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Nats stretching credibility on Taupo trust deed

National stretching credibility on Taupo trust deed

National should consult a few lawyers before commenting on what property rights in Lake Taupo it gave Tuwharetoa in 1992, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

"Gerry Brownlee has suggested that National couldn't have anticipated a claim for air space above Lake Taupo when it signed the trust deed with Tuwharetoa. That is just complete nonsense," Mr Carter said.

"If Mr Brownlee bothered to ask a lawyer he would find that there is a common-law principle going back to at least 1977 that when some one takes ownership of a piece of property they also obtain limited rights to the airspace immediately above it. Obviously, those rights don't stretch to the stars, but it does mean that someone can't build a gantry above your house without getting your permission first.

"What National failed to do in the 1992 deed with Tuwharetoa was explicitly exclude these rights, which are otherwise granted automatically by the law. For this reason Mr Brownlee couldn't find them in the trust deed in Parliament today.

"Mr Brownlee's ignorance of basic common law demonstrates why National did such a poor job on the deed in the first place."

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