Tom Bennion


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The end of the beginning for Te Waihora?

In April 2015 a hearing panel of the Canterbury Regional Council issued its decisions on the Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere catchment plan, which goes by the technical name of “proposed Variation 1 to the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan”. The plan has a significant vision: “To restore the mauri of Te Waihora while maintaining the prosperous land-based economy and thriving communities.”

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Who owns riverbeds?

Opinion nā Tom Bennion Who does own riverbeds? The answer to that question can affect access to riverbeds for fishing and recreation, but it can also affect the ownership of large structures in riverbeds, such as hydro dams. If the riverbed on which a dam sits is owned by someone else, does the dam owner…

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Tūhoe settlement shows how far we have come

In 1992 I went to Australia on an ANZAC fellowship to study aboriginal land claim settlements. The High Court of Australia had just issued its Mabo decision, which held that aboriginal groups had native title interests in the land which the Crown should have recognised over the last 200 years. Māori legal interests in land had been recognised for around 150 years, so in that sense, Australian law was literally catching up on 150 years of established property law in New Zealand.

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Radical changes to the Resource Management Act

For the first time, a government has proposed changes to the heart of the Resource Management Act, writes Tom Bennion. There have been many changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 over the past few terms of government. Both Labour and National and their various coalition partners have claimed that the Act doesn’t work fast…

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Time waits for no one

More payments may be made as the relativity mechanisms allow a further claim to be made in five years’ time.
Since the Waitangi Tribunal began operating in 1975, around 34 Treaty settlements have been completed, several more are in the pipeline and a recent book Treaty of Waitangi Settlements by Nicola R Wheen and Janine Hayward and published by Bridget Williams Books says that there may be as many as 60 more to come.

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Water issues – a modern day primer

On the issue of iwi rights to water, the [Land and Water] Forum kicked for touch, finding that it was a matter to be sorted out between the Crown and Māori.
Since 1984, seven Waitangi Tribunal reports have dealt with Māori rights in waterways in a substantive way. In each case these reports have found significant Māori interests in water, as well as significant pollution affecting those interests.

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Riverbeds as well as water rights

Ownership of the beds of rivers is important because that is where dams and other water control structures are located. Whoever owns the river bed can control access to it to maintain those structures and to build new ones.

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Reviews

A Savage Country: The Untold Story of New Zealand in the 1820s and more

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