Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Gordon Campbell on this week’s arm-wrestling on water rights

Gordon Campbell on this week’s arm-wrestling over water rights

by Gordon Campbell

When it comes to the Waitangi Tribunal ruling on water rights, Prime Minister John Key appears to be balancing midstream on two different logs that threaten to move further apart over the next few days. While Key is being careful to say all the obligatory things about the Waitangi Tribunal findings – he will consider them in good faith, consult with the Maori Party, meet his moral and legal obligations etc etc – he is simultaneously saying to his Breakfast TV audience that the government plans to proceed full speed ahead on its asset sales programme.

Key is also letting it be known that the Crown aims to take an iwi by iwi, waterway by waterway approach to finding solutions, and a ‘shares plus’ approach to compensation. In other words, the government is entering this round of ‘consultations’ while indicating that it has largely made up its mind on the main points. While the Waitangi Tribunal has been advocating delay in order to enable proper consultation to take place, the government has not (yet) abandoned its plans to get the Mighty River selldown on the rails before Christmas. The Maori Council in particular may not welcome being ‘consulted’ by a Crown that has put a stopwatch on the table.

For that reason, the ‘sale by Christmas’ target is looking a lot more like a negotiating stance than a realistic timetable. There is, after all, no real need for headlong haste. As various institutional investors pointed out to RNZ this morning, there are no sizeable competing share issues due to hit the market between now and March 2013, so a few months’ delay would make no fundamental difference to the process. Similarly, there is little likelihood of any change in the low interest rate climate within the global economy that would be likely to alter the sale price that the Mighty River selldown could hope to achieve.

The risk in delay is all political, and not financial – and on balance, there is a different kind of political risk involved in ramming through an already unpopular policy in the face of well-based Maori demands for significant consultation and a mode of compensation that is arrived at jointly, and not via a unilateral ‘take it or leave it’ process.

All of which suggests that come decision time next week, Key the pragmatist is likely to step up and announce a brief delay to the asset sell-down timetable. Between now and that point though, the government is also likely to play hardball, to see what concessions it can earn - and what further divisions it can hope to open up between the freshwater iwi leaders and the Maori Council. After all, the government is not the only player whose negotiating position is split.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Richard S. Ehrlich: U.S. Sees "Threat" In The Golden Triangle

In Southeast Asia's crime-infested Golden
Triangle, Chinese entrepreneur Zhao Wei is constructing a sprawling
casino resort and airstrip despite being sanctioned by the U.S.
Treasury Department as a "threat to the United States" because of his
"horrendous illicit activities"... More>>



Peter Dunne: The Steadily Eroding Sands Of Credibility

The ever-shifting sands of the Covid19 vaccination programme are increasingly eroding the credibility of this government.
In January the Prime Minister proclaimed that 2021 would be the “Year of the vaccine” – much the same way as she had promised 2019 would be the “Year of Delivery... More>>


The Conversation: Aggressive Marketing Has Driven The Rise Of The Double-cab Ute On New Zealand Streets — Time To Hit The Brakes?

Explore your inner beast.” That was the slogan used last year to sell the Ford Ranger. At 2.4 tonnes, that’s a lot of “light” truck, but the stakes are rising. This year, the 3.5 tonne Ram 1500 “eats utes for breakfast”... More>>




Podcast: Buchanan + Manning On Cyber-Attacks And The Evolution Of Hybrid Warfare

Paul G. Buchanan and Selwyn Manning present this week’s podcast, A View from Afar with a deep-dive into cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare – Especially how 2021 has witnessed a Cold War II styled stand-off between global powers... More>>


Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>




Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>