Thursday, 2 July 2009

Property rights for sure [update 3]

Now that the Foreshore & Seabed Act faces repeal, I don’t feel the need either to repeat what I’ve said over the last several years on the subject, or to change it.

What could possibly be wrong with recognising the right of people to claim the property in which they have a right?

What could possibly be wrong with the protection of property in which people can prove that right?

Isn’t that all that a repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act will do?

I think this is a fantastic step forward for property rights. I think it’s a great way by which to privatise the commons. I just think there should be more than one race who has this right protected. As an individual right. You know, like One Law for All?

How ‘bout you?

UPDATE: BK Drinkwater rounds up reactions to the repeal report.

UPDATE: Chris Trotter is continuing to repeat the big lie that Don Brash is somehow to blame for Labour’s panicked introduction of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.  Journos such as Radio Live’s James Coleman, who I just heard taken in by Chris’s self-serving myth-building, should avail themselves of David Farrar’s timeline on the subject.  As David points out, Don Brash wasn’t appointed National leader until some 127 days after Labour’s panicked announcement; and the Orewa Speech (which Trotter cites as proximate cause for the panic in an attempt to diminish what was said there) wasn’t delivered for a full 218 days after Clark and Wilson went for the “nuclear option.”

UPDATE 3: It always starts with common law.  Readers who’d like to get their heads around this issue would be well advised to get to grips with the concept of common law, and the process by which common law can recognise long established use as a means by which to recognise a property right.  Two of those methods, which you can read about in any book of tort law (or, no doubt, in any decent Google search) are acquisition by prescription, and by ‘the doctrine of lost modern grant.’

That’s the simple process which Ngati Apa had initiated in Marlborough, success in which caused the panic in Helen Clark’s private dressing room.

You would also do well to realise that this process of rights acquisition cuts both ways; that is, it’s eminently appropriate for both property owners and property users – which is to say, in this case, it’s an appropriate from by which the rights of both the owners of the foreshore and seabed and those who desire access to it can be registered and protected. If I may quote myself:

    Common law. Common law has hundreds of years of demonstrated success in protecting property rights, as well as being practical and cost effective. It's common sense. [And it’s what Maori are asking for here.]
    Under common law, the right of access is just one of many 'sticks' in the bundle of rights associated with your land. Groups (or individuals) can only acquire such rights by either purchase, or by long unchallenged use (as per 'prescription,' or the doctrine of 'lost modern grant'). Such groups might for example be tramping clubs, angling organisations, hunting clubs, skiing clubs, botanical societies, canoe clubs etc. Such rights, if they exist, would be specific, clearly defined and circumscribed, and would appear on title deeds as a specific easement in favour of specific groups, which property-owners would know about when property was purchased. Common law is clear, certain, and protects your property rights (the exact opposite of the RMA, for instance.) And best of all, common law is simple, and thus doesn't require hoards of bureaucrats to administer it.

I invite you to explore the concept.


  1. PC said...
    I don’t feel the need either to repeat what I’ve said over the last several years on the subject, or to change it.

    Did you mean the following archived article of yours, since the link above doesn't show anything?

    Property Rights: A Blessing for Maori New Zealand

  2. That surprises me. On my computer there's a full page of posts going back to April 2005. You don't see that when you click the link?

  3. No it was an incorrect link that I pasted since I normally don't click on any of the links you include in your post because that will take me away from the article itself. I open another tab to post the link there so I can still concentrate on the main article, without having to click forward & back when viewing a specific link.

  4. I would certainly follow more links if I new they "always" opeened in a new tab or a new window.


  5. Safari browser - hover mouse over link - right click (yes even on a mac) - "open link in new tab or window'

  6. FF & Dude,

    if you have a middle button on your mouse (i.e. a scroll wheel that you can also "click") then use that to click on links.
    it will open a new TAB in FF & IE7


  7. I feel strongly about this issue and last night published my own blog post on it.

    I find it frustrating that so many seem to want to approach this issue from the perspective of how does it affect me personally rather than what is right and just.

    Due process was slapped in the face, power was wielded wrongly and it is about to happen again, and all anyone cares about is being able to go to the beach.

    The case needs to go back to court. The politicians need to butt out.

  8. If anyone thought National would be an improvement on Labour, they just need to take a look at this:


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