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‘Shares plus’ – it simply does not add up


Shares plus – plus what exactly? We don’t know.

Shares plus were asked for by the water rights claimants, endorsed by the Waitangi Tribunal, dissed by the prime minister and consulted on by the finance minister.

The claimants tossed the idea at the tribunal hearing on water, saying that shares in the power companies the government is part-selling down weren’t enough, but that “shares and some control of the companies is beginning to be a potential solution”. 

“Shares plus” is not the solution, not a “potential solution” but the “beginning” of a potential solution. That suggests “shares-plus” is not much of a solution at all.

Before the selldown
The tribunal summarised: “The NZ Maori Council seeks a remedy that preserves the ability of the Crown to provide ‘shares plus’ in partial recognition of Maori rights and as a partial remedy for Maori Treaty claims.”

So “shares-plus” is just a part remedy. It’s not enough on its own.

The tribunal further explained “shares plus” as “the provision of shares or special classes of shares which, in conjunction with amended company constitutions and shareholders’ agreements, could provide Maori with a meaningful form of commercial rights recognition.” 

The tribunal rightly recognised such a part remedy could not be achieved after the selldown of shares. It would have to be completed before.

Prime Minister John Key totally dissed the concept. “The government’s looked at it [shares plus] with its economic people and its legal advisers and thoroughly rejected it.”

That’s a definite no.

But the tribunal highlighted “shares plus” and the government consulting on the concept should help lessen the legal fallout as the case wearingly and inevitably makes its way to court. Hence, Finance Minister Bill English fronting up to iwi.

Now follow the argument. The tribunal concluded that because iwi and hapu sing songs about rivers and have spotted taniwha in them, they therefore have legitimate exclusive ownership of the nation’s waterways.

That in turn entitles them in part remedy to “shares plus” in power companies that rely on the fall of the water to drive their turbines. It’s a very thin bit of reasoning.

Extra rights for Maori
The government was elected on the clear platform of a partial selldown of the companies. Now the tribunal wants to encumber the sale with “shares plus”.

There will be two lots of shares trading, Maori shares and non-Maori shares. I assume the Maori shares will be tradeable.

The government will sell the non-Maori shares. That’s where it gathers up some much-needed cash.

The tribunal would have the government hand out the Maori shares as part of a beginning of a potential settlement on water rights.

The Maori shares give rights over and above the non-Maori shares. The extent of those rights have not been spelled out by the tribunal or claimants.

But the implication is that the holders of these shares will have extra control of the power companies that non-Maori shareholders don’t enjoy.

The questions are many and varied. How can the tribunal toss such ill-thought-through policy prescriptions that derail an elected government’s manifesto and retain any credibility?

How does the tribunal expect the concept of “shares plus” to be developed and implemented when the tribunal itself leaves the concept so vague and airy-fairy?

How exactly does the song-singing and taniwha-spotting link to corporate control of billion-dollar power companies?

Who would invest in a company where control is ceded to shareholders disproportionate to their holdings?

Why does the government and the taxpayer have to fund all sides of this nonsense?

More by Rodney Hide

Comments and questions

Reverse apartheid how ever it is called, is still apartheid.

Legislation seperating one ethnicity from others, regardless of good intentions will only ever lead to divisions. NZ needs unity.

If we have our employment laws structured in such a way to protect everyone regardless of marital status, sexual preference and orientation, nationality, religious belief and age - and righty so too, because anything less would be totally unjust and just plain wrong on numerous levels.

So why then, do we have a Dept. of Maori and a Dept. of Woman's Affairs?

What about the middle aged, European, single, self-employed guy? Do we just get to pay more tax and that's our lot?

Solidarity -- I think we do need to get back to basic principles, just like you say. One law for all is a slogan but it's also a powerful policy prescription. the law, policy and politics should be blind to race, colour and ethnicity.

'What about the middle aged, European, single, self-employed guy? Do we just get to pay more tax and that's our lot'? No, no, no...what you and others get to enjoy is called hegemonic dominance.

What I find funny is that the people who 'dislike' my comment haven't got a clue what hegemony means.

No, they just think you are completely wrong.

Well....any discussion about power relationships cannot be had without discussing hegemony. The research I have read supports my position.

Big City Auckland type legislative set up will solve all the problems of NZ.

Make promises but keep none of them.

Go for it, Rodney!

Aucklander. I don't understand. I never claimed that fixing Auckland's governance would solve all New Zealand's problems! I did claim -- along with the Royal Commission, and now all political parties -- that it would fix Auckland's governance problems. Are you suggesting that Auckland should return to having eight councils?

Thanks again Rodney for telling it like it is and putting the questions that will make some squirm. So much in life is about timing, I wonder if Ansell may therefore be onto a winner much to the distress of some.

Kiwis are a patient lot but I think it's worn thin on the Treaty nonsense.

That is exactly what Maori were saying in the nineteenth century when the Crown, backed up by the settlers, used guns and a swing in demographics to impose its version of the treaty.

Iwi credibility has reached an all-time low to even suggest such a claim.
Time for a line in the sand. Can we please move forward as New Zealanders.

I can understand iwi giving it a go. It's the tribunal going along with it that's extraordinary. I don't see how the Waitangi Tribunal can have any credibility at all. The report is nonsense on stilts.

The water rights tribunal was made up of people with expert knowledge in their respective fields. What is your field of expertise Rodney?

Expert knowledge - in extracting maximum amount of koha from the public purse.

What a lot of rubbish-- expert knowledge in their respective fields-- whose opinion is that ??

Actually its the opinion of the New Zealand University system. All the Tribunal members have degrees, some doctorates, and decades of research experience. Comments such as your's reflect the anti-intellectualism present in New Zealand society, and as this page highlights, the business sector.

Well Mr Native the type of people you quote above would last five minutes in corporate New Zealand thats why they have their snouts stuck in the tax payer trough-- all brains and no common sense -- accompanied by some useless degree or doctorate like political science or art history or maori laungage -- decades of research experience in what -- the taniwha ??

Well done again Rodney, Right on the money.
Keep it up, someone has to.

I love reading columns like this. It confirms my suspicions that business people of ignorant fools.

Native -- I wish I could enjoy your comment in the same way. It just makes me sad.

'The tribunal concluded that because iwi and hapu sing songs about rivers and have spotted taniwha in them, they therefore have legitimate exclusive ownership of the nation’s waterways'.
This statement is an example of ignorance isn't it? Taniwha and waiata are integral to a knowledge system that enabled Maori to live in this country for a 1000 years yet you dismiss it as mumbo jumbo. Perhaps you comment is a case of arrogance and ignorance.

1000 years what nonsense.
I reckon 3 - 400 years at most and maybe the Portuguese arrived here first in Kaipara before then.

No the Chinese were here before both of them

No the Chinese were the first to arrive

You read the same websites as Anonymous.

I can tell by your comment that your are prone to reading 'pop' history, probably a website that has advertisements for casinos and Viagra boarding the 'article'. If you can provide me with legitimate references that substantiate your claim I may concede.

"Taniwha and waiata are integral to a knowledge system" - In other words they were a stone-age society which had no idea about how anything really worked so they had to create mythical creatures to explain things that they couldn't otherwise understand. So, the "knowledge system" you have when you dont have any knowledge. And you want to live in the modern world and you expect people to respect this stuff. And then you want the "tauiwi" to give you money for nothing?

You are right on the money One Track

I see your understanding of my culture is far less than my understanding of your's. If you have time you should a book by Jared Diamond called 'Guns germs and steal'. Its quite a long book and doesn't have pictures so you might find it a little tedious. However I encourage you to persist. It addresses some of issues you raise.

What a lot of rubbish

Having been born and raised in the far north in a community which was approx 50 / 50 kirima and maori -- let me tell you taniwha are a figmet of your imagination. Plenty of swamp around where we lived- never saw one a taniwha in 70 years

Maybe your aunties and uncles couldn't be bothered imparting to you the skills necessary see them.

"a knowledge system that enabled Maori to live in this country for a 1000 years ...." -

I have never heard constant warfare, brutality, and cannibalism described as a "knowledge system" before. This was a society that was primitive and backward by the standards of Egypt in 2000BC.

Of course it's mumbo-jumbo - like all religion. The only hope for humanity is rational application of the human mind.

A business person? really

It's a fine line between trying to maximize your commercial positions, and pissing off your fellow community members, I would say Maori have just gone to far, I for one am pissed at my whanau. The checkpoint should have been the tribunal. They have now adequately demonstrated their inept judgement at giving this air time, and then coming up with the most absurd commercial 'solution'. What bollocks. Well done John key for kicking this to touch.

If the government feel the need to 'appease' a squeaky wheel how about those tax cuts we were promised..... and someone remind me what percentage of the welfare budget we would need to trim to avoid even having to engage in asset sales....?

Hi Rodney,

Another great article. This is all beyond a joke. Why do governments curtail to this minority pressure -- especially all the claims based on fantasy? Don't they know that the rest of us will stand behind them -- and vote them back in -- if they put a line in the sand and say "no more"?

As a voter I feel helpless. All I can do is watch as government after government give away my and your taxes to a bunch of losers who should be working for a living, not going on another hikoi, on my dime. It makes me want to move from legitimate tax avoidance (thanks for validating this practice Peter Dunne) to tax evasion. But then I would be a criminal like the Waitangi Tribunal and all that feed at that trough.

This has to end. Maori are not even original Tangatawhenua. Look at history for a reality check there Maoridom. The treaty was as we wrote it and interpreted it. End of story. Have some kool aid.

Irrespective, as a nation we have advanced far beyond cannibalism and horse trading and Maori have benefited greatly (in more ways than one) from those advances. I believe Maori either genuinely wish to hold onto the past and go back to their grass huts with their WINZ benefits, OR they are having a laugh at all our expenses -- thanks to spineless politicians (especially the likes of Chris Finlayson).

If Ansell was backed into his own party, I'd vote for him in a heart beat. Says it like it is, like you Rodney. Respect to you for doing so. But how to stop all this madness? Any ideas anyone? Enough talk. Really... what's next?

What a pathetic argument. Maori could equally say that if they went back to their mud huts then you would have to go back to the London slum your ancestors crawled out of. You seem to think Maori have made no contribution to this country. New Zealand wasn't built on the back of a sheep, it was built on the back of misappropriated Maori land. And actually, on the whole, Maori have a much better understanding of history than pakeha. And so we should, we apparently live in the past.

Still more abject nonsense. The arrival of of others by sailing ship actually was the salvation of these islands from the genocidal tribal cannibalism that was set on a path to making the place as bereft of humans as Easter Island. The only reliable history was that recorded by those who could read & write and I'm so over myths and legends when its my wallet thats funding it all.

Of the first part of my reply was nonsense, that was the point I was making. Also, there is no doubt there was a rupture in Maori society following the introduction of muskets. However, in most areas conflict had between tribes had settled down by 1840. Sorry to burst your bubble but that was a decision made by Maori it wasn't the result of pakeha's telling Maori to behave. You say 'the only reliable history was that recorded by those who could read & write', I see you have no training as an historian.

What tosh. Maori killed each other for land or just to remedy grudges. And you have the nerve to claim NZ was built on misappropriated land by non-Maori.

The Waitangi Tribunal is nothing more than a strategy forum for professional Maori bludgers. As an impartial judicial body it is simply a disgrace that has lost any credibility.

What a lot of rubbish -- the sheeps back has contributed a lot more to the economic development of New Zealand than the vast majority of maori

No native, your response is pathetic... but expected and typical tripe. Maori's understanding of history is Chinese whispers at best; completely fabricated on lies and myth at worst.

Get over it. It's time to move on. Maori traded a lot of their land fair and square. Ever since Maori have done little but take, rape, take, murder, take and continue to be a burden on our society. What losers.

The land Maori are given back turns from amazing, money and food producing land to overgrown crap. Many modern Maori (who by the way have as much if not way more European blood in them than the Maori the culture they identify with -- which is laughable as it is akin to having a child as a solo Mum to go on the DPB) couldn't manage land properly if their lives depended on it. There are plenty of examples to prove it. Google is your friend.

There are of course exceptions to this, with very talented and able Maori who do not waste tax payers' money challenging everything and taking our taxes. They are doing it for themselves like the rest of us. They don't live in the past and they are embarrassed by modern chiefs and their loser lawyers who make them look evil, stupid and bad. And go figure, none of them benefit directly from Iwi payouts. Only the corrupt fat cats like Tuku Morgan and his ilk do. No, they identify as being a part of one New Zealand where we are all equal with equal opportunity. And good for them. Bravo.

The truth hurts native. But it's time for you and your people who expect our nation to continually support you to grow a pair and stand on your own feet. Be human. Experience life as a non-loser. Contribute to society like the rest of us. Not constantly take, take, take and live in the past. It just makes you guys look like pathetic losers who want the world to pay forever for your grievances. S@&t happens. And it happened a very long time ago. It didn't even affect you! Move on. If you don't, Maori will feel the mighty wrath of the rest of society if this kind of hand out mentality and Treaty gravy train BS continues.

Yes heard it all before. My golly gosh...have you developed a stomach ulcer after that diatribe? I see you really do not like Maori. Unfortunately most of us benefit dependent non-tax paying Maori have no where else to go, you see we can't afford it. Perhaps its best if you find some other place to live.

So many comments... I knew it, you must be the geezer doing the rant on this Whaleoil blog

I haven't seen that blog..,.I do for this for anthropological reasons. I want to see how the 21st century settler responds to certain stimuli.

Native, you really are a funny little Troll Muppet. I don't like people who continually have their hands out, being a burden on the rest of society, irrespective of race. Here, they just happen to be Maori in suits. Where there is genuine need for assistance, I support that. But not the treaty mockery.

BTW, I don't believe you are Maori at all. Just a sympathizer who has no idea what spineless politicians and the grievance gravy train business are doing to our nation. My family, on my European side, have been here for eight generations. On my other side, for many more. So why don't you hitch an international ride out of here you sad little troll. I'm leaving this particular discussion now as what needed to be said has been and you have nothing credible or worthwhile to add. Adios.

Actually Maori can claim "meals on heels" as a local first in stone age war-fare technique because they hadn't yet discovered iron and canned food was as mythical as taniwha's who paid taxes.
Anyway, aren't all youse bro's actually Taiwanese per proof of DNA? If so, why do youse hate the Asians so badly eh?

Hope Rodney joins Ansell along with Muriel Newman and other fair minded people like them.

Agreed - provided the proposed party is built on one issue and one issue alone and not sidetracked into other sideshows. One party, one issue, one knife stuck in the heart of the beast. Thereafter the country can rebuild and move forward. I would expect chaos and purposeful disorder perhaps unprecedented but a small price to pay to rid the country of the cancer of apartheid. The chattering class are talking about what might be proposed by John Ansell and I predict the main parties are quietly worried that a revolution is underway.

I think the I can hear the oinking of those Politicians at the beehive and in the various treaty of waitangi bodies as they stuff their snouts back into the trough having come up for air.

There seems to be a very small body of people in the iwi's getting fat whilst urban Maori get SFA.

Pity you have to use the word "dissed", Rodney. Crude stuff. Don't ape Honewira.

Well said Rodney! Someone had to say it!
We are all sick to death of Maori putting their hands in the lolly jar on the basis of mythology and manufactured mythology at that.

can Native explain what contribuition has Maori done to society?

At the most fundamental level Maori permitted European settlement. I can of course anticipate your response....I have heard it all before.

permited LoL

As I expected. Your type have a limited capacity to engage.

"permited" setlement LoL. are you delusional? unlike what the maoris did to teh marioris. Do you know what teh british did to the other countries they colonised? polulations were almost desimated. Maybe it should be ther other way around. The British permited the Maoris to stay and integrate, instead of kicking them out to a corner like they did with the american indians or tuned them into servants and slaves like thery did in Africa or India.
Anyway without discussing semantics you have not really answered my question? why is that?
what contribuition have the maoris brought to society?

I suggest you take some time to read through the British parliamentary papers from the late 1830s. What you will find is that the British were far from willing to annex/invade New Zealand. One reason for this was the fact that their resources were spread far and wide, primarily in India, which was more important to them than New Zealand. They were also uncertain what the outcome of a war with well armed tribes would be. So what did the British do? They presented Maori with a treaty, it was the cheapest option. What did that treaty do? It facilitated settlement. So, I am not delusional. In fact I would suggest I have a far better grasp of the historical context than you. I can provide you with a suggested reading list if you like.

you still have not answered the question? what has Maori done to contribute to soiety? Speachless, avoiding the subject uhm!!!!!

What? Of course I am not avoiding the subject. Firstly, I take it from your failure to respond to my earlier post you agree with me: Maori allowed for European settlement to take place, and, that this was a valuable contribution, if not the greatest contribution to New Zealand society. Lets start with the easy stuff. Who do you think fed the colonists when they first crawled off the boats?

i think we have to agree to disagree on this one. please review post 15, in my opinion, this was the greates contribuition the british did to the Maoris the english allowed the Maoris to participate on their society instead of segregating them into a conner. See history of the world about invasion and colonisation.
you still have not answered the question? what has Maori done to contribute to society? Considering that you are avoinding the subject you must be lost for words.
Plus you don't know anything about my type, so stop making assumptions and answer the question.

Actually I think I have answered your question, and provided examples. I could also provide you with references stating how much tax Maori made paid to the crown in the years prior to the land wars. What about those Maori families who lost men in both world wars? Is this the kind of contribution you are talking about? I am well aware of the history of colonisation. Answer this for me if you could, what was the last book/article/essay you read on colonisation? Sorry, but you are a 'type'. I know exactly what you think, I know the things that agitate you. You are hardly unique.

Native you must be right and what everyone has written is wrong.NOt. loL I can see this from the support you got from you other "native" fellows. By the way can you tell me the difference from natives and immigrants?

I don't actually care what people on this page think. At the end of the day its a forum for ignorant hicks to ventilate in the company of other hicks. Don't fall in to the trap of believing that ticking 'like' or 'dislike' on a page like this means someone is right or wrong. Most can't even follow a consistent line of argument.

You talk a load of rubbish Mr Native --- go back to your stick games - poi - and saltless hangi food -- do you think only maori families were unfortunate enough to loose family members in two world wars.