A Waitangi Tribunal began today after the Maori Council lodged a claim over the issue of water rights.
The hearing has been fast-tracked because of National's asset sales programme and will consider whether Treaty claimants are being denied a future stake in the state-owned power companies and the broader questions of Maori water and geothermal rights.
The Tribunal will consider how water and geothermal resources may be covered by the Treaty of Waitangi and government plans to partially sell off 49 per cent of state owned energy companies.
Opportunism at it's finest.
Maori Council spokesman Maanu Paul told the Tribunal the spirit of the group's claim had been lost in the words of the claim.
"What is freshwater? It is a spirit."
It was a sacred thing, he said.
"I am the water, the water is me."
Taipari Munro, of the Whatatiri Trust, spoke of the angst of his people who had lost control of the Poroti Springs.
He rejected suggestions by Prime Minister John Key that no one could own water.
"As long as my feet are standing on the earth, I won't accept that. I cannot accept that."
Munro said his hapu were treated like "flies on the wall" and had no control over what happened to the springs.
They were happy to share use of the water but wanted to have a say in decision making, he said.
I wonder if NZ governments will start regretting their encouragement of the Maori religion? Opportunism mixed up with pantheism, the false idea that God and the world are one, fantastic!
Related link: Maori expected to put asset sales through legal hoops