July 16, 2013
Claimants fight spectrum confiscation
Māori spectrum claimant Whatarangi Winiata says the Government’s refusal to allocate 4G spectrum to Māori is a 21st century version of the 19th century land confiscations.
The New Zealand Māori Council, Ngā Kai Whakapumau I Te Reo Māori and WAI 776 claimants have lodged a fourth claim to radio spectrum after Communications Minister Amy Adams ruled out setting aside for Māori any of the spectrum freed up by the switch to digital television.
The spectrum will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the life of the management right to companies running mobile data networks.
Professor Winiata says the Government refuses to recognise the spectrum is a tāonga, as the tribunal has found in the three previous claims.
"This is another confiscation. It's a 21st century confiscation and it's the nation that needs to say to the Crown, 'we don’t like what you’re doing,'" he says.
Professor Winiata says the Crown didn’t know about radio spectrum when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, so it can’t assume now that it has the sole right to manage and privatise it.
The Waitangi Tribunal has assigned a panel led by Māori Land Court Judge Patrick Savage to determine whether the clam should be given urgency.
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