Is New Zealand’s water up for grabs?

New Zealand is a nation built on equality, and our equality is based on citizenship, not ethnicity, a full-page advert in today’s Sunday Star Times says.

“Unfortunately, most parties vying for power in September’s election don’t think too much of equality,” the advert by equality group Hobson’s Pledge said.

Spokesperson Casey Costello said “Labour’s shameless ploy to implement a tax on water usage, and National’s creation of customary marine title that only Maori groups may claim, are clear evidence that the interests of the wider public are being brushed aside to win votes”.

“If Labour has its way and applies a tax on water, it implies that the Crown owns New Zealand’s water, which in turn allows Maori activists to seek redress as first owners of the water,” she said.

“Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has already warned that means any full-and-final Treaty settlements would once again be open for negotiation,” she said.

“If National gives customary rights and customary marine title to a minority of people the ramifications are immense, with over 10 million hectares of beaches and seabed, out to 22 kilometres, potentially being given away,” she said.

“A poll commissioned by Hobson’s Pledge in July revealed that 91% of New Zealanders want their Government to treat all citizens equally before the law,” she said.

“Despite this,” Ms Costello said, “New Zealanders continue to be ignored through policy that is differentiating us based on ethnicity.”


Casey Costello         (027) 532 4959