New Zealand has shot itself in the head. This is not some trifling wound to an extremity such as the foot. This is a wound which makes the whole nation comatose, zombie like.
The received wisdom--promulgated by guilt-ridden whites--is that this country was stolen from Maori--the indigenous people at the time when European settlement began. Every failing and inadequacy of the Maori race has been attributed to the grievance of that alleged injustice foisted upon them. White elites have tormented themselves over this and resolved to put matters right. Consequently, successive governments have agreed to a process whereby Maori can approach a tribunal, funded by the government, to investigate Maori grievance claims and make rulings in favour of Maori.
The socially liberal guilty conscience has been assuaged by this ingenious device.
The Waitangi Tribunal has been hailed as a wonderful example of a successful truth and reconciliation process. But it is all a charade. It is successful only insofar as it produces a constant flow of money from the rest of New Zealand to Maori. It's New Zealand's version of dane-gelding--that ancient practice of leaving gold on the shores to persuading raiding Vikings to take the money and go away. Once the money spigot looks like getting turned off, Maori erupt in a splenetic febrile war dance--and guilt ridden whites tremble in their beds at night, clutching their revisionist rosary beads to their guilty breasts.
The actual historical cases of rip-off by the Crown against Maori are finite, historically provable, and remediable. But as time has progressed, Maori claims have morphed into faux, manufactured grievances to keep the money train running. Guilty white elites have rushed to agree. So, now, the Waitangi Tribunal has lost all credibility. It is a laughing stock to all except guilty white elites.
Rodney Hide, writing in the Herald exposes the nonsense.
Who would have believed it? Singing a song can make a river yours. Plus give you a chunk of a power company and a say over how that company's run. Well, that's what the Waitangi Tribunal says. It's not quite enough to just sing a song. You should also know the river's taniwha [a mythical Maori beast] and use the river to wash away spells and curses. But the clincher is to recognise the river's life force. Then it's yours.Our expectation is that this nonsense will go on forever--or at least until we undergo a form of national repentance. Why? Because the guilt ridden white establishment, the governing elites, have bought the revisionist historical lies. They will always opt to pay, pay, and pay again. And the payment will come from citizens, through the taxation system--one way or another.
I am not making this up. These are the indicators that the tribunal says prove customary ownership of the country's rivers and lakes. The tribunal concludes that New Zealand's water systems, including beds, banks, water and aquatic life, are possessed by Maori. They say the closest English cultural equivalent to Maori customary rights is full ownership. The tribunal declares that Maori have rights of exclusive access and control of the water. That is, Maori can decide who can and can't use water.
The good news is that the claimants aren't seeking to benefit from non-commercial uses of the water. Well, not yet. That could still happen. It's clear from the tribunal's conclusions that Maori could do so if they so choose. The tribunal says the claimants for now just want their property rights recognised, payment for the commercial use of their water, and enhanced authority and control over how their waterways are used. . . .
The ownership of water in underground aquifers is a little murkier than that of rivers and lakes. The tribunal says some of the country's aquifers are owned by Maori. Those where taniwha lurk. Again, I am not making this up. Grown-ups have written this report. And you work each week to pay them to do it. It's extraordinary stuff.
I am all for property rights. They should be recognised and upheld. Property rights are essential to a peaceful, prosperous society. But property rights must be certain and stable. There are no property rights where they are endlessly litigated. That's why the Romans had a statute of limitations. It wasn't possible under Roman law to go back to the dim, dark days to contest ownership.
So, too, with early English law. The cut-off date for claims of adverse possession was the day in 1135 when Henry I died. That date was then shifted forward to the coronation of Henry II in 1154. And so on. The 1540 Act of Limitation prescribed a 60-year period for property claims. It makes sense. The statute of limitations serves to ensure certainty. Otherwise every piece of land and resource is open to endless claim and counter-claim. There is then no certainty or security and therefore no property rights.
It's not possible to trace legitimate possession in an unbroken chain of legitimate transactions back to the original owners for any piece of land or enduring property. Human history has been too violent and untidy to do so. Hence the need for an arbitrary cut-off date. But here we are in New Zealand with the tribunal reaching back to the dim, dark days to establish ownership. In doing so it tosses property rights in the air and and stretches our understanding of the past. It creates costly uncertainty and pits neighbour against neighbour as property rights are contested again and again.
The tribunal appears to have no grasp or comprehension of the cost and conflict it is inflicting on New Zealand. The difficulty of reaching back to 1840 is made all the worse by Maori back then having no legal system, no concept of ownership, and having just endured 30-plus years of inter-tribal warfare that rewrote traditional hapu and tribal boundaries.
The Roman and English legal systems that declare "possession is nine-tenths of the law" and "finders-keepers" may seem arbitrary and unfair for those on the wrong side of the cut-off date. But it sure beats the pre-1840 system.
The tribunal's happy-clappy view of pre-European property rights is a historical lie. Song-singing and taniwha-spotting were no defence against a rampaging Hongi Hika or Te Rauparaha. Back then, it was "might makes right". A Maori could own only what he could grab - and hang on to. And that never included a river.
New Zealand has shot itself in the head. The wound is slowly bleeding out. But the guilt ridden liberal elites feel good about it. The death of the country will atone for their collective guilt feelings.
All of this is a perfect illustration of the biblical maxim that those who refuse to believe in the Living God end up clutching lies to their breasts--and the lies eventually kill. Those who hate God's wisdom, says the Scripture, love death. (Proverbs 8: 35,36)