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Tribunal calls for asset sale delay

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, August 24th, 2012 - 63 comments
Categories: bill english, cartoons, john key, Maori Issues, Privatisation - Tags:

Just up this afternoon on Stuff:

The Government must halt its asset sales programme until Maori water rights can be sorted out, the Waitangi Tribunal says.

And Tom Scott this morning in the DomPost:

 Says it all really – National’s wheels are coming off.

lprent updating: Link to decision is here.

In the national interest and the interests of the Crown-Maori relationship, we recommend that the sale be delayed while the Treaty partners negotiate a solution to this dilemma.

The Crown will be in breach of Treaty principles if it proceeds to sell shares without first providing Maori with a remedy or rights recognition, or at least preserving its ability to do so,

In our view, the recognition of the just rights of Maori in their water bodies can no longer be delayed . The Crown admitted in our hearing that it has known of these claims for many years, and has left them unresolved.

Quotes lifted from Michael Bott on Facebook.
Ouch…

63 comments on “Tribunal calls for asset sale delay”

  1. “In the national interest and the interests of the Crown-Maori relationship, we recommend that the sale be delayed while the Treaty partners negotiate a solution to this dilemma.”

    Cat meet pidgeons. 

  2. Peter 2

    Yeah, it’s an excellent finding, but what disturbs me is the lack of comment (published or otherwise) from Labour. Surely the country’s largest political party would be available to comment, in the same way that comments were received from NZF, the Greens, and the Mana Party?

    • It is only just out Peter.  The decision is 217 pages.  The Tribunal did extraordinarily well in preparing this in such a short time.  I think time is needed to digest it.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        So the other opposition parties have better speed readers than ours?

        The Waitangi Tribunal has come out against the asset sales process. Saying that it appears to be the right decision would cost Labour nothing.

        • fatty 2.1.1.1

          “So the other opposition parties have better speed readers than ours?”

          Harawira managed a response…a good one too.

          • gobsmacked 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes, it’s not a “biggie” but it is a small illustration of Labour’s failings. We all knew the report was coming out this afternoon, and we pretty much knew what it would say. So you don’t start typing once you’ve read the report – you have something ready to go. Spin is not about digesting all the details – that comes later, after the headlines.

            There should be a Shearer soundbite on the 6pm news – “Kiwis know you can’t sell your house while the lawyers and the council are fighting over the property”, that kind of thing.

            • often puzzled 2.1.1.1.1.1

              David Shearer DID comment on the radio national programme news along with the Greens and Mana about 5’oclock.

        • Carol 2.1.1.2

          It looks to me like, either they had a copy of the Tribunal report earlier, or the press releases by the Green, Mana & NZ First Parties were prepared before the report came out:

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/

          Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
          Friday, 24 August 2012, 4:22 pm
          Press Release: Green Party

          The Government Needs to Stop and Listen
          Friday, 24 August 2012, 4:01 pm
          Press Release: Mana Party

          PRESS RELEASE

          Embargoed until 4.00 pm Friday 24th August

          MANA Leader Hone Harawira

          The Government Needs to Stop and Listen

          New Zealand Water Rights a Total Mess – Peters
          Friday, 24 August 2012, 4:08 pm
          Press Release: New Zealand First Party

          Rt Hon Winston Peters
          New Zealand First Leader
          24 August 2012

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.2.1

            Hmm OK.

            Labour’s sign off process is somewhat laborious and needs to be made more nimble. 

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.2.2

            It looks to me like, either they had a copy of the Tribunal report earlier, or the press releases by the Green, Mana & NZ First Parties were prepared before the report came out:

            I would say both.

            Labour’s Maori caucus should have been able to get a heads up mid this week. And preparing a couple of draft versions ahead of time, one of which could be released with a 10 minute spruce up, is a no brainer.

            • gobsmacked 2.1.1.2.2.1

              They could have just listened to Radio Live between 2 and 3 pm, where Winston Peters told us when it was coming out, and what it would say.

          • gobsmacked 2.1.1.2.3

            A statement from Shearer –

            http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1208/S00379/government-should-halt-asset-sales-plan.htm

            Could have been written yesterday.

            • Carol 2.1.1.2.3.1

              Well, in this instance it doesn’t seem to be that Labour has been that far behind other opposition parties in commenting – not like some other issues when they’ve been silent for 12 hours or more.

              And most people are still working or commuting, so wouldn’t notice. More important is the content of the statements, and how they are presented.

              These days the biggest number of people get their news from the 6pm TV broadcasts. So let’s see how that goes.

              And the Maori Party?

            • Dr Terry 2.1.1.2.3.2

              Possibly better Shearer said nothing, his silence might me more convincing than his cliched words!

              Now watch for how much “respect” Key will show for Maori opinion!

  3. mike 3

    John Key considering his options for a response:

    a) No comment.

    b) Just say “I’m not bovvered.”

    c) Ignore it.

    d) Say your going to listen, then ignore it.

    e) Say your lawyer said it’s cool if you ignore it.

    f) Talk about euthanasia some more, then ignore it.

    g) Call it a ‘political decision’.

    h) Accept that sweet job offer from Goldman Sachs.

    • fatty 3.1

      my guess is B, my hope is H

    • CnrJoe 3.2

      its dynnamic innit

    • Shaz 3.3

      Or “this is just one finding of one Tribunal and I’m sure another one would take a different view”.

      🙂

    • Ianmac from Vietnam 3.4

      i) That is just one opinion. I know of many who will give me a different view.

    • Jackal 3.5

      It’s my guess the rightwing spindoctors will have good long thunk about it before making up some lame excuse and flagging the whole thing. Key will defer the announcement to protect his teflon brand and be conveniently out of the country… Perhaps even groveling to his corporate masters in the US. While spinning hard to try and make it look like they’re listening to what the public wants, National will continue to lose ground for wasting huge amounts of taxpayer money on their ideologically blinded neoliberal agenda. I guess the Nats can just sack a few thousand more public servants to make up the shortfall eh!

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Looks like the Tribunal has been quite smart – they’ve been accommodating to the Gov’t by issuing an early interim report, on the date requested (ordered) by Bill English.

    The interim report has said “delay, and you might be able to sort this out”. So they haven’t been obstructive. Basically it’s a challenge – “ignore us if you dare”, though obviously in much nicer language.

    If I were Key and co I’d delay, because they can recoup the lost political capital later. If they push on they could screw up the whole asset sales plan – not enough “Mums and Dads” buying in, not enough cash for the books.

    They’re probably arrogant enough to push on, though. They reckon they’re bullet-proof, given the state of Labour. Time to prove them wrong with some leadership, please.

    • I am afraid, terrified, that the only lost political capital will be the Maori Party buffer.  And they will gain from an enraged redneck reaction to the judgment.

      • gobsmacked 4.1.1

        Yes, there may be a redneck reaction, but ultimately the first sale (Mighty River) has to generate the cash. If it flops, the economic failure should trump the race-wedge.

    • GregM 4.2

      Tend to agree,Gobsmacked.
      The best thing the Govt. could do is exactly what the Waitangi tribunal recommends. The tribunal has made it clear they are NOT against the partial sale, but do require acknowledgement of the tangatawhenua’s relationship to natural resources.
      My gut feeling, the first of the sales will go ahead, but in a more considered manner, but the later “items on the block” will be removed from offer.
      Interesting times ahead. Greg.

  5. Coolas 5

    Thank you Waitangi Tribunal. ‘Treaty partners negotiate a solution to this dilema.’

    Key has to negotiate or legislate. Either way asset sales are delayed. Either way he’s in for a very rough ride, and I doubt he’s got the stamina or will for what’s coming.

    It’s hard to believe Key Corp got such bad legal advice. Especially with unresolved water rights claims ‘in process.’

    Most interesting will be Key’s attitude toward the Treaty and ‘Partnership.’ Abuse from Banks is certain. Off to watch news. Could be better than Coro.

    • Carol 5.1

      Ah well, accidents and crime trumps the most important political news of the day.

      What a disgrace our news media have become!

    • Dr Terry 5.2

      Coolas. Key might not have the stamina (depends on Joyce for that) or the will (English shouts out the orders), but he does have low down graft and cunning. Moreover, he knows too well that he is a successful gambler.

  6. Foreign Waka 6

    Seems to me a wealth transfer from all NZlaenders in any case. So really, the ones resigning to a loss all the way are the ones loosing which ever way. Politically, these are the votes which will now turn from “asset sales – yes, no. It’s a no” to “loose the tax paid money to a/ or b/”. Hence two flies with one hit. Asset sales will go through and a wedge has been firmly driven between races. (Not everyone has an academic point of view). Well, that was well played.

    • Carol 6.1

      Yes, but the Maori water issue is not the only problem with asset sales…. asset sales that a large proportion of NZers are opposed to.

      • Foreign Waka 6.1.1

        Precisely, this is why the Tribunal is now lodging a claim (why not before the election?). So it will end up like this: Assets will be sold and everybody who has just had the proverbial theft experience has now to pay for the Maori claim as well. Hallelujah, how many times can you shaft one person?

    • OneTrack 6.2

      Foreign Waka – you got it in one. Even if the sales don’t go ahead now, the rest of the country will be paying higher power charges in order to pay the treaty “property rights” (whatever you do dont call it ownership – dont want to scare the horses). High-five!

      Time to start planning for the next claim – air maybe?

  7. richard 7

    Nats Asset Sales programme = CLUSTERFUCK

  8. Carol 8

    O.M.G.! The Herald is shameless !

    I refuse to click on the link at the top of their website to a video of Key’s immediate reaction to the asset sales shambles dance party.

    🙄

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    A view from overseas.

    If you tell market participants overseas you are launching an IPO (initial public offering) they will assume you are drugged or an idiot. Business sucks, everywhere. Money is fleeing shares and going into bonds. I think Key is a smart market watcher and knows he has missed his window of opportunity.

    Coming soon to a news program near you: John Key blames the European credit crisis for the low prices being offered for Mighty River shares but says we should go ahead anyhow.

    So is the purpose of the sale to get a good price for the people’s infrastructure or to simply get it away from them at any price?

    • AmaKiwi 9.1

      Correction: Is the purpose to get them into his family trusts at the lowest possible price?

      • mike 9.1.1

        Financial elites buying up strategic assets at bargain prices in times of economic crisis is a very old game.

        But if the price gets driven too low he surely won’t be able to justify selling at all. Then what does he have to show for his time in power except broken promises, record unemployment, and one crushed car? (Not that I think selling assets would be any kind of achievement.)

  10. xtasy 10

    This is a dilemma. I expected this decision, for sure. But where will it lead to. We had this with fisheries and other issues. This is an open invitation to Key and his government to bring in smart ‘brinkmanship” or whatever you may call it.

    One thing I have learned as a migrant from an non anglo saxon country is: NOTHING is holy, nothing is lasting, nothing is reliable, nothing is valuable and not sellable!

    We will have exactly another repeat of that principle, namely that NOTHING is not sellable and not negotiable. The Crown will go about and do it yet again, go into negotiations and work out numerous individual deals, offering some monetary or interest based rights and compensation, to BUY OFF the iwi and Maori Council.

    It is now up to the Maori Council also to show true colours. Are you going to act in the interest of the whole of Aoteaoroa, or only for the interests of a selected few circles and elitarian interest holders in your quarters?

    We are at a cross roads, sort of, but I see this is actually quite manageable within the free market ideology of National and ACT, as they can simply flog off some “rights’, shares or whatever, to keep the dissenters and claimants quiet, and get on with their agenda on a grander scale.

    As a socially minded person I am getting very, very worried about all this, and I question whether this will not simply serve more the divide and rule system we already have here. It stinks, to be honest, and the call is now on Maori Council and iwi affected, to show their true colours, about what they want NZ’s future to be. I would HATE to be forced to be in the same quarter of nationalists and right wingers on this one, but it is a very, very serious issue to be addressed now, water interests, rights or whatever, that must be resolved in the wider public interest!

    • Carol 10.1

      We will have exactly another repeat of that principle, namely that NOTHING is not sellable and not negotiable. The Crown will go about and do it yet again, go into negotiations and work out numerous individual deals, offering some monetary or interest based rights and compensation, to BUY OFF the iwi and Maori Council.

      Yes, this is my reading of the first reports on the Tribunal interim report. The Tribunal seems to have pointed in this direction: i.e. that some iwi and hapu want the right to be in on the asset sales with more than just shares, but some control and financial stakes:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7543164/Asset-sale-delay-in-national-interest

      “The Crown will be in breach of Treaty principles if it proceeds to sell shares without first providing Maori with a remedy or rights recognition, or at least preserving its ability to do so,” Chief Judge Wilson Isaac said in the report.

      While it was not impossible for Maori rights to be remedied following the sale there were other issues for Maori relating to their guardianship of the resource.

      “We agreed with the claimants that, in practical terms, the Crown will not be able to provide such recognition after it sells shares to private investors.

      “We consider that the sale must be delayed while an accommodation is reached with Maori.”

      Shares in the power-generating state-owned companies would go some way to remedying Maori rights but not all affected groups wanted shares, Isaac said.

      My bold…. indicates that they may want MORE than just shares, but not that they want to stop asset sales in themselves.

      And Key is big on negotiating such deals.

    • Adele 10.2

      Kiaora Xtasy

      It is now up to the Maori Council also to show true colours. Are you going to act in the interest of the whole of Aoteaoroa, or only for the interests of a selected few circles and elitarian interest holders in your quarters?

      Excuse me but since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed way back in 1840 Māori as whānau, hapū and Iwi have been fighting for the rights afforded under the Treaty and have been the only peoples that have suffered the great losses – of lands, of waterways, of lives, of mana.

      The Māori Council last great claim was over the reo – they won but I didn’t see non-Māori interests jump on board and say “hello chaps, can we have a bit of the reo too.” Lots of mention about the Brown Elite – fuck that. There seems to be some meme in place which says that you can’t be a good Māori unless you’re poor, a beneficiary, and know thy place.

      Rather than waste time thinking about the minute minority of Māori that think they’re actually white and act accordingly – fixate yourselves on the huge number of non-Māori business elite that are ripping this country off blind – you, me and our kids.

      • Carol 10.2.1

        fixate yourselves on the huge number of non-Māori business elite that are ripping this country off blind – you, me and our kids.

        For myself, I do just that. But I fear they (led my the ruthless and amoral Key) may pull out all the stops, and apply all kinds of pressures, to do some deal with Iwi and hapū that will ultimately provide most benefit to the wealthy and powerful.

      • xtasy 10.2.2

        Adele – I am not so much against the right of tangata whenua under the TOW, what concerns me most about this is, that it will only “hold up” the sale of the SOEs under the Mixed Ownership Model legislation, and that certain interests in whatever form will be granted to iwi (following negotiations with a cunningly smart Hone Key), and that after that the assets will still be sold.

        I know that many in the opposition get excited about the asset sales being slowed down and hampered, but I want to see them stopped. Hence what is happening throught the Waitangi Tribunal will likely not achieve this, it will only delay the process.

        So a more resolute stand by Maori Council and others involved is appreciated, same by the Waitangi Tribunal, which though is a kind of judicial institution of sorts and must interprete the law in view of TOW.

        Just using the process to get rights and interests awarded, and then letting the government move on with their agenda, that would disappoint me.

  11. Adele 11

    Kiaora Carol,

    Lets say, some Māori groups want the waterways. Some Māori hapū do not want power-stations on their waterways because they have a negative impact on the life-forces of the waterways and the creatures within.

    • Carol 11.1

      Kiaora Adele,

      Replied above. I hope that those acting in the interests of all their people are able to stand strong against the ruthlessness of our current government.

  12. Adele 12

    Kiaora Carol,

    I always enjoy reading your commentary as I know it comes from a good place. You have a good heart with the brains to match.

  13. Carol 13

    Shame on Armstrong in today’s Herald for giving a bit of a green light to race-baiting (albeit expressed in a bit of a cautious, understated way):

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10829353

    The tribunal says Maori do not claim to own all water everywhere. However, it has effectively ruled that iwi do have the right to control access to and the use of water in their rohe (territory) – and to reap the commercial benefits to boot.

    You can almost feel the hackles rising in Talkbackland. National will not want to be seen to be at the beck and call of the tribunal, not least because it is thought to have benefited in recent polls from talking tough on water, with Key insisting no one owns it.

    It’s only the possibility of a court struggle that causes Armstrong to back of from sanctioning this race-baiting.

    A government should be leading in a positive way, not pandering to, and stirring up the lowest common denominator of divisive hate-mongering.

    Why do governments even consider pandering to talkbackland? What percentage of the population are actually into that?

    • Glando periscope 13.1

      John is not advocating that outcome. He is suggesting how the govt will react. I dont understand why it is a shame on him to have written what he believes the political dynamic, however unedifying it is, to be. Should journalists not write things that make uncomfortable reading?

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Should journalists not write things that make uncomfortable reading?

        Real journalists wouldn’t be introducing their own feelings and one eyed editorialising into their analysis.

      • Carol 13.1.2

        A journalist should be aiming for accuracy and a fair reflection of various points of view. He doesn’t directly point out that Key’s claim of no-one owning water was misrepresenting the evidence. He shouldn’t just be repeating the government’s line without question.

        And, clearly, for Armstrong’s target audience it is more uncomfortable reading that Key was wrong in his claim

        • Glando Periscope 13.1.2.1

          In a news story, yes, a range of views should ideally be represented. The Herald has done that. Armstrong, as a political observer of some 30 plus years’ experience, is being paid to take a considered view and express an opinion in this piece. I think you’re confusing his take on the situation with a dislike of what that take is and going a step further and confusing that take with Armstrong’s personal political views. Let’s face it, you read it, reacted and are worried about the political dynamic he describes. That doesn’t make it wrong or unworthy to have described what this is – a National Party-led government highly confident its polling will allow it to ignore or downplay the tribunal’s finding. Seems to me plenty of the comments in this thread fear exactly that outcome.

  14. vto 14

    Well the results are hardly surprising and seemingly consistent with the treaty. Which is all well and good. But still not convinced that the treaty provides a good solid footing for our nation/s in todays world with its ability to separate peoples, with all the issues that brings with it. I keep an eye out for evidence and arguments that it is a good solid footing but aint found it or been presented with it yet. The realities of the treaty, and what is best for Aotearoa, are two different things – there is too much assumption that one equals the other.

    Aside from that, fucking great that Key and his evil brainless bozos have got further stuck in the mud of their own making. They deserve everything they get. Wankers.

    • weka 14.1

      “with its ability to separate peoples,”
       
      Are you arguing for assimilation of Maori into the dominant culture vto?

  15. Fortran 15

    No Sales of SOE’s will require the Government (any Government who wants to balance the countries books) to find the money elsewhere, so that will mean increasing personal taxes and/or cutting its spending to find the $7billion anticipated and budgetted over the next five years.

    Doing so will upset many electorates to be seen to be bowing to the elitist Maori gravy train, which does nothing for most Maori anyway, as Key will blame the combined oppositions also.
    It does not mean that big cheers that will go up from Maori, Greens, Labour, Hone and the Winston parties will find universal favour.

    Key could call an election on this, as I doubt if the opinion polls would change in favour of the opposition parties – are Labour ready, because I suspect that the Nats would win using this as a lead platform.
    Taking Key for a fool is not clever.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      No Sales of SOE’s will require the Government (any Government who wants to balance the countries books) to find the money elsewhere, so that will mean increasing personal taxes and/or cutting its spending to find the $7billion anticipated and budgetted over the next five years.

      Firstly, the Govt is not going to get $7B. That number was always a dream, as we can see by the way the dream is evaporating that National never took into account the reality of timing and objections.

      And personal taxes don’t have to go up a whit to cover Key and English’s economic incompetence. To raise $7B over 5 years is trivial. A tiny FTT and a corporate superprofits tax set at 39% will do it.

      • Tiresias 15.1.1

        “And personal taxes don’t have to go up a whit to cover Key and English’s economic incompetence. To raise $7B over 5 years is trivial. A tiny FTT and a corporate superprofits tax set at 39% will do it.”

        No, taxes don’t HAVE to go up but the Maori have handed National the excuse to put them up to cover the shortfall caused by their claim to own everything in the country that isn’t nailed down and many things that are. And you can be sure the shortfall won’t be covered by increased taxes on the rich, a FTT and business.

        Part at least of the shortfall could be met by directing the retained hydro power companies to pay a larger dividend to the Govt, which will put all our power prices up.

  16. BR 16

    The Waitangi Tribunal are but one of a very long list of expensive and obstructive government agencies that should be closed down forthwith, and all those involved thrown onto the dole.

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      And the Office of the Prime Minister should be first down the toilet, with John Key setting the example for the rest of us.

    • Tiresias 16.2

      Except that the government agency that doles out the dole should be the first to go.

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