While the public are in general too busy to notice yet another “Agreement” between the Crown and tribal groups, Ngati Porou’s foreshore and seabed Agreement, which confers inalienable legal rights on Porou, sets a dangerous precedent for New Zealand’s future: Parliament has a choice – it can remain a member of the small group of prosperous liberal democracies that follow the Rule of Law (as opposed to rule by law) or it can enact the Ngati Porou Bill[i], setting a precedent for future “grace and favour” deals over the foreshore and seabed in which the Minister exercises powers of gift outside our constitutional framework, established over centuries, to define and curb Ministerial powers.Read more
One Pure, owned by Hong Kong based corporation Hon Lung International, with the capital and expertise to build a massive water bottling facility, felt the need to approach Hawke’s Bay tribal entity Ngati Paarau[i] for “support and partnership [ii]” in their endeavour. Why?
According to Ngati Paarau spokesman Denis O’Reilly, this support and partnership is “good for our region and our nation, all of us, regardless of our ethnicity or derivation”.
So can Mr O’Reilly answer the following questions for the citizens of Hawke’s Bay and, indeed, the entire nation:
1. What is the nature of the “support and partnership” which was requested of Ngati Paarau by One Pure? Are these “support and partnership” services of a scientific nature relating to the preservation of our aquifer? If so, did One Pure approach any other organisation for this expertise?
2. If Ngati Paarau’s knowledge regarding the Heretaunga Plains aquifer (flowing tens of metres underground) is in the nature of traditional maori knowledge, should this knowledge not be preserved and accessible to those beyond Ngati Paarau, or can this traditional knowledge only be exercised by members of Ngati Paarau?
3. Mr O’Reilly states that One Pure’s plant will have “minimal effect on the aquifer, if any”. Did Ngati Paarau conduct independent tests on the bore to verify this statement, or did they simply accept assertions to this effect from “polite and respectful” One Pure Director Yongnan (Boris) Kang?
4. How does Ngati Paarau’s “support and partnership” enhance the “oranga” – (wellbeing) of the environment and people of Hawke’s Bay, as “an agreed primary value” of the “partnership”?
5. Is there any reason why One Pure would respectfully approach Ngati Paarau, beyond the fact that it needed Ngati Paarau’s consent as an “affected party” to extract water from the aquifer?
6. Has or will Ngati Paarau or any members of Ngati Paarau received any benefit or payment from One Pure by way of compensation for the “support and partnership” provided to One Pure?
It is clear that Ngati Paarau believe they “own” the Heretaunga Plains aquifer. As Mr O’Reilly states: “The prevailing dominant notion is that our water belongs to no one.. . despite the …prescient statement by Tareha Te Moananui …that “the land is yours, the water is mine[iii]”.
National’s Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, which requires local authorities to enter “participation arrangements” with tribal trusts such as Ngati Paarau the length and breadth of the country, will deliver, perhaps, the final step towards transformation of this belief into reality.
 Ngati Paarau (also spelled Ngati Parau), a hapu of Ngati Kahungunu, appears to be represented by the following charitable entities: Waiohiki Community Charitable Trust, Waiohiki Intellectual Property Ltd (which lists its activities as “sponsors / undertakes research”) and Waiohiki Marae Board of Trustees. The financial accounts are presented to the charities commission as the “Waiohiki Community Charitable Trust Consolidated Group”
[ii] “Water agreement benefits all”; Hawke’s Bay Today, 20 October, 2016
[iii] “Water agreement benefits all”; Hawke’s Bay Today, 20 October, 2016
In 2011 the National - Maori Party coalition passed the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act (the “MACA”), a radical Act allowing Maori groups to claim special rights over the foreshore and seabed. As a result over six hundred claims have been lodged with the Crown, Courts, and Waitangi Tribunal. While these claims may take decades to resolve, the public’s rights over the coastline remain in a state of uncertainty: the question is, will the new law affect coastal walking tracks and how?Read more
The first Agreement negotiated under the Marine and Coastal Area (Tukutai Moana) Act 2011 not only confirms widely raised fears of the Crown’s failure to represent the public interest but sets a precedent for fresh rounds of Treaty style negotiations.Read more
Touted by National as offering a durable and expeditious solution to Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act, Chris Finlayson’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (MACA) has unleashed hundreds of competing claims that will tie the courts up for decades, costing the country tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in claimant funding, policy advice and legal fees.Read more
Taxpayers have gifted $450k towards the building of a nine-bedroomed private family house, the first of its kind under the government’s “papakainga project” funded through its Whanau Ora fund.Read more
New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act, intended to protect us from discrimination on the grounds of race, has been left in tatters by the very lawyers tasked by Parliament with oversight of those rules. Intellectually dishonest or indoctrinated? Whichever the answer, Crown Law’s Constitutional and Human Rights Team should be sacked and replaced with lawyers capable of taking a principled stand.