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Wind issue “not flatulence”

Monday 10 September 2012

Wind issue “not flatulence” says Maori leader as Tribunal claim lodged

This morning, three Northland iwi leaders lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for the commercial use of wind. In the wake of the Maori Council’s recent water claim, Ngapuhi are lodging a pre-emptive claim for any commercial wind farms in the Northland region.

“We expect other iwi to follow suit over the next six months,” says claimant spokesman David Rankin. “This is an issue that is crucial to us. Under Article Two of the Treaty, the wind can be classed as a taonga, and therefore, if the Crown uses this for commercial gain, Maori should be entitled to a share.”

Mr Rankin is supported by the Ngapuhi Runanga Chairman, Sonny Tau and tribal leader Hone Mihaka.

Mr Rankin has emphasised that non-commercial wind generation will not be affected by the claim, but that any commercial generation will not be possible in the Northland region unless local hapu and iwi become equal commercial partners. “Like fish in the 1980s, and water more recently, wind will become a property right and its commercial use will be a tradable commodity,” Mr Rankin argues.

Responding to criticism that there is no substance to the claim, and that it amounts to “flatulence,” Mr Rankin responded by pointing out that the same arguments were used against the water claim just a few months ago. “We are now at the point where the Maori Council was in June this year, and we expect that by April, the Crown will commence negotiations with us and any other hapu and iwi which will join our claim.”

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He also points out that in the United States, similar legal action by native Americans has been under way for wind rights since 2008. “This is part of a global struggle for indigenous property rights,” says Mr Rankin.

Mr Rankin had fielded calls from tribal leaders around the country and expects that the claim will be joined by several other parties in the following weeks.

The following is the Treaty Claim:

David Rankin
6 Rankin Street

10 September 2012

To: The Registrar
Waitangi Tribunal
PO Box 5022 (DX SP22525)

1. I, David Rankin, of 6 Rankin Street, Kaikohe, Property Developer, of Te Matarahurahi hapū, am Māori.

2. For myself and Te Matarahurahu, we claim that we are likely to be prejudicially affected by the Crown’s failure to offer our hapu a share in the revenue earned from electricity generated by the wind. This electricity – created by the wind – is a commodity that has come into being by the use of wind, which is a taonga to Māori.

3. We claim that the Crown’s exclusion of Māori from receiving revenue from electricity generated by the taonga of wind is contrary to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

4. We seek the following relief: that the Crown offers Te Matarahurahu a share in the revenue generated by any state-owned wind farms on a pro-rata basis according to the hapu’s territory. We calculate this territory to be around 0.01% of the country’s total land mass.

5. We wish the claim to be heard at any venue that is mutually agreeable to the Tribunal and the claimants

6. We can be contacted care of the following address:

10 September 2012
Name: David Rankin

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