Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Undone

mickeysavage has an excellent post on the claim being put to the Waitangi Tribunal regarding the ownership of water.

The political aspects of the claim fascinate me.

Mr Key's claim that no one owns water is one that will strike a chord with many, because that's what we've been taught.  To some extent that is supported by English common law, though the Americans take a somewhat different approach.  The "no one owns water" idea was batted about on The Standard today, with prompt replies of "how come I pay Watercare for it?" and "it costs money at the garage/cafe/supermarket."  The argument is flawed in that the sellers will tell us the payment is for dams/pipes/pumps/maintenance or bottles/bottling plants/transport/marketing, while the water itself is free.  It's difficult to argue with, because in the case of dams/pipes/pumps/maintenance especially, the convenience they provide is enormous.
It seems that we may have been mislead.  While New Zealand law is based on English common law, this is not England.  It is quite possible that someone does own water.

Oh yeah here we go again, shaking.

The conflicting statements from the Prime Minister today, as reported in the Herald:

But speaking to reporters in Hamilton this afternoon, Mr Key said he had never suggested he wouldn't listen to the Tribunal's findings.
"I've said we'll take on board what they're saying but..."
is totally at odds with
"...the Government's not bound the Waitangi Tribunal findings, and neither have any successive Governments been bound by their findings, nor are we bound to give a response."We're going through a process, we'll be interested to see what the Waitangi Tribunal says, we're acting in good faith. We take the tribunal very seriously but that doesn't mean we're bound it, and that's the law in New Zealand."

If he'd stopped before the "but" he'd be on some mighty solid ground.  Explaining that the government is not bound by Waitangi Tribunal rulings at such an early stage is a threat, because the principle that the government is not bound by the Waitangi Tribunal is well established, everyone who has had some involvement is aware of the fact.  And however many times he says otherwise, it's not good faith to threaten someone.

National have not found their way out of the mire they created when they proposed asset sales.  It looks increasingly likely that they will have to either put the process on-hold or draft legislation as brutal as Labour's hated Foreshore & Seabed Act.


Stellar* - Mix, 1999

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