Thursday, October 25, 2018

Ignoring the obvious solution

NewsHub reports on the growing risk to the government of being taken to court by iwi over freshwater:

The Government could face a decade-long battle over Māori rights to freshwater, a conflict with potential to become as difficult as the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Some legal minds are saying Māori are entitled to ownership of water - including the right to restrict others' use, and to compensation for unpaid royalties.

Darrell Naden of Tamaki Legal told Newshub denying Māori ownership to water is akin to the confiscation of land by early Pākehā settlers.


Regional Development Minister Shane Jones said the Government could face a decade in court.

"I'm deeply fearful of another 10 to 15 years of litigation," he said on Tuesday.

Of course, there's a solution to that: settle. The government did it before, with fisheries, and it can do it again. And its pretty obvious what any settlement would look like: a share of any royalties or tradeable rights and a voice in environmental control. But the barrier to that doesn't seem to be iwi, but a government which is absolutely unwilling to address the issue. But if they refuse to even explore settlement, they have only themselves to blame when iwi seek to enforce their rights through the courts instead.