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Maori Party to make a stand?

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, September 15th, 2016 - 113 comments
Categories: Conservation, Maori Issues, maori party, same old national, treaty settlements - Tags:

The Maori Party are threatening to pull out of their confidence & supply agreement with National, as NRT has well-blogged in National’s arrogance bites it in the arse.  This would leave National with a Hair-thin majority in the House.

The legislation in question – the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary – is not at threat, even though Act will also not be supporting it due to the infringement on Maori property rights.  The Greens are committed to it, so it has the numbers.

But the blinding arrogance with which National declared the Sanctuary without any warning to Maori – let along consultation – was inevitably going to get up iwi noses.  They seem to have done their best to muck-up and hide something that should be a genuine win for them, popular across the political spectrum.

This should have been do-able with Maori endorsement, but instead they’ve created opposition.  The Maori Party growing a spine seems unlikely after all these years, but at some point they’ve got to realise that the constant doormat-like behaviour is going to result in their oblivion.  And who knows, this might be the point to make a stand, a year out from the election.

113 comments on “Maori Party to make a stand? ”

  1. Michelle 1

    The Maori party who I use to vote for need to get some guts or else they will be gone at the next election this is an issue of principle. But the gnats have no principles

    • Leftie 1.1

      And the Maori party have shown that they have no principles either. That’s why they are clinging to just 1 Maori seat now. They could very well be goneburgers next election.

    • Takere 1.2

      The Nat’s are playing a smart game.The Tainui-Maori Party aren’t likely to be around after next election. Replaced by the Green Party. New Kingmaker!
      Greens voting with the Nat’s to vote against Maori Treaty Property Rights. The Nat’s are maneuvering the Greens to see how far “Right” they’re prepared to go …. talking to them as we speak.

      • weka 1.2.1

        Whatever is going on with the Greens voting for this legislation, they are not in a position to support the formation of National Government after the next election. Although theoretically possible (I think there is technically a way for the exec to override normal GP process but it would destroy the party), the membership has said no to a coalition or C and S support for National and the caucus agrees.

  2. They have a spine and are not doormats. They just don’t fit within the parameters you think are important.
    Are labour going to oppose this – doubt it.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Similarly, are Labour going to oppose oil and gas drilling in NZ waters? Doubt it.

    • Are labour going to oppose this – doubt it.

      Are Labour going to oppose the creation of a huge marine sanctuary? Not if they’ve the sense they were born with…

      • marty mars 2.2.1

        Exactly they have form on changing the rules against Māori interests and this is known imo.

        • Leftie

          I guess that’s why Labour holds 6 out of 7 Maori seats and the Maori party only has 1.

          • marty mars

            I’m sure labour will do what’s best for labour and vote with john key and gloat all you want leftie, some memories are long and some are short.

            • Leftie

              No one is gloating over what the Nats and it’s Maori party, Act and Peter Dunne have done over the last 8 years. Maori party sure had short memories when they supported among other things, selling off the water rights when National sold off our revenue generating power companies and National’s Marine and Coastal Act, (that replaced the F&S) that caused Hone Harawira to walk away from the Maori Party.

              No one is gloating.

              • You are Mr Māori seats but your gloating is a floating like a boat down the river only it is a moat and you are in the boat with a goat who just ate your hope. Happy times smugly circling…

                • Leftie

                  Silly melodrama from you Marty Mars. There is nothing to gloat about.

                  • Then why bring up the seats – at least be honest.

                    • Leftie

                      Why am I not allowed to bring up the truth? I’m stating a bloody FACT Marty Mars. It’s the truth that the Labour party hold 6 out of 7 Maori seats and the Maori party have only 1!!! so I am being bloody honest, and it has nothing to do with gloating, that’s just you being defensive because you don’t want that fact being brought up for obvious reasons.

                    • It is a fact dropped in so you could feel superior thus gloat. Pretty common trait and that fact often trotted out like some kinghit – eñjoy your gloat

                    • Leftie

                      Bullshit Marty Mars, get over yourself. You can’t handle the truth that National’s Maori party has very little support left.

    • Leftie 2.3

      Marty Mars, you know the kermadec sanctuary was a Labour party idea, that John key stole in an attention seeking moment when he was on a world stage, even his National government didn’t know about it and were to be briefed upon his return. John key stuffed up, it’s not Labour’s fault. And the Maori party are spineless doormats.

      • marty mars 2.3.1

        No but doesn’t surprise me that theyd come up with greenwash no wonder key nicked it. We’ll see if any labour mps have backbone or if like you they fall in to the party line hook and sinker – eat up little fishy.

        • Leftie

          I don’t eat fish. Don’t blame me or Lab/Greens for John key’s cock up Marty Mars. Lets wait and see if the suck up Maori party has any backbone, Keith in his comment has them pegged right. The Maori party has form.

    • Takere 2.4

      No need to for Labour to do much (See MOU). Greens loss, Labour gain.

  3. Ad 3

    They are clear they are doing it because they simply work for fishing corporations. Who happen to have some shareholding from iwi interests.

    They should not lie and say this is standing up for Maori people.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    “This should have been do-able with Maori endorsement, but instead they’ve created opposition.”

    I can’t actually see any scenario in which the sanctuary would be preserved and have Maori party endorsement.

    I hope the MP walks but I would have preferred the issue which made them walk was one which didn’t have broad popular support across the electorate.

    They have supported dozens of anti-worker legislation yet are going to take a stand on this – like really? They are a joke

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Yep, that’s the way I’m reading it.

      The lack of consultation by National on this is a concern (although to be expected by such authoritarian types) but you don’t oppose something this good of such flimsy grounds especially when there’s obvious commercial interest involved.

    • Ad 4.2

      Bought and sold

    • billmurray 4.3

      E is E, the Maori party will win this one, John Key will back down, he needs them for his fourth term.
      The problem for Key is that Labour may gain in the Maori seats leaving Key with egg over his face and no fourth term.
      This is political dynamite and what will be of vital importance is Winston viewpoint once some sort of settlement occurs.

  5. Takere 5

    Neckminit ..Tuku Underpants will instruct “his” MP’s to, take the money! The Kupapa Maori-Tainui Inc party will sellout for a price. More importantly, the National Govt has decided now that NZ is a two class systems. Apartheid? Two sets of Law….one for everyone-else & another for all things Maori. Iwi not Kiwi??…John Ansell suck on that!

  6. Chris 6

    The Maori Party have been gearing up to extract themselves from the nats for a while now. This is just grist for the mill.

    • Takere 6.1

      It’ll be difficult for them to do that. They have more to lose …last election they got 1.34%, about 31,000 votes. Only 4,400 from the Waikato/Hauraki region. Now that they’ve re-branded themselves as the iwi based Tainui Inc. They’ll lose a big chunk of their 31,000ish party vote. It’ll be hard for them to “extract their tongue from the Nat’s arsehole” as well. So I reckon they capitulate and roll over like a dog…

      • Chris 6.1.1

        Some wishful thinking on my part, I know. But given Hone’s hatred towards Key surely he wouldn’t agree to anything that helped the Maori Party if that would in any way benefit the nats?

        • Takere

          Hone could get Greensil to stand again in the Waikato/Hauraki electorate and then he can do what Nga Puhi do best … do a runner and take a chunk of the 31,000 party vote with him too from those feeling that they can no longer vote for a Iwi based party?

          • Chris

            Do you think that Hone in a situation like that could be so Machiavellian?

            • Takere

              Haha! Yes. You probably know already … Mattchiavellian-McCarten has in the past advised Hone over the years and being a free agent now I’m sure their paths cross more frequently?

              • Chris

                Perhaps, but I guess I don’t see Hone ever wanting to be like that. But I do see his hatred of Key and everything Key stands for.

                This is why it’s interesting to see what’s at the heart of the Mana / Maori Party “strategy”. As I said before, Hone won’t do anything that advantages Key. If we assume this to the case then any “strategy” seems possible only on the basis of the Maori Party cutting itself loose from the nats.

                There’s been a lot of talk on here about the Maori Party being “shackled” to Key, that they’ll never want to give up the baubles, that they’ll continue to sell-out and so on. But people in the Maori Party are not neo-libs. You can call them lots of other things, opportunists, sell-outs, naive or whatever, but they’re not neo-libs. And now that Clark and Turia have gone, or at least geographically, and that perhaps there’s a realisation that the “it’s better to be inside the tent” approach hasn’t delivered for Maori, I’m wondering whether something bigger’s brewing. This is all speculation of course, but it all comes back to Hone’s hatred of Key.

  7. Keith 7

    Gee whiz, its dawned on the Maori party that being the Nat’s little shaved poodle is a bad look but thus far they have not had the balls to have the company cars taken off them. So now, facing electoral oblivion because that is what any National Party support apparatus deserves, someone and I can’t possibly guess who, has decided to look all staunch and play chicken with National, fully knowing Key will cave in. Fuck some stupid sanctuary eh John, I mean you can’t make a quick buck off that shit now can ya? Just as long as you can cling to power!

    Then they’ll strut around falsely telling the voters they ain’t the Nat’s lickspittles but of course we know they are and just as culpable. They are as up to their eyeballs in the poverty, homelessness and the hopelessness created by their government as National are. And next election they’ll sign on the dotted line with the Nat’s in a kiss and make up, forelock tugging session of epic bullshit proportions, that’s if they scrape back in.

    What a farce!

  8. alwyn 8

    Can anyone explain where the Fisheries Settlement ever specifically mentions the Kermadec area, and therefore why there are guaranteed fishery rights there?
    The only things I found were guaranteed percentages of the quota for each species.
    I’ll admit it was a pretty quick look but if anyone knows where access to fishing in the Kermadec’s is specifically mentioned can they help?
    In the absence of this I can’t see why any access needs to be provided. As long as the required quota percentages are available I would have thought that would meet the conditions of the settlement.

    • It’s simple enough: you do a settlement deal with Maori that involves fishing rights. A while later you tell the media “OK, we’re declaring x-thousand sq km to be excluded from fishing rights.” At that point, regardless of whether these particular sq km were explicitly mentioned in the settlement and regardless of whether Maori are actually fishing in that area or not, you just unilaterally changed the settlement deal. You should expect excrement to meet spinning blades, and you should fire the pillock who thought unilaterally changing the deal wouldn’t be a problem.

  9. There have been some comments that imply it is simply a greed issue. Regarding Maori fishing interests I doubt that is the case and driving motive. If it was , we would have seen large fleets in the Kermadec’s already.

    We haven’t. And even if the Kermadec’s were never to be set aside as a sanctuary , we wouldn’t have. So we can confidently write that angle off.

    So that leave’s the other motive which is two pronged.

    1) The fact ( as was reported ) that at the U.N meeting John Key announced it to become a no -go sanctuary only hours after Iwi first heard about it. Therefore there was virtually no dialogue between interested party’s. There should of been.

    2) The binding conditions under the Treaty of Waitangi. The manner in which this is being done can create a precedent of shifting the goal posts in not only Treaty of Waitangi issues but in other areas of private property, propriety and so on in favor of an arbitrary govt overruling of our legal system. And that’s dangerous.

    And because surreptitiously this issue was stitched up beforehand, its created division, ….its cold comfort for Maori fisheries to hear Key announce they have the ‘ numbers’… the only saving grace here and the only Ace card is that the Maori party can counter that by withdrawing future support.

    And while Key is confident of the numbers, he still would prefer Maori party support come 2017. Personally I would prefer Ken Mairs course of action : walk away. But more moderate Maori party leaders will more than likely buy into a deferral situation…. keeping things on the back burner til after 2017.

    But what happens on this issue has the potential to set a precedent for not only Maori,- but those in the wider community as well. And that’s why this is important.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      2) The binding conditions under the Treaty of Waitangi. The manner in which this is being done can create a precedent of shifting the goal posts in not only Treaty of Waitangi issues but in other areas of private property, propriety and so on in favor of an arbitrary govt overruling of our legal system. And that’s dangerous.

      So you are trying to assert that part of the Maori Party’s motivation is the defence of private property rights specifically and overarching propriety in general?

      What the fuck?

      • WILD KATIPO 9.2.1

        The Maori party itself may not directly be in the ‘defense of private property rights specifically and overarching propriety in general ‘…

        But because of the nature of this issue it affects all of us,… insofar as the very method and principles being used so far by the govt. Moreover, and more succinctly is Ken Mair of Te Ohu Kaimoana… ( which is separate from the Maori party) , – what we see here is the tension between upholding private property , propriety – particularly after the fact of legally binding settlements under a treaty.

        Insofar as govt intrusions on citizens lawful rights/entitlements . The fact it just so happens to affect Maori in this case is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact govt has not adequately negotiated with the interested party’s and hence stands to contravene that settlement process. And therefore breach the legality upon which the Treaty is based. And set a precedent for future abuses.

        And that situation is easily extrapolated into other issues affecting other demographics of the population, hence the precedent for govt abuse.

        • Colonial Viper

          But because of the nature of this issue it affects all of us

          I’m happy for there to be a marine reserve around the Kermadecs and for corporate fishers to be kept well away.

          I’m suspicious of people who want to undermine that effort for their own abstract, conceptual reasons.

          Insofar as govt intrusions on citizens lawful rights/entitlements .

          = govt intrusions on corporation’s lawful rights/entitlements.

          • Psycho Milt

            I’m happy for there to be a marine reserve around the Kermadecs and for corporate fishers to be kept well away.

            Is there anyone on the thread who isn’t?

            I’m suspicious of people who want to undermine that effort for their own abstract, conceptual reasons.

            So, Maori should ignore Whitey trampling all over their Treaty rights yet again, because it’s all in a good cause? That’s not going to happen, shouldn’t happen, and non-Maori have got a fucking cheek asking for it to happen. We all want a marine reserve around the Kermadecs, but it has to be negotiated with the interested parties and wasn’t – blame the dumb fucks who ignored the interested parties, not Maori who want their Treaty rights respected.

            • marty mars

              Another good comment – to the point.

            • Colonial Viper

              You are right I think every time the Government wants to set aside a conservation reserve, or take conservation measures, it should first engage with all affected commercial and corporate interests first and take their views into account before doing a thing.

              In this way National has acted very inconsistently to how it has managed, say, our regional waterway quality.

              • This is a Treaty thing NOT a commercial or corporate interest thing.

                • Leftie

                  Not just Treaty, “commercial or corporate interest” is still part of it though.

                  • no, just Treaty – read the bloody links fella instead of shooting off from the mouth.

                    ad’s (failure to provide evidence for his nasty bullshit) link above

                    “The Chairman of Te Ohu Kaimoana, Jamie Tuuta, said today it is extremely disappointing that talks with the Government have been unable to resolve major Treaty differences.

                    “Te Ohu Kaimoana and iwi representatives worked hard to find a compromise solution where the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary could go ahead and where Māori would not have extant rights, as agreed in the 1992 Deed of Settlement, unilaterally expropriated by the Government.”

                    ““We considered that an offer to voluntarily shelve the use of Māori fisheries quota in the Kermadec region while maintaining extant fishing rights would achieve the same thing. While ultimately iwi quota owners would have needed to agree, we considered this was a constructive and reasonable solution to the impasse,” Mr Tuuta said.

                    Te Ohu Kaimoana expressed this offer through drafting an amendment to the Bill. The Environment Minister Hon Dr Nick Smith accepted much of our wording, but changed the text to explicitly exclude ongoing use of the quota.

                    “Unfortunately, the Minister accepts nothing but legal nullification of all Māori rights in the Kermadec region. We have made it abundantly clear, over a number of meetings, that such a position is unacceptable to iwi. We therefore have no choice but to step back from discussions.”

                    Iwi and Te Ohu remain committed to conservation efforts that protect areas of the marine environment that require it, but not in the manner that unnecessarily expropriates fishing rights returned to iwi through the settlement with the Crown.

                    “In this respect, Māori and iwi are both pro-conservation and anti-theft,” Mr Tuuta said.”

                    do yourself a favour bud – read it before replying

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      and so on in favor of an arbitrary govt overruling of our legal system. And that’s dangerous.

      And wow, now the Maori Party is defending the entire nation against the Crown’s dangerous tendency towards absolutism?

      The honour and principle within that party really is something to behold.


      • marty mars 9.3.1

        Yep when it affects Māori it affects everyone here.

        • Leftie

          It sure did when the Maori party sold out.

          • marty mars

            Yes i get your lines – gloatboy.

            The fact is that what I wrote Is true but you only see the negative – no surprise there.

            • Leftie

              But what I wrote is true though Marty Mars. You’re struggling to defend the indefensible.

              • It is only true that they sold out based on YOUR view, YOUR values. Sold out is subjective – it isn’t that hard to understand.

                • Leftie

                  Yet you continue to struggle in your denials. It’s not just my view though, the facts speak for themselves.

                  • You are the most infuriating person to try and explain things to and I’ve had enough of it – keep your bile against those you don’t understand, keep your sanctimonious innocent ignorance, and keep your sellout hypocrisy.

                    • Leftie

                      Lol that’s rich Marty Mars. An abusive rampage against me or anyone else that doesn’t suffer the same blindness that you have in regards to the Maori party doesn’t explain anything. You’re in denial.

                    • No one has any campaign dick. You are just unable to understand simple concepts and you repeat slogans like you’ve just thought of them. As for abuse – you abuse great swathes of people calling them the most horrible things and you then smugly sit back santimoniously decrying my attempt at some basic balance and nuance to counter your cartoon thoughts.

                    • Leftie

                      That is a load of sanctimonious claptrap you wrote Marty Mars. You still remain in denial.

                    • Leftie


      • Leftie 9.3.2

        +1 Colonial Viper

      • WILD KATIPO 9.3.3

        @ CV

        You may use sarcasm and feigned disbelief, but the point is this could quite possibly become a touchstone and a case in point for future govt dealings not only with the public but also for other smaller business concerns.

        Coupled with the fact that John Key continually tried to feed the line that the TTPA will , in no way shape or form , impinge upon the Treaty of Waitangi,- yet here we have the same John Key a short time later pandering to offshore accords and requirements while surreptitiously ensuring he has the ‘ numbers ‘ to wave the big stick regardless of any dissenting views.

        As stated in the NZ Herald , John Key announced the Kermadecs as a no- go area at the U.N summit only hours after Iwi first heard about it. He values currying favor with that body rather than first ensuring that the arrangement was worked out properly – that does not give anyone confidence he is dealing in good faith but rather a sly and cunning way of getting around any potential domestic dissensions – banking on the fact that it will probably not reach the U.N anyway.

        If Key cannot even avoid the temptation to overrule the legally binding legislation of the Treaty of Waitangi at this early stage ,… what can we make of his hollow promise that the TTPA ‘ will not affect the Treraty of Waitangi in the future?

        And again, – extrapolating – what faith can we put in John Key honoring his words that the TTPA will have adverse effects and not be in the best interests for NZ small business /workers when faced off against large offshore corporate conglomerates?

        And so therefore we see, … that the very relevance of this Kermadec issue is far , far greater in potential than first meets the eye. And not just for Maoridom.

      • WILD KATIPO 9.3.4

        I would also like to add that the Kermadec region was included in Treaty of Waitangi settlements regarding fisheries. The fact that Te Ohu Kaimoana has not chosen to fish those waters is irrelevant .

        I would put to you and others that the propriety issues cannot be simply overruled either. An example is if you owned a family home in Auckland yet had purchased land in Northland which lies vacant. You are still the legal owner of that land. Irrespective .

        Therefore , if the govt wishes to use that land adequate notification and dialogue should take place in ‘ good faith’ . That has not happened regarding the Kermadecs and fishery rights.

        You cant have things both ways. Or else the whole premise on which you base legal ownership becomes null and void – meaningless.

        • Colonial Viper

          I’d want to see some independent legal opinions first before I take your word that the Government’s actions in establishing this marine reserve threatens to extinguish the private property rights of New Zealanders who own Northland real estate.

          I would also like to add that the Kermadec region was included in Treaty of Waitangi settlements regarding fisheries.

          In general terms, I have yet to see a convincing reason that the Crown should be limited in its ability to prevent commercial extractive corporate interests from exploiting environmentally sensitive regions including the sea and sea floor.

          In this specific instance however, if the Kermadec Region was explicitly referred to in the Treaty of Waitangi settlements regarding fisheries then I agree that the Crown needed to take that fact into account in the process that they used around developing proposals for this marine reserve.

          However, unlike your example of some Northland property expropriated by the Crown, I find it difficult to see how a realisable financial loss of any kind has been suffered by property owners via the implementation of the marine reserve.

          • WILD KATIPO

            Indeed… the property comparison doesn’t truly convey the issue with the Kermadecs. But the core issue of the Kermadecs being part of the ( 1992) settlements of the Treaty of Waitangi is really at issue. Maoridom were given that area as part of their rights.

            Frankly, like many here , I support the idea of a marine sanctuary.

            But as importantly it seems to me is the issue of our own preservation of legislation and legal systems , in other words, the validity and assuredness that laws passed means something : that no govt , current or future can easily tamper with our legal system at whim, politically or otherwise.

            And I believe that in regards to the Kermadec issue , that this govt has been quite presumptuous and treated due process with contempt. This is why I stressed that it is an issue that ultimately affects all New Zealanders.

            This year it may be the Kermadecs, next year it could be another issue, ie: allowing fracking by a large oil corporation – overriding the wishes of the general public… it was not so long ago that the idea of mining in our national parks was put forwards …

            Another point is that we are talking an internal domestic issue,.. concerning fellow New Zealanders… and if New Zealanders can be so easily overruled legally and have rights extinguished… what security would we have if the TTPA came into effect?

            ( I personally don’t believe it will come to that – hopefully )

            Would Key and future govts gain confidence from the Kermadec issue and start to believe they can just overrule the public of New Zealand’s best interests in favour of multi nationals who deemed our govt was inhibiting their profits in conducting activity’s here? And thus sue our govt / the public of this country ?

            That is certainly a possibility.

            Finally ,… I believe that if proper dialogue and negotiations had been done in a respectful manner to begin with , the Kermadecs would never have been an issue.

            As one Maori negotiator has said ” this could have been a gift to the world from Aotearoa – now its just a John Key and Nick Smith thing”…. basically Key snubbed both the Maori perspective and the legal nature of the Treaty of Waitangi in one fell blow.

  10. Btw desecrating the tino rangatiratanga flag is offensive to me as an activist.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    BTW love the graphic, just my kind of thing.

  12. Cinny 12

    Will the Maori Party make a stand? Bahahahahahaha ahahahhaha LMFAO ROFL

    Yeah, nah, those fellas sold out long ago, Maori Party have helped the outgoing PM to increase inequality, poverty and homelessness in our country. Shameful of them.

    It appears to me the Maori Party lost their morals along with their courage years ago.

  13. dukeofurl 13

    Doesnt the recent Court of Arbitartion ruling on Chinas ‘islands and atolls’ in the SCS mean that the Kermadecs is NOT island group which can sustain a human settlement and therefore the ‘resources around the islands ‘ are not NZs to give as a fishing ground.

    One rule for China and a different rule for NZs far away islands.

    Norfolk island is 750km from Cape reinga while its 1029km from North cape to Raoul Is

    Thats distance is further than the disputed atolls and islands in SCS is from Hainan is

    • dukeofurl 13.1

      Heres the broader issues
      “The Meaning of an “Island”
      “The Meaning of an “Island”
      Whether intended or not, the tribunal’s ruling on lawful claims to maritime zones in the South China Sea has much broader implications for all parties to UNCLOS. By offering an interpretation of what constitutes an “island” that can generate a two-hundred-nautical-mile EEZ, the tribunal created a international legal precedent about what constitutes a lawful EEZ claim from naturally formed land features.

      That is, the tribunal has not only limited China’s lawful claims in the South China Sea under the convention. It has also potentially limited the lawful claims that other states can make from land features that would fail the test offered by the tribunal. Many states claim a two-hundred-nautical-mile EEZ from land features that would clearly be rocks and not islands according to the tribunal’s ruling. Japan, for example, claims a two-hundred-nautical-mile EEZ from Okinotorishima, a coral reef that consists of three rocks that are above high tide. The United States, too, claims EEZs from similar features, such as Kingman Reef in Micronesia. Under the precedent established by the tribunal, these features may not be entitled to the EEZ that states claim from them. In this way, the tribunal’s ruling has much broader implications for how all states interpret lawful claims under the convention.”

      Most of the discussion has been about what is a ‘rock or an atoll’ but for those natural features which are true islands the test is whether it can support a sustainable human existence for it to then claim a 200 n mile EEZ

      The Kermadecs which are almost 1100 km from the NZ littoral are no different from Chinas claims

    • Wayne 13.2


      From the Law of the Sea Convention perspective the Kermadecs are completely different from the reclaimed airbase islands in the South China Sea. This is not based on their distance from the mainland, but their characteristics as islands.

      The Kermadecs have had human settlement to a greater or lesser extent for 500 years. The largest is thousands of hectares in extent.

      The reclaimed atolls in the South China Sea were tiny rocks (meters in diameter) and in the case of one atoll, there were no rocks above the high tide.

      So the NZ EEZ around the Kermadecs is completely valid because the islands are self evidently inhabitable and as a result the EEZ is universally recognised.

      The Arbitral Tribunal held that reclaimed islands based on rocks that are not permanantly above high water do not even support a 12 mile territorial sea. There has to be a sufficiently large rock above high water. Think Rockall in the North Atlantic which is probably the minimum size to support a territorial sea. But because Rockall is completely uninhabitable (and this is not contested) it does not support a EEZ.

      However, I expect the Philippines and the other ASEAN nations will recognise that China can have a 12 mile territorial sea around the three reclaimed islands. This will then result in universal acceptance of that fact. The settlement might be on the basis that China undertakes not to do any other large scale reclamations in the South China Sea.

      • Macro 13.2.1

        Exactly. These are not reclaimed “aircraft carriers” intended to extend China’s territorial rights.

      • dukeofurl 13.2.2

        The trouble with that is some of the SCS are in fact ‘proper islands’. Every one has been confused over the reclaimed atolls.

        Taiwan currently has control of Taiping Is , the largest of the Spratly group

        “The island is administered by the Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan), as part of Cijin, Kaohsiung. It is also claimed by the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines and Vietnam. In 2016, in a ruling by an arbitral tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the case brought by the Philippines against China, the tribunal classified Itu Aba as a “rock” under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (and therefore not entitled to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf)” Wikipedia

        Just because Raoul Island is permanently manned (?) makes it no different to Taiping/Itu Aba – which has a small harbour and its own runway.

        The key part of the Tribunal ruling ( which negates all the claims by Vietnam, Phillipines and China /Taiwan is that the ‘real islands’ have to support habitation without outside support
        “For an island to have full entitlements under Article 121, the tribunal held that the any population on the island must rely upon “local and not imported” support and be capably of supporting general populations. This directly contrasts with small outposts that are designed to support a sovereignty claim. ”

        Clearly no one else claims the Kermadecs and NZ has no claim on the closer Norfolk island ( which does sustainably support its population!)

        The result is that NZ does not have a 200nm EEZ around the Kermadecs but Australia does around Norfolk

    • Stuart Munro 13.3

      The islands must support civil habitation – usually meaning they have potable water.

      Nice story of an idyllic pre-neoliberal existence on the Kermadecs here:


      They clearly supported settlement in the sense of being islands rather than rocks or atolls. That legal distinction is of course losing force as the ability to engineer environments improves. Korea maintains civilian residents on the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima/Lioncourt ‘rocks’ for example, and have upgraded water facilities to the point that the former designation is probably no longer true.

      • dukeofurl 13.3.1

        Some of the Spratleys have potable water like similar coral atolls in the pacific. Thats a very narrow part of the UNLOS ruling

        A similar disputed group is the Senkakus close to both Taiwan and China but controlled by Japan. They are volcanic and ‘more similar’ to Raoul, the no EEZ ruling would apply here as well- to Chinas advantage

        • Tarquin

          A bit off topic but quite interesting, there are large rocks lying around on Henderson Bay that came from the Kermadecs last time they blew up. Would have been a bad day at the beach when that happened. The whole area is very active and could go off again any time, hopefully I’ll be somewhere else that day. Who should we send the damages bill to?

  14. AveJoe 14

    Did the Maori Party almost not vote for that bill that was designed to protect migrant workers on treaty grounds? Can anyone enlighten me?

  15. AveJoe 15

    Clearly opposing in any way the right of iwi to sell their quota to Koreans running slave ships in areas they never traditionally fished is racist…

    Lordy, you’d almost think they planned it this way.

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