The Maori claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for water rights may have some valid legal basis, or may not.
But the timing of the claim makes it difficult to avoid the perception of cynical extortion, of trying to force the Government to give some people preferential treatment with the sale of MOM asset share floats.
Who owns water?
Water, like air, is one of the basic components of life. It circulates and cycles around the world, in oceans and land-based waterways and throughout the atmosphere. Rain that falls here came from an ocean somewhere else. Rain doesn’t belong anywhere.
Water can be contained temporarily. It can be consumed, it’s gravitational power can be harnessed. But water doesn’t belong in any one place, it didn’t come from any one place.
Water is a fliud, global resource. We borrow water that falls as rain. Then we give it back.
What if Maori can claim a legal right to water?
If Maori can claim watre rights through the Waitangi Trbunal and get that supported in our courts then it has to be dealt with.
If they do get awarded water rights it could be very complicated. When would water ownership be assigned. As soon as water vapour arrives over territorial waters? Over the coastline? At point of impact of rain? How would that be measured?
It should be a separate issue
Regardless, if this is a valid Waitangi tribunal claim it should be dealt with like any other claim, on it’s own merits.
It should not be used as leverage on one specific policy as an attempt to get financial advantage over others.
If monetary compensation is award for water rights it should be done separately. Then the recipients can use that money as they see fit, and can line up to buy shares like everyone else.
A bridge too far?
Is this attempt to take advantage of the sale of shares in assets a step too far? Too cheeky, too blatant, too cynical, too greedy?
Possibly. Public action and reaction may have a say.
Water rights and wrongs too important
The water rights issue is too important and wide reaching to get tied to the contentious issue of yesterday.
Will political leaders and parties address water rights? Or will they be cynical too and use this as yet another asset sales political football?
Who’ll stop the rain?
Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.
- John Fogerty