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Avarice and Greed Displayed by Taranaki Maori

Avarice and Greed Displayed by Taranaki Maori

"The naked greed and avarice of some Maori in Taranaki toward the filming of The last Samurai is disappointing, embarrassing, and a threat to further investment in this country, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"Regrettably there is a growing pattern of extortion by some groups who, with each success, gain confidence to move the metaphysical boundaries, invoking Maori spiritualism as a tool of blackmail for financial gain.

"The objectors' offer to cease protest in return for a $6,000 glasshouse does little more than belittle beliefs of the wider Maori community.

"Unfortunately over the past two decades, fable, myth and spiritualism have crept into our law books with undefined concepts such as kaitiakitanga in the Resource Management Act inferring special overarching rights and privileges for Maori which impinge on individual property rights and freedoms. Laws under the Historic Places Legislation enshrining wähi tapu have a similar impact. We should not be surprised when the crafty and enterprising exploit these foolish and unprincipled laws.

"No one should have been surprised when Ken Mair and his Wanganui band held Genesis to ransom over the renewal of their resource consents for the Tongariro power scheme. After all, just a few weeks previously Contact Energy paid a substantial amount to compensate their spiritual values when the water rights for the Clyde Dam on the Clutha River were up for renewal.

"Parallel to this, we have had Transit NZ held to ransom by taniwha at Meremere, delaying the upgrade of State Highway 1. Happily the taniwha has been appeased, but the taxpayer has a right to know how much this appeasement cost.

"All New Zealanders share an appreciation of our natural heritage, whether a shoreline, a mountain top, or a river valley. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs, and to act accordingly. Those actions, however, should not impact negatively on the wider community. After all, Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi was all about the protection of property rights, and Article Three conferred `one law for all'.

"The thought of losing the promotional value of Mt Taranaki depicted in The Last Samurai and instead digitally imposing a substitute to appease spiritualism is offensive to me, and I believe, to most New Zealanders. Equally the claim by some Taranaki Maori that the presence of Samurai warriors impinges on their mana akin to colonial troopers is pathetic and should be exposed for the greedy leverage that it represents," Mr Shirley said.

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