December 04, 2012
Fish quota model copied for water
A lawyer with extensive experience in Treaty of Waitangi and resource cases is warning that New Zealand is fast moving towards tradeable property rights in water.
Crown lawyers at last week’s New Zealand Māori Council case in the High Court argued that because no one owns water, Māori treaty interests would not be affected by the sale of shares in the state hydro power generators.
But Paul Harman says the third report of the Land and Water Forum released on the eve of the court hearing pushed for a system similar to individual transferrable quota for fisheries.
"Water is going to have a quantum allocation put around it, it's going to have the equivalent of a total allowable catch for water, and then it is going to be traded. And we are getting the rerun of the fisheries but of water," he says.
Mr Harman says sound bites from Prime Minister John Key says that no one owns water run counter to emerging case law around the Resource Management Act, where resource consents have become valuable assets for companies.
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