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Dr Muriel Newman

Setting the Record Straight

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Water - Iwi Kiwi ad“Iwi leaders and the Government have agreed on a deadline to sort out Maori interests in fresh water by Waitangi Day 2016.”
– RNZ, 5 February 2015

As readers know, late last year the New Zealand Centre for Political Research launched a nation wide public information newspaper advertising campaign to alert New Zealanders to National’s plans to introduce Maori tribal control of fresh water. In the ad, we encouraged the public to contact Members of Parliament and Councillors to express their views.

Our ad resulted in floods of correspondence with politicians. Some people sent us copies of the responses they had received, and in general, subtly or not so subtly, government MPs accused the NZCPR of spreading misinformation.

An article written by the Cabinet Minister and MP for Tauranga Simon Bridges for a Grey Power magazine, expresses this view:

“I have been approached by a number of constituents recently regarding the control and ownership of New Zealand’s freshwater. There appears to be some misinformation surrounding this so I thought I would take this opportunity to clarify the situation.

“The National-led Government has always had a clearly stated position on this issue, which is that no one owns the water. The Government is currently working with the Land and Water Forum, which includes stakeholders from various sectors, including iwi, to develop a common direction for freshwater management in New Zealand.

“A discussion document is expected to be released this year, at which time the public will be able to have their say before any decisions are made. To be clear, there are no plans to give control or ownership of our country’s lakes and rivers to iwi, or any other group.”

While Mr Bridges reinforced the fact that no-one owns water, this is a typical political red herring. Our sole concern is with the “control” of water and the fact that for the first time in our country’s history, a New Zealand government is planning to allow race-based interests to control the management and allocation of fresh water resources – instead of retaining Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities, with their democratically elected representatives, as the country’s sole delegated authorities.

In his article, Mr Bridges reassured Grey Power readers by stating, “To be clear, there are no plans to give control or ownership of our country’s lakes and rivers to iwi…”

So let’s look into the veracity of that statement.

But first, some facts.

As Canterbury University Law Lecturer David Round has explained, irrespective of who owns the land over which water flows, under common law and statute, water is owned by no-one: “There is absolutely no legal, moral or common sense justification for any Maori claim to fresh water. The legal situation is that no-one owns water, and no-one ever has. This was the situation at common law, and the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967 and now the Resource Management Act 1991 starts off from the same assumption. With some very minor and inevitable practical exceptions, anyone wanting to use water has to obtain a resource consent – a ‘water permit’ – to do so from the local regional council.”

Former Law Lecturer, Judge Anthony Willy, agrees: “Water was never regarded by the common law as a commodity. The Courts held that a land owner had no right to the ownership of water which either flows through, or percolates within that land. In this way the courts recognised that water like air is not only vital to the survival of all species on the planet but is something in which humanity has no hand in creating. It therefore, like air occupies a unique status in the eyes of the common law – it cannot be owned by anybody.”

Irrespective of the law, Maori tribes have continued to claim ownership of fresh water. But since successive governments and the Courts have consistently rejected their opportunistic claims, they have now turned their attention to the ‘control’ of water.

According to a Herald report, things came to a head in October 2006, during the Labour Government’s third term in office, when the leaders of some of the country’s most powerful tribes sought Maori control of water.

Labour, however, refused their advances, upholding the strong position taken by successive New Zealand governments, that water is not owned, but is controlled and managed by the Crown for all New Zealanders.

At the time, tribal leaders were under the impression that Labour was considering privatising water rights as part of a water management reform programme. They considered that if such a property right was created, they had a claim to it under the Treaty, since this was how they had gained a lucrative $170 million fishing settlement. When individual tradeable fishing quotas were created in 1986 as a property right, many tribes received substantial settlements of quota, fishing company shares, and cash.

Tribal leaders believed a water settlement would dwarf the fisheries settlement, and with the Ministry for the Environment estimating that the total value of fresh water to New Zealand is now worth almost $35 billion a year, it is not difficult to see what the motive behind these tribal demands really is.

While the Labour Government did not, of course, privatise water rights, there are strong indications that National is planning to do so through their fresh water reform programme. Is this what the secretive collaboration between Cabinet Ministers and the tribal elite has been all about – negotiating what National MP Judith Collins has described as a “cash-grab”? If so, it is destined to be the biggest cash grab in New Zealand’s history – to date.

National’s concession to tribal demands for fresh water was signalled during the partial privatisation of the State-owned power companies in 2012. It was at that time, that the government’s rhetoric appeared to change.

In their submission in response to the Maori Council’s urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal to halt the SOE sale and gain a shareholding, the tough line taken by the Labour Government – that there are no Maori rights to water – was replaced with an acknowledgement that there are: The Crown’s Counsel stated that the power company sale would not prevent the government from ‘recognising’ the ‘rights and interests of iwi in fresh water’, even suggesting the creation of new “economic rights over water” in the form of “a levy or royalty”. They emphasised that “recognising Maori rights… may include decision-making in relation to care, protection, use, access and allocation, and/or charges or rentals for water”.

In other words, it was National’s partial privatisation of state-owned power companies that exposed the public to this new round of tribal demands for fresh water.

The Waitangi Tribunal’s Stage 1 report concluded that “the proprietary right guaranteed to hapu and iwi by the Treaty in 1840 was the exclusive right to control access to and use of the water while it is in their rohe.”

The Stage 2 inquiry, which the Tribunal intended to undertake in 2013, was to determine a framework for the recognition and protection of Maori rights in water. The Tribunal stated that “By mid-2013, the Crown and claimants had agreed to work together to refine the focus of Stage 2.”

However, the government later asked for the inquiry be delayed, and later still, adjourned until the 22nd of February 2016. In their application to the Tribunal they stated, “The purpose of the adjournment would be to allow the Crown and the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group to work together across 2015 to develop options for the recognition of iwi/hapu rights and interests in freshwater”.

It now appears that the government has been collaborating with tribal leaders for more than two years on “policy options for the protection of Maori rights and interests in fresh water”. But while Maori tribal groups have been kept well informed about these developments, the general public have not. Indeed it is ironic, but not unexpected, that when the NZCPR exposed the closed session dialogues, National accused us of misinformation!

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Judge Anthony Willy, looks at the controversy over the control of fresh water from the point of view of the Rule of Law:

“The Rule of Law means simply that we shall be governed solely by the law properly enacted after due process and not the arbitrary whim of any person or group. It is at the point of ‘due process’ (the way in which laws come into being) that the Rule of Law intersects with democracy and which together are the guarantors of our civic rights.

“It is this crucial and unbridgeable divide between rule at the whim of the despot and his or her cronies and rule by law that we imperil when we permit exceptions no matter how well intentioned. Such an exception sought by a minority of the population to corner rights to fresh water is a classic example of a derogation of the Rule of Law simply because it gives governance over a crucial public good to a small and unelected group to the detriment of the majority.

“The truth is that no form of constitutional government of itself can guarantee our civil liberties, but the intersection of the Rule of Law as administered by the Courts and the democratic process offers the best protection known to history.”

National’s plan to enable tribal groups to gain control of fresh water, will therefore not only entrench separatism in New Zealand, but it will also undermine the Rule of Law.

The government has already forced the Gisborne Council to establish a joint resource consenting authority with Ngati Porou for the control of fresh water in their region. Is this their plan for all councils?

The Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith, certainly thinks so. He is already committed to “preferential access for iwi in catchment-based processes” and he has stated that he intends to influence councils by issuing “requirements or guidelines” to “regional councils when choosing or implementing allocation approaches or reviews of existing allocations”.

It is now clear that by wanting to avoid a controversy at the time of their partial privatisation of the state-owned power companies in 2012, National caved in to the Maori Council’s demands for rights to fresh water. They are now on the verge of not only allocating water rights in perpetuity to tribal interests, but of requiring regional councils to involve local Maori tribes in the management, allocation, and control of fresh water in their regions.

But the twist in this is that at the time of their urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2012, the Maori Council had already admitted that there was “the possibility that the law may never recognise Maori proprietary rights in water”! In other words, if National had followed the lead of previous governments and rejected all Maori claims for fresh water, tribal groups would have accepted it.

Looking forward, questions remain over whether National is intending to privatise water rights to create a tradable market, and if so, whether they will require taxpayers to compensate tribes on a catchment by catchment basis – or whether local tribes will be given the rights to unallocated water to on-sell to the highest bidder… or both?

While there are many unknowns about the future direction of fresh water reform, what is clear is that the majority of New Zealanders believe there should be no preferential treatment for Maori, and that the government should be protecting fresh water for all New Zealanders in the national interest.

We can expect an update from tribal leaders about fresh water on Waitangi Day, and a discussion document on water reform options from the government in February or March.

Finally, it is dishonest if not deceitful, for Mr Bridges and his colleagues to claim that tribal control of water is not the government’s intention, when that has clearly been at the centre of a two year discussion with Maori tribes.


Do you support the concept of water rights being privatised to create a tradeable market?

  • Yes
  • Yes – but only if there is no tribal settlement
  • No

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.


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

Click to view x 120


What a bunch of soft c***ks we have in parliament nz will be the only country in the world to practice aparthied congratulations. Bruce
I don’t think water (or air) should be able to be owned, though I support the private provision of water. Dion
Trust maori – NEVER IN A MILLION LIGHT YEARS – no, simply make that NEVER – the same goes for this government. GARY
Eventually it will just be another way of extracting money from tax payers. (presumably to give to our nations layabouts) Alan
When are New Zealanders going to be asked there opinion??? Shane
Nobody should own “natural” things like water. Laurie
I will say it again…….there is only one way to stop this nonsense and that is binding referendum. Ronmac
Water is a basic human requirement and no group should have any control at all. The way water is controlled now should not be changed ! ! ! Paul
Any privatisation of a national resource would lead to the unequal distribution of that resource. Bryan
Water should be a right to everybody…whether rich, poor, maori,european etc. We all need water to survive…it is a necessity not a commodity! Jamison
There should be no involvement of Maori at all and that those with a private source be allowed to sale that catchment for profit. Keep greedy Maori out of this. Ken
It is disgraceful the way this way this National government operates. Such deceit behind charming smiles ! Totally lacking in integrity. This on-going water-rights issue is unethical. I hope that at some time in the not too distant future that the claim that Maori are NZ’s indigenous people will be scientifically be proven to be a fallacy. Julie
Water should be freely available to all NZers. Colin
Should be kept in public hands. Sue
Free water as the air we breathe, remains the god given right of all New Zealanders. The Maori as an individual or race, have no priority over this. The National government and individual members of the National party, might change their support if they were to be held, personally and as a party, financially accountable ad infinitum, if they allow this to happen. Jude
No, and as I said in an email to Mr Key, the water on our land comes from above ( hydro-logical cycle0 and is no ones to trade, give away, etc. It is for all to use, Freely! Steve
One thing leads to another. a creeping disease. Phil
This is another attempt to create a separatist state for Maoridom. Would it be possible to claim something from Maori for the use of roads and bridges and other infrastructure form them? Derek
Lets keep under control of councils/regional councils()which are elected by all New Zalanders) even with their bureaucratic time-wasting which is unlikely to be improved by sectional iwi control. Alan
National continues to deceive the electorate with it’s denial of closed door negotiations with iwi. We all have a duty as citizens of New Zealand to let them know in no uncertain terms that this nonsense needs to end. Rex
Not under any circumstances. Water belongs to nature. Bruce
This proposal creates a fundamental change to our democracy and should under no circumstances be enacted without support from all voters through a referendum. John
I would wish to see the supporting documents that lead to a conclusion that water rights should be under the control of a tradeable market, and Maori have legitimate claims to to water rights. Is our democracy descending into a regime of behind closed door negotiations, hidden agendas, and double talk that would make Robert Mugabe and Joseph Goebbels proud to put their names to such shenanigans. I am becoming less enamored with the governance of our nation as each week goes by. Michael
Judge Willy’s commentary says it all – the Rule of Law must be upheld to prevent undemocratic and illegal minority control of resources. Russell
I have always voted strategically at General Elections, to ensure that National retain Government, with moderation and common-sense from ACT. This water ‘rights’ issue is a watershed moment for me too. If National do not (a) abandon this reckless process and (b) back off from forcing local authorities and Councils to appoint unelected iwi representatives onto these bodies, then my vote for them is absolutely gone. They are abusing the powers, we gave them, in good faith. Vic
Absolutely NO. Gail
No No No. Peter
The water belongs to the country. Just leave it alone. John
The lack of public consultation on this very serious issue by the present government is deplorable. The mere fact that the government is even considering an approach by Iwi to seek control in whatever form is undemocratic and at best unwarranted. The Prime Minister stated publicly on re election that governments being elected for a third term are inclined to become arrogant and he stated that they wanted to avoid this. I would suggest their actions on a number of matters would suggest otherwise. Perhaps it is time for a change? Chris
We are again witnessing inept politicians in the current govt promoting race based policies. Giving the maoris control or ownership of water is another act of discrimination against the main population of NZ perpetrated by this National govt.The standard of politicians is dumbfounding. As a supporter of National for decades, I am appalled at the antics of Key and this govt, but what choice is there for the future!! David
Water belongs to everyone. Carolyn
When will people get the idea that everybody is equal and somethings do not have an owner. Dennis
Definitely not, nobody should own water! John
Absolutely not – water should be a basic human right and NOT owned by anyone. Michelle
The sooner the Treaty of Waitangi is given the “ceremonial burning” and all race based privileges are removed, then and only then will New Zealand become ONE. We are a nation of many nationalities not Maori and then the rest. Mike
Absolutely and unequioically, NO! Neither the Government, Maori nor local bodies or corporations (local or international) should have any ability to charge for water, or control water that in anyway diminishes access to and use of water for personal and animal or food cropping use. Bryan
NO, water is a God given right, we need water to survive so let the Coincils run it for the city, I am totally happy with the way the Council manage the water supply and the costs charged, go the Council, do nit want any sort of elitist intervention because without doubt we would be charged so much more, held to ransom like we already are with so much now, RMA for instance. Audrey
Water is a universal right and there should be no change at all in the status quo. Peter
No preferential treatment to any race. David
When will the citizens who prefer honesty & integrity in government, realize that this MMP system demands the involvement of minor parties who demand honesty & integrity from the Major Ruling Party. This government, apart from two gifted seats held by Minor Parties, only has the sepratist, grab what you can, Maori Party, to keep it in power. Next election, if you prefer a RIGHT leaning Government, think of the consequences before you vote, & Party Vote for the Minor Parties who promote one law for all. We would not have this problem now, if that had happened at the last election. Lets hope it is not to late if it happens at the next election. Don’t blame the problem on MMP, cure the problem with MMP.. A.G.R.
Just playing with words. Simon
When will the greedy tribes ever stop their nonsense claims? Forbes
Any government which allows this blatant breach of human rights should be deposed. Barrie
This weekend a beam of Light is shining to the sky on Rangitoto to commemorate Maori involvement in Auckland “hello “they did not know how to make light let alone when Rangitoto last erupted they did not know how to keep records. John
Leave the status quo alone. Brian
Definitly no. Doreen
What a load of nonsense. Nobody should “own” water – It’s just a ploy by certain parties to hold the upper hand and ultimately make money out of it. Pat
Asking for my first name and not my full name I find puzzling and a little annoying. None of us should be in fear of publishing our full names. We all need to stand strong against this appeasement of part Maori fat-cats at the expense of New Zealanders. Robert
If this pack of weak MPs’ , John Key included, give in to Maori on this water issue I would suggest they will be starting the biggest racial nasty divide this country has ever seen. So John Key and co had better start doing some serious thinking on the matter. Mike
Don’t give in to maori, it belongs to NZs this is just a political move that will cost all of us to swim, fish, power and everything else connected to freshwater. Graeme
Stop this reverse apartheid right now, this will cause anger and strife, gutless politicians should be remembered at the next election. Brian
No one entity owns the water. Barry
The National government should be reminded that there could be a voter backlash if they give Maori control of water. Allan
No preferential treatment should be given to any one group. John
Water belongs to all.. Peter
Water should stay as it is – free and available to everyone. It is not acceptable to make it a saleable commodity and certainly Iwi should not have control of it either. Elaine
Water is a public resource, owned by all New Zealanders, with its use administered by the elected government for the benefit of all. Les
I do not support the concept of water rights being privatised to create a trade able market. Christine
Absolutely no reason why Maori should have any say over allocation of water! Jim
No Way. Margaret
No racial bias can be acceptable. Alan
Privileged tribal control of water – Never! Don
Absolutely no. New Zealand water is and should stay for all New Zealanders. If the Maori can not see themselves as New Zealanders first before being tribal let them find a place somewhere else and there they can be whatever. This is New Zealand and if they cannot understand that, get out. It what be interesting to find out the Maori contend in the blood of those un and down dancers. Johan
Yet more decisive regulation proposed. This sort of legislation only adds to that already enacted and eventually will be the downfall of NZ. Brian
My thoughts on privatising water are almost impossible to put down in words, how things have got to this stage is totally unbelievable. Key and his cronies obviously have an agenda that the rest of us are unaware of, but why? Why are our politicians so hell bent on steering us down this racially divisive path? Maori it would appear are held by them as being “Special” Special what I don”t know, what I do know is that they are not special, not indigenous and certainly not the owners of the worlds water supply. I am hoping that next years election will see a backlash against the Key/Whinlayson Govt and let our so called leaders know that we the public have had a guts full of this racist divisive and ultimately tax gathering agenda. lets vote with our feet and support the party, any party that will put a stop to this racially divisive Maori rule over everything. Maori owned nothing other than what they stole off the original inhabitants, they have contributed almost nothing to society, they cost the hard working tax payer Billions per year, drag the chain in every aspect, fill our prisons and make our society one of the most violent on earth. So what have they got over our politicians that makes them kowtow to these opportunist racists at every turn? It is all totally unbelievable and if I didn’t know better I would think it is a huge joke and we’ll all have a big laugh about it when the tricksters let us in on it. MMP = More Maori Payouts. Stevo
In protest at this sort of ShonKey crap we should all get into our vehicles on an appointed date, drive to Wellington and stay there until the Govt. resigns or otherwise comes to its senses. Just imagine the chaos several that several 100 extra vehicles in Wellington would cause! Alan
Water is a natural resource and belongs to every citizen. An ownership or control claim by any entity should never be considered. Patricia
What next ???? David
The water belongs to all New Zealanders. David
We are supposed to be “one people”! Please stop all this divisiveness. Ross
It is everyones water. Do the greedy maoris want to fight me for it? They will lose!!! Neil
Why is this National Government hell bent on setting in place the foundations for this Country to be on a course for a civil war at some point in its future! Trevor
Water does not belong to anyone so privatiseing is just as bad as handing it over to “Maori” in any shape or form. “Maori” as NZers should have the same rights as everyone else over water but definitely not ownership. Rog
Why do we need to change. Richard
What is with this national govt, power at any cost, don brash got it right one people one govt and one rule of law to all. Look out nick smith if you go down your proposed track. Morrie
What a joke; people dont seem to understand the long term ramifications of such an idiotic move, don’t know who even thought of starting the idea, apart from some money grabbing parasitic advisers ! Roy
Water ownership and management should remain as is, i.e. no one owns it. Getting tired of National’s lies on the matter. Bruce
Racism. Greg
Positive discrimination again! Stewart
National might win over a few Maori votes but will lose a greater number of votes overall if they proceed with this madness. Kathy
Water MUST remain under government control where it is protected for the use of everyone fairly. Time the government did what they were elected to do,said NO to Maori demands and ensured water and all other commodities are there for everyone to enjoy and use. They should be creating a fair society – not favouring one very demanding section of the country who immigrated here only 600 years prior to Europeans….a mere blip in the time of history. Key is the first politician who hasn’t had the fortitude to just say NO! Gail
Any deal that gets signed off in secret, between any Government department, and interest groups, locally or internationally, that imposes upon the country’s citizens, unreasonable and/or unattainable service costs, prohibition, liability or dispossession of anything that is deemed a ‘necessity of life’, is blatant treasonist abuse of power that directly threatens the integrity of social structure, rule of law, democracy and inevitably, quality of life to all citizens. In fact, i would go as far as saying that mere suggestion to privatise water to anybody is indirectly threatening people’s lives. NO BODY OWNS WATER!!! It is bad enough that it is commercialised and regulated. Where the F**K is Iwi morality let alone our Governments brains FFS!!!! Trina
No one owns the water and all New Zealanders are entitled to fresh clean water to survive. Laurel
Nobody owns our water It is a basic human entitlement. Govt and councils have a duty to ensure water is kept and supplied to all New Zealanders as a pure fresh quality. Kevin
Certainly not under any circumstances. Barbara
At this stage I don’t see any need for water to be a tradeable substance, let alone one race having special rights. Eric
Thank god someone is exposing this Government’s despicable apparent sell out to the Maori interests. Nelson
Water is like the air we breath and should not be brought or sold. Water should not be allocated buy any un-elected body. Water is for every New Zealander to enjoy. Andrew
No ifs, no buts, no exceptions. Geoffrey
A straight NO. Donald
We are all “New Zealanders” and NO specific group of people should be given any preferential treatment or privileges. The “Treaty of Waitangi” should be considered to have reached it “use-by-date”. All for one and one for all, we are ONE. Cornelis
Nobody owns water just like the air – that will be the next senseless claim. Hylton
Ref. The Fishery; Ref. Seabed and Foreshore; Ref. Auckland’s Volcanic Cones; Ref. Forestry; Ref. River Beds. Now Water; What next. Finlayson has got to go. John
More pandering to the Maori spongers. John
Abolutely sick to death of tribal demands re fresh water. These race based rights that the iwi are pushing for is very concerning. If the National Government give in to these demands heaven help this country of ours. No one should own fresh water!!! Suzanne
Once again the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Maori want something governments bend over backwards to give it to them. When will the New Zealand public finally say enough is enough? Talking about it seems to achieve nothing, perhaps time for more drastic action? Peter
It is believed that global water demands will be the flash point for future world wars Already one billion humans are denied fresh water and super tankers are crossing time zones to deliver to the highest bidder. Douglas
10 times NO if Maori are likely to be given special treatment. Roy
Again this is one country. It is time Maori were put in their place and if they do not like it they can leave this country We have had enough Tom
Neither air nor water have been made by humans and thus are the ‘property’ of everyone. JOHN
Another interesting legal approach might be to treat water as an ‘easement’ (alongside light and air) – which involves a non-possessory right of access. Barend
Never..!! Peter
Race-based laws are anathema and totally undemocratic. Laws should not favour nay particular group but should be for the good of the majority. It would seem that this government is taking us down the road South Africa has gone, where apartheid has gone the other way, giving preferential treatment to the “blacks”. Is this what we want? The government and the iwi elite have got too close, and is caving in to iwi demands. This is “reverse racism”, with a minority being given preferential treatment for their own ends. Laurence
The water belongs to all not just maori. Ian
No,NO,NO,! Robert
As has been stated no one owns water. John
Principles suffer when money is involved. Kevin
Nobody owns the water. Kevin
All water belongs to – “nobody” !! How can we get Gov. to do what’s right for the country – and banish all Iwi and their stirrers – Looks like normal NZ’ers will have to leave the country – as it will surely be divided into `black & white’ segregation… Elayne
Water is the essence of life. It should be freely available to all New Zealanders or, if necessary, demand allocated or prioritised based on non-racial merit. Fiona
Water is sacrosanct and must remain in public ownership without controls from vested interests including Iwi, local Govt or multi national corporations. Like air, it is one of the two elements needed to sustain life an as such must not be commercialized at any cost. Rod
Water for all provided there are sufficient safeguards in place to minimise waste. Brian
Definitely NOT! Les
NZ Fist appear to be saying NO as well. Keep local Councils for the ratepayers and maintain all select groups with special interests on the same basis. Richard
Privatisation does not have a good track record in NZ. Privatising water rights; I shudder to think what might become of that. Gary
We are getting our selves in the pickle with Maori ripping of this country who do they thing they are but a bunch of bludgers the oridinary Maori does not see any benefit out of all this gravey train. Russell
Just like the electricity market? No one owns the water – leave Maori out of it. Ron
When is all this crap going to stop. Bill
While the use and pollution of water needs to be regulated to ensure fairness to aall it can only be done if water stays in the ownership of the state. Terry
Water is one of our most precious resources and should never be considered a commodity product. I have seen the massive consumption along with underground piping in Canterbury and this really does worry me. I am by no means a Green supporter but would rise if either Maori got management rights or it was turned into a commodity. Jim
Winston has my vote and 100% support simply because he’s the only NZ politician (since Don Brash) to have the guts to stand-up for what is right and fair for everyone in NZ. Winston refuses to allow himself to be Sodomised by iwi thugs unlike the rest of the PC wimps and fairies who fill the beehive. Good on you Winston … don’t stop now … with this momentum you will definitely be “King-maker” at the next election. Steve
I say give the Maori IWI nothing. These greedy sods are only after the money they can screw off the rest us once they get any sort of control over the distribution of fresh water. Colin
Once privatised these rights can be onsold to the highest bidder. You could end up with a foreign owned company owning “your” water. What better way to stifle New Zealand’s farming, industry and growth and make it less competitive on the world market; than pricing the water to a high level that effects the end products competitiveness. Remember years ago a USA politician threatened to run New Zealand’s economy into the ground overs its nuclear policy. What better way to bring this about now than controlling the price (and access) to water. Gary
APARTHEID rears it’s ugly head in NZ once again. Geoff
I have been a National supporter all my live. If the National Government betrays our ideals by selling or giving or allowing Maoris to control the distribution of water or appoints Maoris to local councils for that purpose, National will not be returned to Government at the next election. This topic has been fudged and talked bout too much behind closed doors. It is time the political clap track ended and a non- equivocal no was given. Water has always been managed quite adequately by councils and that is the way it should remain. This is one gimme that we don’t give. Chris
…iwi can forget that biggest con’ in the history of NZ…… Chris
No one owns our water. Peter
Acccess to water is a god given right, not to be bought and sold. Edward
Maori are not the ndigenous people of NZ The proof is being denied. Anne
I don’t agree with it at all. If it goes ahead then it will be without the people of New Zealand’s approval. It should not be a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation. No one has the right to ‘own’ water. Kerin
No way should water be privatised or controlled unless by a council for the the region. Elizabeth
This Key led National government has taken New Zealand further down the track to full-blown apartheid than any previous one. They then have the hypocrisy to pretend that we are all equal under the law. The situation will only worsen until we eliminate the racist maori seats in parliament together with the MMP electoral system. John
More racial based privilege. Gareth
Water belongs to all of us. Graeme
Just look back on history in Europe to see that private ownership of water is dangerous especially to health. Mike
Water always belongs to everyone and cannot be sold or traded. Colin
Water is needed for the survival of every human on this planet. To give the right of ownership of such a vital substance to anyone is madness in the extreme. To give it away to a minority section of the community who have time after time proved they wish to exploit their control for their race and not for the betterment of all New Zealanders. Raymond
There must be no control of water or rights by iwi or as Waitangi settlement. Local authorities could handle water management and must not hand it over to iwi. Frank
See rule of law as outlined by experts in your article. Outrageous what these iwi think they can get away with.. and ARE if they are not stopped. Another name is arrogance which is increasingly common with all iwi it seems to me. Mel
Why should water be ‘traded’ by anybody? It is not owned by anyone. Sandy
Most definitely a resounding NO. This National government has been the absolute worst government ever. Diana
Water is a necessity for human life, it should not be commercialised any more than it is already – i.e. water rates. Certainly it should not form any part of any “settlement” – trial or otherwise!! Andrew
Leave our water alone it is free? for all Jame
I say keep water out of any possible tradeable market because of the certainty of faud as has happened with the Carbon Trading scheme. Cyril
Just leave things as they are. Why change things all the time. Its never for the good. Robert
I have voted National for 45 years. if they continue down the track of dividing our country I and all of the people I know will not vote for them in the next election. This Maori gravy train must stop. Rod
Another nail in the coffin Barry
The Tribal Elect rides again. How about the suckers at the bottom of their heap. Jeff
Absolutely not water comes for free it only gathers in streams goes out to sea to start the same process again Mary-Ann
No, no ,no!! I suggest a serious backlash will occur if this goes ahead. Mike
Never Richard
No way should water be privatised and no way should Maori have special rights over water. Rodney
Only councils should control water, and that should exclude all co-governance arrangements with tribes. Kelvin
What National have been doing is outrageous. They obviously put iwi ahead of Kiwi! Paul
New Zealanders deserve governments to stick up for equal rights against powerful groups that seek unearned privilege. National is such a disappointment. Daniel
The idea of privatising water rights is so stupid – it will all end in tears as iwi gain huge settlements and New Zealanders have to pay more for water. The only winners will be iwi who will smile all the way to the bank! Caroline