About the Author

Avatar photo

Dr Muriel Newman

The Consequences of Judicial Activism

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on

Ronald Davison

Two highly regarded New Zealanders who have made a significant contribution to public affairs in this country have recently passed away.

Hon George Gair, the former Cabinet Minister, North Shore Mayor, and high commissioner to London, who died last week aged 88, was a strong supporter of the NZCPR, providing an insightful Guest Commentary last year on the thorny issue of constitutional reform. Acknowledging his competence and good manners, Prime Minister John Key said, “George made a significant contribution to the National Party, to parliament and to the community”.

Sir Ronald Davison, New Zealand’s former Chief Justice and head of the Wine Box enquiry, died last month aged 94. In his tribute to Sir Ronald, this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Judge Anthony Willy, acknowledges the high standards he set for himself, compared to those who indulge in the dangerous business of judicial activism:

“Sir Ronald Davison was appointed Chief Justice of New Zealand on the 3rd February 1978. It is in that office he made his greatest, but largely unsung public contribution. Unsung because he did not seek publicity or succumb to the temptation to set the world to rights which more and more seems to afflict appointments to the senior judiciary around the common law world.

“Sir Ronald understood that the role of the judge although important is a humble one to be performed in accordance with the oath taken on appointment which requires all judges to ‘do right by all manner of persons without fear or favour, affection or ill will.’ In a rule of law country such as we enjoy, ‘right’ means to apply the law. What it does not mean is to grant judges a licence to apply such vague notions of ‘justice’ which from time to time the judge may find attractive, or chiming with his or her social conscience. We call it judicial activism today and it is a blot on civil society around the common law world.

“Informed members of the public look askance at such decisions as the American Supreme Court in the recent case of Obergefel v Hodges which by a majority of 5 to 4 happily redefined the institution of marriage to apply to same sex couples not because the Constitution requires, or probably even allows it, but because it is a trendy and popular thing to do. Similarly with the High Court of Australia inventing constitutional rights for the Aboriginal peoples of Australia which are to be found nowhere in the Federal Constitution. Or closer to home judgments from our Supreme Court disregarding long established legal principles to fashion rights for Maori people to ownership of fresh water resources.”

Judicial activism is indeed a serious problem in New Zealand.

In 2003, the Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias caused a constitutional crisis by overturning the established common law principle of Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed through a Court of Appeal ruling in the Ngati Apa case that some customary title in the foreshore and seabed may still exist and that the Maori Land Court had the jurisdiction to determine such cases.

The finding resulted in a flood of claims for the coastline, some out to the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone limit, forcing the Labour government to legislate. Their passing of the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act led to a fracturing of Labour and the formation of the Maori Party. Under their influence, National repealed the new law, passing the controversial Marine and Coastal Area Act, which enables iwi big-business corporations to privatise the foreshore and seabed.

The most recent case of judicial activism by the Chief Justice is just as controversial, since it potentially involves the ownership of freshwater.

The case relates to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Paki v The Attorney-General, which questioned the long standing precedent of Crown ownership of navigable river beds, by inviting tribal interests to test in the Maori Land Court whether customary rights to waterways may still exist.

This ruling is having a profound impact. Anxious to avoid the constitutional crisis that followed the Supreme Court’s foreshore and seabed decision, the government is working with Iwi Leaders to facilitate tribal control of New Zealand’s freshwater management – without alarming the public.

Their strategy, which was revealed last month in an interview on TV3’s current affairs programme The Nation, is worth repeating in some detail.

Patrick Gower asked Ngai Tahu’s Mark Solomon, the co-chair of the Iwi Leaders’ Freshwater Group, about the state of negotiations over fresh water:

Solomon: We’re at the level of where we’re working with the government to set a framework of how the rights and interests of iwi can be settled around water.

Gower: The courts have agreed that iwi have rights and interests in water?

Solomon: Yes.

Gower: The Government agrees that iwi have rights and interests in water?

Solomon: Yes. Yes.

Gower: But we don’t know how those rights and interests are defined…

Solomon: No.

Gower: …so how do you define them?

Solomon: Well, first of all, I’d say what the rights and interests give us is a right to have an input into the governance, the management and the monitoring of the river systems of New Zealand. We want access to water for our maraes, we want access to water for our communities, and we want access to water in an equitable manner so that we can bring our lands into the economy of New Zealand.

Gower: But let’s look at allocation in general, because at the moment farmers can get a consent for water. Power companies can get a consent to use water. Water-bottling companies can get a consent to use water.

Solomon: Yes.

Gower: They all get it for free once they use that, but you want a system where water is allocated and, I guess, as part of that, iwi get a permanent allocation. Is that right?

Solomon: We’re saying that we want a right to access – equitable access – for water for our lands. Yes, we are.

Gower: Because there is a concern among Pakeha that this will all lead to a price being put on water, this will lead to Maori making money off water or farmers having to pay for water. Can you assuage those concerns?

Solomon: Yes, I can. Last year we did around 60 consultation hui across the country. One of the questions we put at each hui – is this an issue of money? Is this about cash payout? The answer from every hui, ‘Absolutely not. It’s got nothing to do with a cash payout on water.’

Gower: So how would your permanent input over rivers work? Would you sit alongside councils

Solomon: Yes, in a relationship with the council. I mean, if you look at water as an example, water comes under 13 different statutes and 20 different government agencies deal with it. Each one of them has a different reporting mechanism, a different way of dealing with things. Part of what we would like to see if the government rationalise all this into a single organisation and a single framework for water.

Gower: But will we have iwi or hapu on those— around individual rivers or individual catchments or individual lakes, sitting alongside regional council making decisions on how the water from that is used?

Solomon: Well, yes, it is, and part of what we’ve been saying to the Government, ‘Can you work with us?’ and the territorial authorities to put in place a process so that we are at the table, we are having an input into the management.

Gower: So how would that work? Would you sit with the council? Would you have powers?

Solomon: Yes.

Gower: You’d sit alongside councillors?

Solomon: In the decision-making bodies around water, yes.

Gower: But would we see that in other councils? Appointed iwi representatives sitting alongside elected councillors, making decisions on how a waterway is used? Because that’s what it’s sounding like here.

Solomon: It is. We want input into the governance, management of water. I’m unequivocal on that. How it happens and how quick it happens all depends on the different communities. As you know, we had movement in Te Arawa. But we had the exact opposite in New Plymouth.

Gower: Are you afraid, though, that that will happen again with this if you ask for representatives to go alongside council?

Solomon: I think that there is a changing attitude across the country that’s permeating through the nation at the moment. Not every area is like that, and some are quite adamant that they don’t want any input from Maori, but we’re not going away. We’re here. We’ll keep pushing the issue.

Gower: Permanent iwi representation alongside councils, making decisions about water, that will be controversial. Can you get this past a National government?

Solomon: Already in the legislation, there is clauses where councils have to work with iwi. It’s an evolving field.

Without any public consultation whatsoever, local authorities are now doing deals with iwi leaders. Just last month Local Government New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iwi chairs forum to “support and encourage strong relationships and collaboration between councils and Iwi”.

The Gisborne District Council is taking a lead with a new agreement ready to be signed with Ngati Porou, giving the iwi control over the management of freshwater and Resource Management Act processes. Residents and ratepayers have not been consulted.

The government is also encouraging the use of Treaty settlements to introduce permanent iwi representation onto Regional Council committees which control freshwater rights and allocations.

Last week, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill was passed by Parliament, authorising a joint Resource Management Act committee comprising half councillors and half iwi – including 9 iwi representatives from the area.

According to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman, the committee “is our answer to the water boards of the Waikato. There are seven catchment areas in Hawke’s Bay and it seemed incredibly cumbersome to have a water board for each one, considering the number of people involved.”

A second Treaty bill, the Ngaruahine Claims Settlement Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament last week, provides for 8 Taranaki iwi to appoint three iwi representatives with full voting rights to the Regional Council’s policy and planning committee and three to the regulatory committee.

This is in spite of the overwhelming opposition of the people of the Taranaki Region to separate Maori representation on local authorities.

The Bill is now open for submissions.

In response to these two bills, Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said “It’s heartening to see iwi take up the opportunity during their Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations to ensure they do have a greater say in local government. It’s critical that iwi and Maori have influence both in local and central government if we are going to continue to move forward as Treaty partners.”

These developments raise a number of fundamental issues. It is alarming that the government is sanctioning racial representation on local councils without reference to the local community, and in some cases knowing full well that a local community is strongly opposed. Does this mean that iwi demands are now more important than the rights of other New Zealanders? Do New Zealanders no longer have a say on Maori representation on local councils?

It is also alarming that the government appears to have conceded management rights of freshwater to iwi – again without being fully transparent to other New Zealanders. Do we not have a say on this matter?


Do agree with iwi representatives being appointed onto Regional Councils to manage and control freshwater?

Vote x 120

 *Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


No, not acceptable. John
In our democracy, Maori must be prepared to stand & be voted onto Regional Councils, like all others. Then their actions can be judged alongside other members. Don
Another step towards apartheid. Kevin
This is not an area that should be regulated by independent councils or communities. There should be one overriding body to oversee water for NZ and set appropriate rules & regulations. Shane
Given it’s current trajectory, this country will descend into civil war. Perhaps that is the plan? Bring in the UN “peacekeepers”, disarm the populace and assimilate NZ fully into the global government structure. Robert
No appointments to councils.  Elected members only. That is democracy. We certainly do not want appointments of those who are economical with the truth, are inclined to fabricate details and are in it for their own power and financial gain. Terry
From reading most of the comments on here it enforces my belief and most maori that you people crying foul over the special treatment given to us maori are sadly lacking in knowledge of the history of this country.There lack of knowledge and arrogance is exceeded only by there ignorance and lack of respect for the indigenous people of Aotearoa. The answer to your problem is simple..if you dont like living here Go back to where you Immigrated from. Us maori never invited you here you are here by the grace of the settler government the King of Englands agents who we agreed in a contract with the king that his subgects could settle here and set up a governing body for HIS SUBGECTS to govern THEM but also to protect our lands treasures and customs because the new immigrants were of QUESTIONABLE character..2peoples 1country..1 new zealand 1 peoples..Get the f..k outa here we invite you to share our house and you have the Audacity to try take over our house .make us live under your house rules. make us like you.NO NO NO!! go back to where you come from and take your I country 1people b******t with you..and SHUT THE EFFN door behind ya!! Anon
Why don’t these radical Maori want to be New Zealanders? Selwyn
No Racially based laws in New Zealand!!!!! Bryan
The crown should be the only entity controlling & managing fresh water. If we are appointing Iwi why do we not just appoint councillors & Members of parliament do away with elections all together. We are heading down a very slippery slope indeed. Tracy
Only New Zealanders. Barry
We keep on about what they are doing in trying to control our country. What we have to do is find a way to stop them! Bill
Utterly horrible idea. Democracy dies. Murray
Absolutely not, like councillors they kneed to be elected by the people. Clark
Absolutely not. No more of this Treaty rubbish. Norm
Idiotic policy. Alan
Any representatives must be elected by all the people in the area on the election roll. Definitively no appointments. Carroll
We enter an age of ‘unenlightenment.’ Dame Sian Elias is causing great racial eructions. I hope her tenure as Chief Justice or her demise is imminent. Perhaps it is time for Winston Peters to takeover the PrimeMinistership from John Key because he is becoming a liability with his incessant bowing to the Maori Party and his apartheid policies. He no longer stands for all New Zealanders. Monica
No! never. Who wants a racist say on anything. We are a democracy where everyone has equal say. Only our Governments seem to prefer maoris and give them extras in everything they have control of. Eric
We must NOT allow iwi representatives to be appointed to any Council position. They must stand for election like any other person and work to win enough votes for a place on Council. John Key and the National Party have been taken in by the Maori Party. From what I read Andrew Little and the Labour Party have also been conned by maori. Who can we vote for that will bring one law for all to New Zealand? Ernest
Properly elected only people – enough of this nonsense. Stuart
Stop the rot NOW! Alan
What’s next the air we breath Kiwis are getting screwed by the Maori Elite is there an end in sight I doubt it abolish Maori seats in central and local government. Ken
All council representatives should be elercted by the people irrespective of race. We should be one people having equal rights. Keith
Apartheid in control. This government is out of control on matters of Maori interest quite often through Ministers who have strong conflicts of interest in such matters. John
Our so=called democratic government is showing its stupidity again. Do they ever consider consequences? Judith
Absolutely not. Laurie
We have to look at the bigger picture here and this extends far beyond NZ ‘s borders. Worldwide we see increasing problems with the acssessability and supply of freshwater. Banking giants everywhere have accumulated huge war chests of money to invest and secure their control into the worlds remaining water supplies. Stocks of companies involved in water treatment and supply are rising in value all the time. Maori bosses are not oblivious to these developments and this is the main driving factor behind their efforts to establish and maintain control over NZ’s water resources. Water( in the forseeable future) will be more valuable than oil or even precious metals!!The TOW is a convinient tool to drive this agenda.The one who controls the water controls the nation. The appeasers in our Govt are either utterly oblivious about what is happening in the real world or they have been generously rewarded in secrecy for letting them gain more and more control over the rest of us.  I only can say this to you all: As long as people go and keep on voting for the politicians and their associated parties who are ( intentionally or otherwise) taking part in these sinister schemes against us nothing will change and democracy will continue to deteriorate in this country. What is going on here is treason on a massive scale. Michael
The appointment process is merely a prelude to Government by Dictatorship. To use this process of gaining access to managing and controlling in Local Government, is an method now being used frequently in this country, on the grounds that it gives representation to minor groups. It counters the democratic one person one vote process which has taken centuries to establish, and marks a return to a form of tribalism. Brian
Remember John Key’s comment about ” hikois from hell”. That sums it up. This Government and those that went before it do not have the cajones to say NO to iwi. The only way the citizens of this country are going to stop this nonsense is for binding referendum to be made part of the law of New Zealand. The political party that has this in their party manifesto and is prepared to take on the IWI power grab will garner a great deal of support. Winston has a lot to say about these rorts so what about doing more than just talking about Winston? Make it part of your manifesto and even I will vote for you. This system has worked very well for the Swiss for 150 years. If it’s good enough for them then it is good enough for New Zealand. Ronmac
Its just another form of racism…perfectly ok though if you if you call yourself a Maori. Brian
It is not democratic. John
Maori representatives should not be part of any Local or Central Government Council unless they are appointed by the NZ electoral process. If they are good enough then they will be voted in, If this National Government lets this happen, then they will be voted out at the next election and be out for ever, this is how the people are thinking John Key. Athol
I believe in democracy, based on ‘One Person, One Vote’ from all across our Kiwi constituency. This garbage coming from Soloman and Co is NOT DEMOCRACY. James
Another example of persons and lobby groups obtaining a free ride onto so-called democratically elected bodies. I guess “list MPs” have set the precedent. What a sham on both counts. Gary
What’s happened to rthe one people – one country statements? James
Absolutely NO…Iwi have too much say and interference I our lives already…it’s GOT TO STOP. Audrey
No. Soil and water are our country’s most vital natural assets and it is ludicrous that Maori (15% of the population, and ever more diluted as time rolls on), think there is any case for them to manage our country’s water. Thanks Muriel for alerting re this very disturbing item and the question has to be asked – are our national media so pathetic and cowardly that none of them will publicise this important matter? Peter
I want democracy, having unelected racists on councils is not democratic. Stevo
Unless they are voted onto councils they should never be involed with what rate payers pay/use water for. Richard
Is NZ a democracy, or a tribal conflict zone? Seems to be the latter…..but the wave just gets bigger, there is no stopping it. Hone
Noone owns the water, it was here long before Maori. Another greedy grab. Lynn
Nor should Iwi be appointed unless under democratic vote for their services. Rodney
This has and should have nothing to do with IWI , the water belongs to all of us as a nation , any more of this IWI rubbish and you will find newzealanders beginning to leave NZ again. Roy
When are we going to learn to say no to this gravy train system that has developed since Doug Graham opened the door!! Con
Kiwi, not iwi.. Eddie
I was under the illusion that we live in a democracy!!? Findlayson hasto go! Jim
One law for all. If you want on the council, get on the ballot. Bill
I am of the view that Maori have no claim to NZ other than to vote every 3 yrs. National needs to go but will labour just continue with the same plan. Like the rest of NZer’s they are immigrants,no more or less than the people currently arriving by boat in Europe.. Grant
We supposedly live in a democracy of one person one vote. All Maori have the same right to vote for the regional councils as do other NZer,s. They should never, as a race, get preferential treatment on regional councils or anywhere else. Richard
Djonkey must be as thick as a post and totally devoid of any knowledge of history except of what he’s been told by his maori party mates.It’s a fair bet that he has never done or commissioned any real research on the treaty, it’s meaning at the time it was signed and it’s observance since then by EACH party. Clearly it was often breaches by the maori which led to the so-called breaches by the Crown. There is certainly absolutely no basis for other than elected representatives to have any say in government (national or local) and in particular with reference to the allocation and control of public resources. Alan
Another example of how those Iwi representatives can cleverly conjure up so called treaty promises or ideals, to their own advantage. The way this outfit is heading we will all be wishing that we had done something more positive about it in the not too distant future as well as putting some positive restraints on those responsible for allowing all this to happen! Bruce
Someone has to stop this madness!! Who can we trust to stand up for us.. the REST of NZers?!.. Pepper
This apartheid system that the morally bankrupt National Party is implementing purely to retain power with the Maori vote, should have been recognised prior to the last election. PLEASE wake up N.Zrs & vote for parties that promote one law for all at the next election. Don’t believe the con-men who tell you your vote is wasted unless it goes to the 2 major parties. The reverse is true. A.G.R.
The govt.is appeasing maoris to remain in power. Charles
I don’t agree with anyone being appointed to any Council. Councillors are elected. There can be people with specialist knowledge to give advice but not with voting powers. I note that Mr Solomon says it isn’t about money but watch this space. Mike
Another money making rort for iwi over the rest other New Zealanders this government wants a right kick in the arse for secret deals again. Digby
it is symptomatic of weak government and pandering to minority racist groups that undermines the rights of all citizens. It seems a never ending circus. Peter
Not full control to manage and control freshwater. David
The democratic process is to be elected. When will Iwi realize that we are all New Zealanders! Peter
WE already have the Government to do this work and do not require another level of interest and another cost. Warren
Definitely no!!! Water is a god given right and NO unelected person or group should have a say in its management delivery or use other than councils duly elected by the people. The same applies to non elected Maori reps on councils. NO,NO,NO!!! Peter
In this PC non-racist era, why do one get the feeling that the government is practicing reverse racism? Ursula
Absolutely not. Members of any representative board MUST be voted on democratically by the community regardless of race,colour of your skin, religious beliefs etc. Derek
We must have one law for all. Douglas
Represenatives should be appionted on ability not race. John
In a democracy you cannot have some people having a multiple input into the decision making process each person has one vote only. Gerhard
Most definitely NOT. If iwi want representation on councils, they should seek election. If enough people support them, they’ll get elected. (and vice-versa) Geoffrey
No way everyone owns the water the ewi has just to much say in how the country is run we have a elected gov. to do this for us. Peter
Article 3 of Treaty – Maori shall have the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England. no more no less. Gwen
Time to end undemocratic separatism. Freshwater is a free and universal gift for everybody. Peter
Just another stupid claim from these mixed race people. To hopeless to get elected to councils, so they want to be appointed! Give them a short answer! Brian
Water is the right of ALL people and should not be owned or “managed” by any one based on race. Stewart
They should be treated like all other citizens and no special treatments. David
As i have said in the past the MAORI thing is out of control . Look at Solomon , you wouldnt even know he is a Maori unless he told you as with most of the Maori leaders. When will this stupid Maori thing end? Jock
Its undemocratic and the National Government knows it but this is one way it can do so and keep the Maori party vote. Barry
Maori can have input on water issues but absolutely no voting rights. Water like air belongs to everybody. Jim
It is time Maori gave up trying to live off the unearned income of progress.. David
This has got to be stopped, the thin edge of the wedge is leading NZ to hell. Neville
They never gove up do they. Definately not. Graeme
Definitely, no. Monty
No! – yet another outworking of the partnership myth and a slap in the face to all other NZ’ers who still believe (mistakenly it seems) that we are a democratic nation, all equal under the Law. Scott
We all have a right to freshwater and it should be under council control. This BS MUST stop and if these half castes want to be Councillors, get voted on to council like the other 87 percent of U.S. First thing is get rid of list MP Finlayson and the so called treaty., of which there was no mention of “principles” or “partnerships”. Carolyn
It has the same affect as privatising the supply of water. Bryan
Another disgrace, but we really do need to blame our dirty lowlife politicians for the mess we find ourselves in, Key and his traitorous mate Whinlayson should be held accountable for running this beautiful country that the white man has built into the ground. Maori are taking the piss and laughing all the way to the bank with money straight out of the tax payers pocket, given under false pretences and bullshyte make it up as we go stories that are never questioned or ratified. WHY? Stevo
Just more racism by Key and tribes. Bruce
NO! NO! NO! NO! These RACIST AVARICIOUS MOARI NAZI need to F**K OFF, because they are definitely NOT WELCOME here. One New Zealand! One People! One Nation! No more RACIST MOARI APARTHEID! Mark
Never, never.  We are meant to be ONE !!!. Mark
Absobloodylutely NOT. Tony
Absolutely not..!! Peter
Water is a “gift” not to be controlled by any one person or Council. Water belongs to us all. Elayne
Provided there are checks and balances to prevent meetings from becoming acrimonious and just a slanging fest as so often happens when there is deep feeling involved. The needs of the whole population of the country need to be addressed not just one sector alone. Laurel
This there no one or way to stop this undermining of democracy in NZ, and the introduction of apartheid? Gary
Again we are seeing this mantra of treaty partners. They are not partners to the crown. They are citizens of New Zealand. No racial group should have any preferential treatment. If Maori want representation on councils. Stand get voted in on merit. Robert
HELL NO! Gordon
For the first time I will not vote national. If this is what some judges are doing we need a major judicial reform. Judges role should be limited to applying the law not making it. Lulu
Get rid of Findlayson. A very dangerous man. Jim
What ever happened to democracy? Maddi
There should be no place in a democracy for raced based representation on any local or national body. The sooner New Zealand becomes one people the better. Graeme
Let the Maori do what every other Kiwi has to do, if one wishes to get onto an elected board, then stand in an election. Sam
Emphatically no. John
Every thing is getting more and more RACIAL MOTIVATED and people trying to get their greedy hands on things and money. This could lead to the SWANSOG! Theodorus
The evils of MMP are becoming more apparent as each day passes. We must return to a truly democratic system as soon as is possible. Robert
Our local governments are elected. No one is appointed as that is undemocratic. Gimme, gimme, gimme, here we go again. Last week it was another claim to Auckland,which was full and final settlement ages ago. This week it’s gimme the water. No one owns water! We don’t want Maoris appointed to councils where they want a majority to vote down the elected majority. Soloman says no it’s not so we can charge everybody else to use it, but you can bet that as soon as Maoris got control the charges would go in. They cannot be trusted. It’s gimme again, just like the third and fourth final settlement. Chris
Absolutely not. What really annoys me is that Maori are now classed as partners with the Crown. This is absolute rubbish but these weak-kneed bloody politicians are too scared , for some reason or other, to put these Maori in their place. N.Z. is such a great place but it is being run by a bunch of idiots. Mike
Equality Bob
Absolutley un Democratic. Richard
What is our government thinking about? Robin
Only if legally elected to council do they have right to speak. If not elected shut up. Johan
No more apartheid. Colin
This is more racism – favouring one race over others. It used to be called Apartheid, and many New Zealanders (including Maori) were radically opposed to it. John
Let democracy rule not Iwi. Forbes
The benefit to Maori of European Civilisation and culture has been enormous and gets no recognition in current negotiations. John
Of course it’s about the money…they wouldn’t be interested, otherwise. Grant
No bloody way, another cop out by National. Fraser
Enough of this racism that masquerades as democracy. The water belongs to everybody and a committee should be set up which is answerable to everybody, just like our government! Kevan
Race based policy should not exist! Stuart
NO, NO, NO – a thousand times NO. From a once democratic country New Zealand is now, what I call, a Democratic Dictatorship, ruled by a minority who can “pull strings “. Nobody re race, culture, religion is any more important than anyone else in this global world. We all eat, drink and pooh the same way. God help us all. Fiona
Hell no. Sheena
If we’re ever to be ONE people – New Zealanders – we have to be able to bury the sort of rationale that so often results in trying to make this sort of utter garbage seem either workable or acceptable. Maori have relentlessly exploited every “Treaty principle rendered” potential, and as our races stand today, we’re further apart than ever. It must stop or we’re all doomed. Jim
Only a complete imbecile would agree, unless there was the opportunity out of it for themselves. John
Absurd. Edward
One law for all apartheid is alive and well in NZ. Kevin
Absolutely Not. Brett
Elected Representatives only. Pamela
No appointee’s every one must be voted onto any board by the whole community. Bruce
No way. Russell
What the hell is this country coming to when we have to vote on whether some somebody else has the right to the most basic necessity of life? Ray
Emphatically NO. What next? Sally
Absolutely not and they are definitely NOT entitled to manage/control/co-govern etc anything any more than anyone else is. It’s the ridiculous appeasing Government and the radical Judges who are enabling this nonsense to gain traction. Actually if it wasn’t so deadly serious it would be totally laughable that the tribes even think they have a chance to be treated separately. What ever happened to ‘we are now one people’ recited as each Chief signed that much reinvented little Treaty. We are New Zealanders and should be treated equally with nothing based on race!! Wake up Sheeple. Helen
When Solomon said they (Maori) wanted to make sure they had water for their marae, communities and their farmers perhaps Gower should have asked, ‘is that because you are not getting water now’? Which they are of course so why the need to be involved? Albie
Racism Continues. Greg
The appointment of anybody anywhere on a racial basis is an abomination. Ron
Another takeover by stealth, has white people voted somewhere to allow rule by black people. David
Absolutely not! Whatever next ??? Ken
How will have the guts to stand up and say “No more!!”? Helen
Creeping fascism at work again. Paul
The maori reps have a far greater appreciation of value of fresh water than has already been demonstrated by generations of european land owners. Paddy
There will be an uprising!! Shane
No way. Fresh water is for all the people not a selected few with brown skin who think they were here first… Graeme
It’s just becoming too much where Maori just want to have equal say in every board/council without being voted to those positions. Enough is enough. John
Absolutely not. Robert
They have equal access and control over the water systems already without special circumstances being applied. The farms they want to develop are beside the rivers and remain undeveloped, that’s not because they cant get water, its bad governance over their land. Barbara
They will eventually asked for payment for the water. Mary
It is well past the time for separatism in this country. The introduction of such like measures represent a retreat to the past not progress to the future. Graeme
This will bring racial division to local government. John
Maoris do not own this country. Jill
.. i.e. not to “control” water resources. Stewart
Why has the Govt allowed this to happen without the public being consulted? Peter
The whole concept is a downright disgrace. Mark Solomon of Ngai Tahu says it is not about money and yet Mighty River Power recently signed an easement whereby the Tuwharetoa granted MRP the right to use the water in the Waikatp River to generate power in return for a secret payment. Grow up New Zealanders, can’t you see what is happening ? Wah
Most emphatically NO! Andrew
Water belongs to everyone not one small select specially priveleged group. All they are after is the money they can make out of it. It is time central Government had the guts to make a decision on this rather than again passing it off to Regional Councils. The same goes for Easter trading hours. Central Government should have the guts to make a decision not allow it to become a real mess through out the country. Rog
The very concept of none elected representatives having a say on National Resources is dictatorial and far from the freedoms of our treasured New Zealand society as you can get. Stop this nonsense NOW! Stewart
This is being done by stealth by this National government -shame!! Roger
Absolutely not, unless they are elected onto council in the same way as anyone else. Anything else amounts to race-based separatism. Dave
We don’t need or want apartheid in NZ. The present Govt. is weak in allowing this to happen. Peter
This is fast approaching “Appartied”. Graeme
Where will it end? Will we next have and iwi place a submission for rights to the rain that fills our rivers, lakes etc? Even though iwi say it is not. I suggest it has a great deal to do with $$$$$$$$$$$ benefits. Arthur
Never. David
If they will wish to be represented on council, they should put their names forward in a general local body election. The majority vote will decide whether or not they become an elected representative. Allan
Not in any shape or form!!! Maurice
This is the thin end of the wedge. Elizabeth
Enough, stop this now. Jon
No, Maori or Iwis have rights over fresh water or in fact salt water or the foreshore in New Zealand. The water falls from the heavens and is for all. If Maori get the power to manage water you mark my words we will be getting charged for it next. They just cannot help themselves. Wayne
I do not agree with this and I believe that the political battle is already lost! Mark
Why do some New Zealanders need additional representation? John
No one group or race should own anything. How can anybody own freshwater, it is stupid. Freshwater should be for everyone! Rhys
Let them be voted on by ALL New Zealanders and not take us to the cleaners as usual. Chris
Everyone on councils should be elected. John
How do we ensure that the public become aware of just what those people that are supposed to represent us are giving away — OUR DEMOCRACTIC RIGHTS. Bryan
Will these spurious claims ever cease, otherwise the gravy train will continue to flow. DEC
How many times does one have to keep saying ENOUGH!! MAGGIE
If they are good enough then they will be voted in by stake holders and no other method should be adopted. Same for all Council and Govt posts. Terry
If Maori seek to be appointed as of right, because they are Maori, absolutely no. However, if they are elected through the normal process, then they should be as welcome as any other valid candidate. Peter
This is becoming a giant let lose by a week kneed Govt when is this situation ever going to end there are very few Maori that would have more than 50% blood line so the majority are more white than brown so that makes them thieving of them selves we are supposed to be one country so why do they not stand for these council seats just like the rest of us why should any one expect to be in these places unless elected. Russell
Transparent racism. Dave
Maori iwi representatives should not be part of any Local or Central Government Council unless they are appointed by the recognised NZ electoral process. Otherwise, by common law we can interpret that all iwi, including Ngati Pakeha, have representation on these Councils. Martin
Will the claims etc ever end now they want Auckland. Richard
This is yet more evidence of APARTHEID being alive and well in NZ. Separatism at it’s worst. Geoff
Has John Key completely lost the plot. I like many others want to live in a country where race is not a determining factor in decision making. Barbara
Goes against every principle of representative democracy. Dangerous precedent! Peter
Maori should not be given any representation on any Councils, local bodies, special bodies, unless they stand for positions, exactly as all New Zealanders are required to do. If they are then elected it is fine, if they are not elected it should be the end of the matter. There should be no representation to Maori as of right. End of story. Treaty settlements should never give Maori joint rights to any NZ resources.e.g river and lake beds, water, minerals, precious metals, water and so on. One man one vote, no privileged and automatic rights! Sack the Minister of Treaty Negoiations, finish all Full & Final settlements as soon as possible and as a Nation let us all move on!!! Frank
No they should stand like any one else to be elected to the Local Council, why is the press not making more of this. Also if the Iwi are so keen to all this they should start paying all the costs of keeping there Couse Brows in Prison they want to take all but give none back, so let them pay. Geoff
Over my dead body. Don
I am a ‘pakeha’ kiwi of 3rd generation and firmly believe iwi representatives not only have the right but joint obligation along with pakeha to protect the New Zealand environment from exploitation by foreign interests. David
IT WOULD appear that the National Party is and has been behind all these continuous Maori demands.Finlayson who has been the spokesman on all points could only do this with the support of the caucus .Yes the National Party is donkey deep with the Maori Party. Lance
Article one of the Treaty gives everyone equal rights under the soverienty of the crown. Either the “Treaty “is null and void and all settlements have to be returned or Iwi have no more right to water than anyone else in New Zealand. Terry
They are already represented on regional councils by elected New Zealanders so why should they have 2 votes? Arthur
Elected would be fine, not appointed. If appointed, why not carry on and ‘appoint’ the Prime Minister and all MPs. We are slipping into the mire of reverse racism and cronyism. Grant
We are not Maori & Pakeha, we are all New Zealanders. All Council members MUST be elected. Cliff
Why should they be in control of our freshwater. What is REGIONAL CONUNCILS up to. There will be problems ahead. Robert
We have enough race based politics in NZ. Laurie
Further ~ I totally oppose unelected Maori sitting with Local Body elected councillors – and also undemocratically being allowed to vote as to multiple daily issues. Hylton
In the past we have seen the greed and stupidity of local Maori “representatives” asking for payments to “allow” due process to continue in granting marine rights for commercial fishing. The Marlborough Sounds and the green shell mussel allocation of marine farms comes readily to mind. One gentleman told me his group had spent over 200K in “hearings” and was told by a local Maori representative that “they” would withdraw their opposition if a “gift” was given to the local iwi.. This gift was to be in cash and delivered to a certain place in Blenheim. At the same time a representative of this group had a meeting with the then Tasmanian Government who welcomed them with open arms. Bring your equipment and knowledge to Tassy we will give you tax breaks, free use of marine areas for a set period of time until you are financially stable etc. This group of men walked away from a $200K hearing investment as they could see that it was just a deep well for Maori to put their greedy hands into. They are now marine farmers in Tasmania. Gary
All those that claim to be Maori should have a Blood Test if not 51% they are not Maori end of story. John
Buying popularity is not a rational form of governance or indeed good for the nation. Bruce
Unelected representatives should not have voting rights on ANY issue of Local Government or national issues. Sandy
Lets stop a handful of people pretending to be tribe dictating to us and costing us money for no gain! Andy
Where is democracy? Wayne
Our politicians are a bunch of slimy toads. Such a shame that the Conservative party fell apart. We need an actual conservative representation desperately. Roy
Another slip on the edge of disaster. Robert
Again the thin edge of the wedge which will result in a high cost bureaucratic system that will delay decision making When will we wake up The freshwater are equally important to all people and no one race or creed should have rights to management or otherwise. Bruce
Definitely Not!! Albert
Apartheid comes to mind. Ngaire
We are supposed to live in elected democracy but as we have seen by both governments under mmp the voters don’t matter until the next election comes around.this is why politicians are held in the same esteem as car dealers. Since Bolger introduced mmp we have had this terrible system of the tail wagging the dog, but as history shows people will only take so much before they revolt. We have introduced reverse apartheid to new Zealand. It’s not good. Morrie
This is not race based-it is just a group of NZers looking for control over a vital resource.Would we give this control to a group ,of say,farmers-I think not,so why some Maori? Dave
They should stand for council the same as anyone else .If they are worth having they will be elected. Bill
Unbelievable!! This government is an absolute disgrace. Undemocratic, deceitful and self-serving behaviour from the Prime Minister on down. A day of reckoning will surely come, and the sooner the better. Les
Get some guts John Key.. and end this farce now. Donald
Absolutely, definitely, NOT! Sean
This is totally undemocratic and extremely worrying. Brenda
This is more apartheid. Peter
Water is every citizens right, not one sector of society. Nick
These greedy sods should be told to go hell and any party that’s supports this should be voted out of office in 2017. Colin
Maori have no more interest in or right to, fresh water than any other people. Appointment to Regional Councils should only be by election. Doug
The representatives of iwi will have no democratic rights If they want to get onto councils get their members voted on as part of the local body. Not some one appointed who’s hidden ad-gender will be revue for the iwi. Alan
All council members should be elected by the whole community democratically. Neil
One law for all. Peter
Water is part of the earths systems not Maori. The arrogance to feel they have sway over such matters is delusional. Gregar
No, no, no. Every organisation in the country should be removing racism from their workings not embedding it. At this rate we wil soon have the Springboks refusing to play the All Blacks because of NZ’s racist laws! John
Not bloody likely!!!! Barry
One law for all. Paul
When Oh when will our politicians wake up – before all of our sky, sea, land, air, water and social equality has been ‘given’ away, all for the sake of short sighted political votes. Stuart
Maori, as do all New Zealanders, have the benefit of living in a democratic society. Yet they wish to subvert that same society, by hiding their policies and agendas from the scrutiny of the election process. If we wish to preserve democracy, how can we let the Treaty settlement process be so deliberately distorted? Malcolm
Race based election is not usually democracy, so NO to iwi representation in any democratic body. Konrad
This pernicious separatism will exact a terrible toll one day; civil armed conflict is the inevitable outcome of dealing to any particular sector of the community in a way that’s perceived to be privileged or unfair: consider the years of turmoil and terror in Northern Ireland, for example. Will we never learn? Graham
This is just another example of maori deciding they are above the law and democracy. Every time there has been a referendum on whether unelected maori should have a place on local councils, the idea has been soundly beaten. John
Categorically So — NO. John
Will this poll make any difference it looks like we are having it anyway. We won’t actually pay for water but we will pay for all unelected maori to sit on councils and boards so what is the difference. Richard
Every New Zealander must have the same rites on every thing not 20% of the population being able to have several bites of the cherry Where will this unequal BS end. Jim
Take over by stealth – there is a major agenda here by maori – control control control. Tony
We are all equal. Wayne
Definitely not, they will charge more for our water and will deny access wherever they can, I don’t trust them. Carolyn
Iwi demands are now more important than the rights of New Zealanders. Chris
It’s racism. Nevkath
It worries me we are becoming more divided every year. Chris
Appointment to any position must be on the basis of ability and support from the community, not some tenuous, or imagined historical reason or suggested blood line. Vern
Key has the audacity to say that the flag process is all about democracy. Meanwhile he is giving away NZers democratic rights to self-appointed, self-interested part-Maori at a tremendous rate. How far does this have to go before it’s considered treason? Fiona
When is it going to end !!!! June
More red tape and unnecessary costs. Are they going to sit on the Councils without holding their hand out? Mark
I am getting really fed up with the view point of overwhelming majority of the country being totally ignored on this, and other race-based issues. Geoffrey
ALL freshwater originates as RAIN, and to grant any human race ownership to the exclusion of others over rainwater, hits the natural rights of all citizens. William
Definitely NO! Watercare is already charging for water which comes from the sky and should be free to all. If Maori say it is not a question of money, just wait and see what happens when they get control! NZ is ONE people. Let is try to act as one not grabbing all you can for one race. Christine
Far out what next! Should New Zealand become a republic and dump the treaty for any constitution. Rick
The reason I vote no is that like any other natural resource such as clean air we already have resource management in control. Not denying that RM needs to have reform I think it applies to all of us no matter what race. RAYMOND
This Maori-isation of NZ has to stop! Royal inquiry would easily verify Maori were NOT the first peoples here – the physical, archived and anecdotal evidence is significant. Gary
Control should be the right of all NZers. Ron
I do believe iwi should be elected onto positions, just like everyone else. And why has the public not be informed of the process until it is done and dusted. Dosen’t seem very democratic to me! Lorna
The Maori have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted and will not keep their word. It is a money issue, despite what is being said. Another money gravy train. Stop this rubbish !!! Kevin
Governance issues must be based solely on citizenship, not ethnicity. Geoff
This is a corruption of democracy. Bruce
Iwi’s have got the country by the short and curlies, and it has all been achieved without mandate or any form of democratic consultation with the country. We just wake up each day to find out what new policy or law the Government has flopped on its back to create for the spoilt wantant Iwi’s which inevitably means we ‘other’ New Zealanders have to pay for out of our hard earned income, or crawl up Iwi arse to achieve. And what is this crap that I found in the news thread all about? What do these types of public discussions lead to? What are they lining up? If anyone is able to attend this please do so and report back on it. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1508/S00278/public-discussion-peace-and-te-tiriti-o-waitangi.htm . Trina
This is a ridiculous situation where control of our water is being given away by stealth. Why isn’t this story being repeated by mainstream media? And how dare National do this with no mandate? Tony
How shocking is this! Thank you Muriel for alerting us to the killing off of local government democracy and the granting of control of our freshwater to Maori big business. Marilyn
National should be ashamed of themselves for the underhand deals that they are orchestrating. Brian
This information should be published in every newspaper in the country so the public understand the dirty deals that are being done under their noses. Jason
It just shows that no politicians can be trusted. Why bother to vote! Ken