An opportunistic grab for a handout or a principled stand for collective rights?
John Key will feel on safe political ground in rejecting the Maori Council’s water rights claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, portraying it directly as an "us and them", Maori vs the rest issue: "As [chairman] Maanu Paul said last night, the reason is they want you all to pay for that. He said you need to pay for their water" – see Danya Levy’s Key rejects Maori water claim in asset sales battle.
The claimants have a very different view, saying the privatisation of the assets has forced them to take action: "Mr Wihapi says Maori have been quite comfortable for years with the government and its agencies using natural resources for the benefit of the whole nation. But he says things have now become serious, because tribal property is set to be stolen" – see Radio NZ’s Hapu blames Govt for water rights claim.
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