Jul 2012

Keys assurance to the Maori party means nothing

Today, TVNZ reported:

On the face of it last night's meeting looked like a pretty good outcome for both the Prime Minister and the Maori Party.

For John Key, he was able to look strong in the eyes of his supporters by not apologising for his comments around the Tribunal, while his offering to Maori of an undertaking not to legislate over water rights and interests was also pretty savvy.

The Government has always had a position of recognising that Maori do have rights and interests in water - as opposed to ownership.

So in my view it was not actually a huge step at all for the government to take to give that undertaking not to legislate.

The Government's big concern has always been around potential Maori court action stopping or delaying the asset sales.

And its always been pretty confident that Maori issues around rights and interests of water can be resolved (and shown to be resolved) separately through other mechanisms like Treaty claims and individual dealings with hapu and iwi.

Actually no Corin Dann... The apparent backdown by the Maori party just shows that their initial outrage at Key saying the government might ignore the Waitangi Tribunal is nothing but hot air. In my opinion they simply played the issue to gain media attention, which might be acceptable as a political tactic, but it's not acceptable to the vast majority of Maori.

In effect the so called Maori party condone the insult to the mana of the Waitangi Tribunal, and because they're cowards who are bribed by the baubles of office, the Maori party will accept an assurance from a conman that isn't even written down... It is therefore meaningless.

Despite his and Corin Dann's semantics, there's little legal definition between rights and ownership... Somebody who has sole rights over property is legally the owner of that property, and vice versa. To disregard that universal truth undermines much of what Western society was founded upon.

This entire debacle makes Key look foolish! Firstly he states that nobody owns water, when in fact the Treaty of Waitangi imparted sole sovereignty to Maori over their respective territories, which obviously include water. Maori have proprietary rights over water because it is legally assessable, something that the government over this issue has been at pains to ignore.

Keys assurance to the Maori party that National will not legislate away any rights to water is patently false and has been used to score a cheap hit on the previous Labour government.

Firstly a ruling that Maori have sole rights over water would effectively halt asset sales, and if Key wants his economically unproven plan to progress, he would have no choice but to legislate against the founding document of New Zealand. Secondly Key has already signalled that he won't listen to any legal ruling that could impact on his precious asset sales. Thirdly the redneck National supporters don't care about a false promise to a political party they want to destroy and Key would make more political ground by playing the race card again and legislating against Maori rights over water. We've learnt from many previous examples that his word means nothing.

This all boils down to another lose lose scenario for Maori, especially with such kūpapa representing their interests in government. As usual a few of the Maori elite might prosper, but at the end of the day the general Maori population will still be disenfranchised.

The reason Maori have not previously exercised their rights over water is because it was being used for the common good. Asset sales will largely annul this socially responsible position, and ensure that only a small number of people will benefit at the expense of the vast majority. Therefore it's in the best interests of Maori, (and the general public) for the Moari Council to undertake legal action to ensure the rights of Maori are upheld for the common good.