As was hinted at last week, Ngapuhi leaders have lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for "commercial use of the wind"; 3News reports:
Ngaphui have formally lodged a claim at the Waitangi Tribunal for commercial use of the wind.Spokesperson David Rankin says the tribe is making a pre-emptive move before any wind farms are set up in Northland.He says the wind can be classified as a protected 'taonga' – or treasure – and Maori should have a say in how it is used in commercial power generation."Like fish in the 1980s, and water more recently, wind will become a property right and its commercial use will be a tradable commodity," says Mr Rankin.He says non-commercial use of the wind will not be affected, and that any criticism of the claim is "flatulence".
Last week Mr Rankin told Firstline that Maori had claim to the wind under Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi.
"Everything is rolling on because of the privatisation of our power companies… When there's a commercial value placed on the wind, then we have to question who owns it.
Mr Rankin and his mates can question whatever they want, but this claim seems to have little merit. The winds that blow across Aotearoa almost always have their genesis in weather systems that develop well beyond the margins of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.
So we regard this claim to the Waitangi Tribunal as frivolous, bordering on vexatious. And with it comes a danger.
One day, we reckon that Maori will lodge a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal that proves to be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of the government of the day's goodwill towards Maori, and to those who have lodged genuine claims. That claim will be the one that derails the Waitangi Tribunal gravy train. Might this claim be that straw?
And David Rankin ought to get his facts right. He is quoted as saying:
"We can actually prove we've had a connection with wind since the beginning of time."
Given that Maori have not been 9in New Zealand from "the beginning of time", this is a big claim for Rankin to be making. Even Maori concede that they were themselves migrants to Aotearoa, somewhere in the region of one thousand years ago. No matter whether one subscribes to the Biblical of the scientific account of creation, "the beginning of time" dates back far further than that!