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Cute with semantics on water

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, July 13th, 2012 - 82 comments
Categories: business, national, Privatisation, water - Tags:

John Key has been saying variants of this a lot lately:

“I’m the Government’s major spokesperson and I need to spell out the Government’s position, and the Government’s long held, and very strongly held, view is that nobody owns water.”

Key’s just being cute with semantics. What is the effective difference between owning water, and owning water rights? Because Key clearly does believe in owning and trading water rights. Here he is in 2007:

We need to investigate effective, efficient, and fair ways to allocate water-use rights while protecting the environment. We’re open to ideas about how best to do that, and tradable water rights may be an option.

The Nats were critical of the last Labour government for not introducing such rights, and have been signalling since the 2008 election that tradable water rights were coming. The Business Round Table and Brash’s 2025 Task Force have also pushed for them.

But never mind the words, look at the reality. Southland and Canterbury regions sell water rights to farmers. We already have water meters adding costs for tenants. As part of the Supercity process the Nats effectively privatised the supply of water in Auckland for the next 35 years. In short, it’s ludicrous to suggest that the Nats see water as anything other than a resource than can be traded, bought and sold. Refusing to call that “owning water” is just a semantic fig leaf.

Maori interests in such water rights are also well known. Here’s a very interesting piece from Agri-Business Week in 2009:

Fresh water management looms over tradeable rights

…Settling on an allocation model means trade-offs between generators and farmers. It also means deciding whether to have a commercial trading allocation system, which Maori would want a piece of. If rights can be bought and sold, will a new system prompt a gold rush for water? A Cabinet paper from Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter says, “there is some public apprehension about price-based measures or anything that resembles privatisation of water.” The paper recommends central Govt take a greater role in water management policy over local bodies.

…Unlike the Auckland super city seats, the Govt has committed to a partnership with iwi over water management, which is likely to give Maori groups considerable sway over the basis for allocation. As the Cabinet paper notes: “The rights and interests of Maori in NZ’s freshwater resources remain undefined and unresolved. Discussions with iwi leaders may raise some challenging issues.”

Like it or not, water rights have been here for a long time, and Maori have a long standing claim. Whatever political game Key thinks he’s playing by bleating about no one owning water, the philosophy, policies and actions of his government give clear lie to his words.

82 comments on “Cute with semantics on water ”

  1. Resource consents for water take are freely traded in all regions.  The only limit to a sale is whether the water can be used in the new location or facility without causing adverse environmental effects.  The water price is often worth mor then the value fo the land associated with it.

    What John Key wants is for water to be owned by the rentier class – that is he wants separate ownership from use.

    This is a disaster for everyone but the rentiers who use it as a mechanism to suck the capital value of land ownership.  

    Tradable Fishing Quota is the model he wants to apply and it is be used this way to destroy the economics of the fishing industry.

    This is what you get when you appoint a parasite to the top job. 

    • weka 1.1

      Can you give an example of trading water rights? Does this mean a Southland farmer gets consent to take 10,000L per day from the groundwater, and then later decides they don’t want it, so they sell the consent to someone else (presumably in the same watershed)?

      “The only limit to a sale is whether the water can be used in the new location or facility without causing adverse environmental effects. ”

      So how is that managed? Does the consent have to go back through the regional council?

      • Pete George 1.1.1

        I inherited shares in a water race company and sold the shares. The shares (in Central Otago where irrigation is essential) were quite complex and dated back to gold mining days.

        The water source was free (albeit unreliable) but there were ongoing costs of race maintenance – I worked on that when I was younger.

        The alternative was to drill and pump which also had costs.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Yes, water rights already are tradeable. There’s even an auction website for it:
      https://www.hydrotrader.co.nz/auction/index.jsp

      I can only presume that NAct wanted to make the process easier and cheaper; at the moment you must get lawyers involved.

  2. Carol 2

    Interesting that there is little on the main pages of Granny or Stuff this morning on this most important of issues.

    Stuff has an article, slipping from prominence on the site, quoting Pem Bird of the Maori Party saying Key’s attitude/statements on the issue are “corrosive’

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7271373/Keys-attitude-corrosive-Maori-Party

    There are in fact quite a few articles on the issue this morning, as shown by it being the top story on google news (NZ version).

    http://news.google.co.nz/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ned=nz&ncl=dBpDMqAHTnb9W1MvhVX3ArT3Ks_MM&topic=h

    And one from the, usually good ODT, includes comments from Jane Kelsey on how Key’s statements about no-one owning water may come back to bite him via the Free Trade deals:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/216916/water-rights-uncertainty-warning

    Free trade expert Prof Jane Kelsey, of Auckland University, said if subsequent decisions on water rights drove down the share price or dividends of the energy companies, they could claim the Government had undermined their investment and breached obligations to them under international investment agreements.

    She also warned that Mr Key’s statements about water rights and Treaty issues could be used against him in such a situation because investors could claim they had relied on such assurances.

    She said if the Government went ahead with the sales now, it might later have to weigh up whose interests it would put first: either iwi or the investors – and the threat of investor action could deter the Government from siding with iwi.

    “So it’s absolutely essential it deals with the matter now.” Mr Key said a change in the ownership of companies which used water would alter nothing because the Government’s view was that nobody owned water – and he expected that view to be upheld.

    Waikato Times reports that farmers are unhappy about the idea that they might have to pay for water rights in future…. who’d a thought? But this is countered by a law lecturer saying that it will benefit everyone for the Waitangi Tribunal to clarify Maori water rights. If the government don’t take any notice of the tribunal, Maori can take the issue to court, and this could result in an injunction stopping further action on the issue.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/business/7271466/Farmers-back-PMs-water-ownership-stance

  3. Kotahi Tane Huna 3

    No-one owns it, but you can be prosecuted for stealing it.

    • Akldnut 3.1

      No one owns it but you can buy it in shops or supermarkets in some cases it is more expensive than alcohol. http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/book/export/html/2063

      • freedom 3.1.1

        the bottled water market is a great scam

        Go to any supermarket and you can buy soda at 10c for a hundred gallons (slight exaggeration).
        But, if you want 500 ml of water, it costs almost as much as a loaf of bread or a pound of butter. This is odd when considering how much water it takes to make both of those items. The second and even more hilarious part of the scam is that soda is also made with large amounts of water. If the water the soda companies use is perfectly fine for consumption in a retail market, ( if not then what the hell is it doing in your soda ) why can they not sell the water without the soda additives for the same price as the soda?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          IIRC, a few years ago there was a bottled water company that was using tap water as their pure and natural bottled water. I came to the conclusion that people who bought bottled water were idiots.

          • Pete George 3.1.1.1.1

            I remember a consumer test where tap water was liked more than ‘pure and natural’ bottled water.

            • Akldnut 3.1.1.1.1.1

              A few years ago there was a piece in the central leader on the quality of tap opposed to bottled water.
              The tap water rated higher than the bottled water in 5 out of the 7 (I think it was) pumping sites

  4. Sam Hall 4

    Water seems to be “owned”, produced, distributed and exchanged in a bottle; is not a dam a big bottle?

  5. The other aspect is that there is also a claim for riverbeds and in the upper Waikato the prospects link reasonably good.  The Supreme Court has held that there is certainly an arguable case that parts of the Waikato riverbed remained in the ownership of Iwi.

    For those suggesting that the claim for water is a recent attempt to “extort” they should note that the original High Court decision in this case was given in 2009.

    Maori have been protesting the loss of the Taonga including rivers for decades.  That it should suddenly flare up right now is an unfortunate coincidence of timing for John Key. 

    • Dv 5.1

      >>The Supreme Court has held that there is certainly an arguable case that parts of the Waikato riverbed remained in the ownership of Iwi.

      That raises the interest point about if the iwi could charge ground rent for the Dam and lake?
      If they have ownership rights, then surely they could.

  6. Kotahi Tane Huna 6

    Ganesh Nana (BERL chief economist) wades in:

    Whether water could be owned was not really relevant, Dr Nana said. “The important thing is who has the right to manage that water, how is that water managed and used, that is the important thing.”

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Bingo!

      Water use needs to be managed in a way that provides for the community while maintaining the environment in prime condition. The only body capable of doing this is the government. Leaving it to private capitalists who will try to screw even more money out of a limited resource will result in that resource and the environment being run down.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.1

        Do corporate iwi count as private capitalists?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Considering their hiring of FCVs that use slavery for fishing their quota to maximise profits – yes.

  7. marsman 7

    At least Key has lost half his bleat, it was ‘no one owns water, no one owns air’. After Moana Jackson pointed out on TV that under Pakeha law air rights can be bought and sold. Now Key only has his half bleat ‘no one owns water’. Hope he gets drenched in the outfall.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Ultimately the question is ”who owns or controls the use of any and all natural resources”.

      The path we are on for the last 10,000 years has seen humans increasingly capture and transfer natural resources from being a ‘common good’ into ‘private ownership’. Land was simply the first in the queue.

      Then came the right to ‘own’ and mine minerals and fossil carbon. We’ve seen the process extend into ‘owning’ genetic materials, radio spectrum, intellectual property and so-on.

      For some time we’ve been allocating and trading the right to use and control water, now we are on the verge of doing something similar with carbon dioxide. The logical end-point of this process is to charge people for breathing air…by the lung full.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.1.1

        It is not as though this is unusual behaviour in the animal kingdom – territorial behaviour is common, for example. Property rights are preferable to establishing ownership by force of arms.

        In any case the problem here isn’t the model, it’s the fact that the government expects the model to return a potentially inconvenient result.

        • RedLogix 7.1.1.1

          Property rights are preferable to establishing ownership by force of arms.

          Well yes, but property rights are merely enforced by the legal system… still backed ultimately by the force of arms of the state.

          In any case the problem here isn’t the model,

          But when it’s the ONLY model that we apply to every problem I have do have a problem with it. When all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail. Corny I know but still true.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.1.1.1.1

            The governments position is that they don’t want the model applied in this case – they want to deny ownership rights on the basis of convenience, to suit their clients rather than their constituents.

            There are many people who can see the intrinsic value of the commonweal without the need to attach a dollar value, but adding a price is the only way to make someone like John Key value clean water.

            • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1.1

              but adding a price is the only way to make someone like John Key value clean water.

              Which is why I’m so uncomfortable with the ‘everything is property rights’ model. Yes they are useful and have their place, but I believe that they are neither pre-eminent nor absolute.

              For instance, I may ‘own’ a piece of land, but that does not confer upon me absolute sovereignty, the right to do whatever I like on that land, nor exempt me from obeying the laws and regulations of the state. I’m still obliged to pay rates and abate any nuisances I might cause etc.

              Besides, while property rights can only exist meaningfully within the context of the state (I agree anything else is mere brute force), but the state does have other principles and values that it could choose. It’s just, as you say, that in this day and age they seem to be easily forgotten by likes of John Key.

    • sweetd 7.2

      lost half his bleat, not exactly, are you talking about radio spectrum rights, air space or the gases in the air itself?

  8. Enough is Enough 8

    How blinkered are politicians on both sides of the debate here.

    We have Key, the greatest theft and traitor to this country since Richard Prebble, on one hand privatising the community owned power manufactures, while trying to argue on the other hand the resource that creates that power is incapable of being owned.

    You can not have one without the other. If he wants to argue water can’t be owned, fine. I am happy with that stance. But he can’t then privatise assets that only work with that publicly owned resource.

    • John Connor 8.1

      If one can purchase and own the land and load from which minerals are mined, can one purchase and own river and lake beds or settle with them?

  9. Akldnut 9

    “The Nats were critical of the last Labour government”
    Environment groups and the Green Party have welcomed the Government’s plan to manage water resources, but the National Party says “wordy waffle“ won’t solve any problems.

    What a joke – this pack of spinners are the masters of “wordy waffle” repetition and soundbites

  10. ad 10

    If you want to get really cute with semantics, you could ask David Parker the Labour Finance Spokesperson, to explain to the hundreds of Labour and Green volunteers standing out there in the coldest winter in 20 years how exactly he is proposing the protect our electricity generation assets when Labour’s policy as he states it yesterday is this:

    “Labour published a closed list of assets that we believe ought to be run in the New Zealand interest because they have monopoly characteristics – assets such as electricity line networks, water and airports.

    “The list excludes telecommunications and electricity generation.”

    So anyone who thought these guys were on the side of protecting assets from anyone else’s “national interest” let alone “corporate interest”, put your clipboard down. Or find a Labour leadership with some spine. How’s that for semantics?

    • Enough is Enough 10.1

      David Parker is the weak link on Labour’s front bench.

      I have not heard a convincing statement from him. He is big picture man and say things like the obvious “we will focus on job creation”, but struggles to articulate how a Parker run economy would look in reality.

      Contrast with Cunliffe and the brilliant speeches he continues to give to supporters and haters (Kensington Swann)

      • ad 10.1.1

        Yes it just makes my blood boil to see the vacuous faffery from both Shearer and Parker yesterday, with Shearer still giving different versions of his “I threw mango skins out the back of a truck” speech, and Parker saying nothing that Joyce wouldn’t say.

        And then you rack that up against Cunliffe’s Kensington Swan Speech, or the Blockhouse Bay speech, or the Dolphin and the Dole Queue speech, and the rest of them just look so utterly insipid.

        We simply need politicians who can analyse what’s wrong, say what’s right, and then say elect me and I will do exactly that. And then do it.

        There is no semantics in that. Parker has made no public impact despite the worst economic or financial management we have had in many governments, and Shearer just wants apparently to be loved for being anything but a politician.

        Don’t give me semantics, give me a leader worth believing in.

        • deuto 10.1.1.1

          +1.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1.1.2

          Wake up and smell the coffee, or are you just regurgitating right wing bloggers talking points

          • ad 10.1.1.2.1

            Well here’s a simple test for you: pull up the text for parker’s last speech, and Cunliffe’s last speech. Put whatever sugar in your coffee you like.

          • Enough is Enough 10.1.1.2.2

            Ghost, wake up and demand something from Labour.

            I have no problem with Shearer as a leader by the way. I think he will be able to connect with disgruntled swing voters. But he needs a right hand man that can articulate policy and sell it to the public. Parker is failing him and us on that front. What Parker said yesterday regarding water is typical of his weakness to say anything meaningful. Do you think Cunliffe would be that poor?

            Don’t get me wrong I will vote for this Labour front bench. But I am worried others won’t. How is it that National continue to ride high with 40%+ support, while the economy is fucked and and getting worse by the day while they are selling our assets and water.

            Might it be something to do with wishy washy nothing statements from David Parker?

            • gobsmacked 10.1.1.2.2.1

              +1

              For a double act to work, one of them has to be the communicator. I really don’t care who it is, I’m not in any “David” faction, I just get frustrated with Labour vacating the playing field.

              It’s either incompetence, or a deliberate strategy. Neither is impressive.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2.2.2

              I think he will be able to connect with disgruntled swing voters.

              IMO, If he could do that he would already have done so.

              • Enough is Enough

                You may be right, which makes the current state of the largest opposition party even more depressing.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Yeah, I noticed that. The biggest natural monopolies around aren’t monopolies according to Labour. I think that really should tell everyone that still thinks that Labour are for the working people exactly where Labour truly stands and it’s not for the working people or even for the people of NZ.

      • ad 10.2.1

        So, if I ruled New Zealand, I would have this ginormous regulator, even better than the ACCC. It would regulate the:

        – Price of water, both domestic and industrial
        – Price of electricity, both spot and retail
        – Price of broadband (OK I’m dreaming here)
        – Price of Local Government rates
        – Price of airport landing charges
        – Price of sea port charges
        … and also run the ruler over the possibility of cartel behaviour forming eg in retail petrol
        … and have good prosecutorial powers.

        This would mean changing a whole bunch of legislation, and would need a whole bunch of specialist secretariats to work, but it would make the whole utility sector quake. Might mean dumping the Commerce Commission.

        And while I am there, they would also produce Fair Go!

        Sigh. If only I ruled the world.

        • Pete George 10.2.1.1

          Have you heard of this person?

          • ad 10.2.1.1.1

            Ahhh .. and every day would be the first day of spring

            No seriously Pete, that’s a confusion of Prime Minister with regulator. Hence mentioning the ACCC. Something similar has worked in Australia just fine for quite some time.

            I am particualrly concerned about how the price of water is not regulated in this country at all, even though more regions are slowly adopting metering.

            Personally I am in favour of full commodification. Of course water does not have the elasticity of petrol, and nor should it. And there should be very sensitive minimum allocations.

            But by god you should see the savings when people have electricity meters inthe home, or sharp rises in petrol.

            • McFlock 10.2.1.1.1.1

              I think it might have been a reference to the wage&price freeze, which righties use to demonstrate that the free market is inexorable and overwhelming.
                     
              Pete isn’t usually so direct, though.
                      
              Of course, the difference between types of regulatory approach to price controls can be as broad as the difference between the respective approaches to tidal control used by King Canute and the Netherlands.

              • Ad

                Anyone who thinks the takeover of TelstraClear by Vodafone leaving just two players won’t affect competition hasn’t seen our two supermarket chains go head to head on a District Plan application. Something like cage fighting.

                As governments get weaker (as the drastically are here and in Europe), quasi-judicial and prosecutorial bodies like big regulators become the next best thing.

                Oh wait… the last politician to really break any stranglehold in the telco realm was … not a Nat. It was David Cunliffe under the Helen Clark regime. Telecom has never and will never recover. You can call him Canute any day … but watch out if you’re an oligopolist.

  11. ad 11

    Can anyone show me what Labour’s policy on freshwater allocation is please?

    I mean they have seen this Waitangi Tribunal Hearing come up, they can see the intersection of hydro-based power generation and water allocation coming up, so what’s their policy?

    Do they need more time in Opposition to sort some policy out?

    If they don’t have one, they are going to simply look weak like Shearer did with Sean Plunkett this week when Sean asked him: so if you’re asking the Maori Party to walk, would you do anything different to encourage them to join you as a government?

    And the answer was no. Shearer had no policy, and nothing fresh to offer.
    Shearer was just like Key.

  12. gobsmacked 12

    Facts, schmacts.

    Water 2012 = Beaches 2004/5. It’s just a word. A pushed button.

    It has nothing to do with the law, or any such niceties. It has everything to do with a clear and obvious strategy:

    1) National needs partners.

    2) ACT and UF are finished.

    3) The Maori Party has outlived its usefulness. After the next election … one MP? None?

    4) So … unless you’re a fool (e.g. Herald editorial writer), you can see where this is going.

    (Apologies to those of you who don’t need the blindingly obvious spelled out to them).

    Key just needs to say “Water” a lot, and rely on the Pavlovian reaction from the voters.

    He can also rely on the official opposition being stupid enough and spineless enough to let it happen.

    Third term: Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, and a portfolio for Colin Craig … Key will be “relaxed” about that. After all, the assets will already be half-gone.

    • Tom Gould 12.1

      Classic Tory dog whistle. Yet no-one calls him on it? Certainly not his craven media lapdogs. No-one owns water translates to ‘do you want Maori owning your water’? Light the touch paper and step back … again. Joyce will be beaming.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        Yeah… but the farmers will eventually wake up to the fact that the same dog whistle can be translated as “you filthy dairy farmers don’t own the water you are using and shitting in” either.

        Ultimately this “no-one own water” line can be translated as… “NO_ONE owns or has the right to use ANY natural resource”… and that’s a claim this Prime Minister has no longer has an answer to.

  13. Wyndham 13

    When Key says “nobody owns water” he omits the word “yet”.

    Don’t tell me that Nact have no plan to privatise water.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    On the water rights/ownership, Key was contradicted by the Crown’s own lawyer at the Tribunal today (Radio Live, midday news bulletin). He said he didn’t know what the Prime Minister was thinking. That’s a direct quote, from the reporter.

    I expect Labour’s media team will be putting out a statement within the hour, exposing this huge contradiction in the government’s position … nah, just kidding. They’ll have several meetings first, and maybe get around to it on Monday.

    • It will be interesting to see a direct quote from the hearing rather than from a reporter.

      Lawyer Paul Radich opened submissions for the Crown by saying it agrees Maori do have interests in fresh water and geothermal resources.

      Referring to Mighty River Power, he said the Crown was not selling 49% in water, but rather shares in a company.

      Mr Radich told the tribunal that in order to stop the share sale in Mighty River Power it would have to be proven that this would be the only way to establish fresh water rights for Maori.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/110613/crown-puts-forward-case-at-waitangi-tribunal

      “Maori do have interests in fresh water and geothermal resources” is fairly general terminology.

      • gobsmacked 14.1.1

        Pete, it was Radio Live. Not Radio NZ.

        In any case, the tribunal procedings are broadcast live on AM (Radio Waatea?). They are currently on a lunch break, back shortly.

        You don’t have to rely on blogs and second-hand spin. You can hear directly all the Crown statements you want. If you want. But you might need to remove fingers from your ears first.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    “Like it or not, water rights have been here for a long time, and Maori have a long standing claim. Whatever political game Key thinks he’s playing by bleating about no one owning water, the philosophy, policies and actions of his government give clear lie to his words.”

    Can’t quite understand what you’re getting at. Key clearly does recognise that Maori may have water rights, even if that doesn’t mean owning the actual water.

    From the article:

    They have a legitimate right, they have always historically had a connection with the river and they care passionately about that and we work with them,” he said “We don’t believe anybody owns water. What we do accept is that people own water rights.”

    It looks to me that Key is very much aware that Maori may have a legitimate interest in water rights, and is willing to work with them on that. So, I don’t really see where the problem is.

    • gobsmacked 15.1

      The Crown owns some water. This is an undisputed fact.

      Ergo, the Prime Minister is wrong.

      • tsmithfield 15.1.1

        “The Crown owns some water.”

        Got a cite for that?

        • Akldnut 15.1.1.1

          Saw a you tube clip of a young John key putting some water into a bottle whilst sitting at a computer during work.
          Thats the water he owns.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 15.1.2

        “Ergo, the Prime Minister is wrong.”

        Wrong, and badly informed. Or did he advise himself again? What a shambles.

  16. Deeper information and more analysis is emerging now the initial furore has diminished.

    Water row raises complex issues

    The campaign against asset sales that Labour and the Greens are running has become dangerously mixed up with Maori claims to water ownership.

    The Maori Council’s bid to delay the partial privatisation of four state-owned energy companies was at first seen as a welcome new angle of attack.

    But the Waitangi Tribunal hearings, where the council is seeking a finding that the share sales should be put on hold until water ownership claims are resolved, is being used as a platform for radical demands.

    The focus has shifted from the asset sales programme to whether or not Maori should own water.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Water-row-raises-complex-issues/tabid/1607/articleID/261222/Default.aspx

    I suspect intial hope that it might simply support the anti-asset sales campaign will have changed to major wariness of what might happen.

    While Labour always enjoys divisions between the Government and its partners, it needs to be very careful about the way it handles the water ownership fiasco.

    On this issue it can’t afford to be equivocal any more than the Government can.

    And it hardly needs reminding just how seriously Maori rights issues can threaten a Government.

    The NZMC presumably knew exactly what they wanted to achieve. Hopefully Labour have woken up from their anti-asset obsession.

  17. captain hook 17

    no amount of logorhea will disguise the fact that this government is venal greedy and without scruple or principle.
    They think they are captains of industry when they are just carpetbaggers wanting a free trip to the olympics and a minibar paid for by the people in some crummy hotel.

  18. Fortran 18

    When orcharding in the BOP we had a own water bore, which we drilled, on our land.
    Did we own the water ? We certainly used it at drought irrigation times and fruit processing.
    House was on mains but from a Council bore in the hills.

    • RedLogix 18.1

      Did we own the water ?

      No, but you controlled and used it as if you did. In pre-industrial times where resources where effectively ‘the commons’ there was usually nothing more to it than this. (Unless someone else wanted it from you…)

      But with billions of humans and all other life on the planet now competing for scarcer resources brute battle over every competing claim is not very efficient; so in all developed nations we have evolved a system of collective governance to which we give the task of sorting out these sorts of allocation issues.

      Normally it is the Regional or Local Councils who have the task of managing water resources in this country. They effectively act with the power to determine if your water bore in the BOP was a permissible activity. It was the local council who effectively conferred on you the right to use the water… at least in terms of current practise.

      The situation when your particular bore was being used may have been different then, but pretty much if you get any contractor to drill a hole these days, he’s going to ask to see your Resource Consent first.

      The day may well be approaching in this country when the water (like land did many centuries ago) becomes so valuable that instead of merely allocating you a Resource Consent because you successfully applied for one… you will have to buy title to it.

      Exactly as you did for the land your orchard was on.

  19. John Connor 19

    Id sell an unecessary organ I think thats well weighted if people are being helpful in their lives and giving their brains for free everyday, well OK, food water and shelter might xchange.

    Its odd that an entire techno-medical complex can profit from a donation but the initial cause (in their language) may not.

    This smells to me of the ether of MEDICAL DOCTOR PROTECTIONISM,etal;

    And archaic JUDEO-CHRISTIAN NONSENSE.(not sure how to do bold).

    There are a balance of outcomes for the donors who receive money but is there not for everyone under capitalism

    Imagine when the income is used “prudently” (sans italics too) the weight of decades of subsistence income can be achieved for human groupings instantly.

    Their Good Lord wept….

    Better voluntary than involuntary or necessity.

  20. John Connor 20

    And wot about “Suffer the little children……”

  21. gobsmacked 21

    So, six hours after I pointed out that the Crown lawyer had clearly contradicted the Prime Minister, 3 News have made it their lead political story tonight. It was there in black and white – and colour (One News also had a minor report).

    For the record, my media resources (not taxpayer-funded) are … dial-up on an old computer, and an old telly from the Warehouse. Plus some very slow typing.

    Excuse me, but what do the Opposition do all day? Are they waiting for the newspaper, or a carrier-pigeon?

  22. Foreign Waka 22

    Besides the now gloves off approach on all sides, the amount of damage this repulsive wrangle does to the country is beyond belief. Any farmer, investor, interest that could further the economic development of NZ – which incidentally falls more and more into a morass without anyone obviously noticing – will now look for other shores (Chile anyone?). NZ will be the looser and all that because of Power plays (no punt intended) – simply disgusting. Maori are not better, the display of opportunism is almost embarrassing to watch. I have heard more people mentioning leaving the country in the last 2 weeks than in the last two decades and I am not surprised.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      Leave the country? To go where?

      The vast soaksink of our excess labour pool known as Australia is circling the drain as we speak.

      2013 is going to be pretty ratshit economically IMO. Especially when unemployed Kiwis start flooding back to collect the dole here.

      • Foreign Waka 22.1.1

        Do you really belief that the world is NZ and Australia? There are many more countries that can offer a good life for people with skills. Not all of them are in the English speaking category though. However, skilled people will most likely also have the necessary language knowledge to settle and contribute somewhere else. Suffice to say that these are the ones that could have build trading bridges with other countries. Never mind, its all good.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 22.2

      *loser

      Excuse me? “Repulsive wrangle”?

      John Key didn’t do his homework and got his facts wrong, as the crown’s lawyers have made clear.
      Remind me how that fits into your alarmist narrative.

      Prime Ministerial air-head incompetence can certainly make investors nervous, but what has that got to do with Maori?

      • Pete George 22.2.1

        What facts did Key get wrong?

        The main thing he was lambasted for was that the Waitangi Tribunal findings could be ignored. It wasn’t a great choice of words but it was factually correct.

        He spoke about ownership of water – Pita Sharples said that one of the problems was that their is now direct equivalent word in Maori for ‘ownership’.

        The crown lawyer talked more of Maori rights with water.

        Tribunal members asked Radich about Key’s belief that Maori did not own water.

        He said he could not know what Key was thinking.

        He couldn’t know what Key was thinking, presumably he hasn’t been talking to Key. And as Sharples said, Maori ‘ownership’ is a hard concept to define clearly.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 22.2.1.1

          “…presumably he hasn’t been talking to Key…”

          So the crown’s lawyer hasn’t briefed his ministry of the position he’s going to take before the Tribunal?

          Or his ministry hasn’t informed the Prime Minister’s Office?

          Or the PM’s office hasn’t informed the air-head Prime Minister?

          Or the Air Head Prime Minister didn’t inform himself, even when briefed, even when it has a significant impact on his party’s flagship policy, the one they would swallow dead rats if only they could do it in the second term?

          Or the Air Head Prime Minister is playing the race card? Any which way you look at it the buck for the “repulsive wrangle” stops with him.

      • Pete George 22.2.2

        And there are varying concepts of ownershiop being expressed by Maori, even within the Maori Council.

        Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall said:

        “They’re not claiming to own the heavens and the rains, what they are saying is this stream right outside our marae that has always feed our people. We have used it and looked after it. We say that we have an interest for this particular stream.”

        For some hapu that would mean ownership rights, for others it was recognition of customary rights, she said.

        Have some of them “got their facts wrong”?

      • Foreign Waka 22.2.3

        Repulsive wrangle – yes, like so many things that seem to be getting out of hand with such ease. Manners have already left for better shore. Alarmist? Your comment makes me smile, – yes, smile, because when the investments start drying up and the locals don’t have any money left to bleed them dry for whatever reason (semantics really) the interesting time will start then.
        There are still some queries regarding the crown lawyers comment if you refer to the latest report.
        Whilst I am not for Asset sales because there is no mandate and I personally regard this as theft from the taxpayer, I am also in disagreement to have any party laying claim to water that is QUINTESSENTIAL to life, any life. To have this repulsive wrangle going on just shows disrespect and anyone with some dignity would not even start to contemplate laying claim to anyone’s (not just few) life sustaining source. Its money, that what it is. Simple and to the point. To disguise it as something else just makes it even more rotten. Visible from afar, KTH but perhaps not when standing up close.

  23. deemac 23

    English case law established that water rates are paid for delivery and collection of water, not the water itself. Metering presumably does not contradict this as you pay extra for using more because it costs more to deliver and collect.
    Don’t know if this has any relevance in NZ but law here is of course based on English system.

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