An interesting question arises from Don Brash's denial that Maori possessed property rights - namely, how that denial can be reconciled with his past support for the Treaty settlements process. In his infamous Orewa speech, Dr Brash declared that
Where there has been a clear breach of the Treaty - where land has been stolen, for example - then it is right that attempts to make amends should be made
Let me make it quite clear. National is absolutely committed to completing the settlement of historical grievances. We will ensure that the process is accelerated and brought to a conclusion
These are admirable sentiments - but strikingly at odds with the view he expressed today. Implicit in the idea of the stealing of land being "a clear breach of the treaty" is a recognition of ownership. But Brash has effectively denied that Maori owned anything. Which is it? Dr Brash owes us an explanation - which of these two incompatible positions he really believes, or, if he believes they can be reconciled, exactly how the rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga exercised over (say) some forested hills can lead to ownership, while that exercised over the foreshore cannot.