DEFCON 2 or 3... at least
At first I couldn't quite believe the news that the PM has called in the navy to fight the Greenpeace flotilla harassing the Petrobras survey vessel off the East Cape. Because the police can't handle it. Maybe can't constitutionally handle the ability to control vessels beyond NZ's own territorial limits too as I understand Crown Law has been involved. This has to be the biggest overreaction to Greenpeace since the French government blew up the Rainbow Warrior.
The government is using the Protector class ship to stop some hippies? Please.The NZ government send a navy vessel to protect a Brazilian corporation so they can exploit the Ngati Porou and Whanau a Apanui coast for private gain and yet what was Wellington prepared to send to the Southern Ocean when the Japanese whalers were in conflict with the hippies? Nothing. The NZ government would rather use the Royal NZ Navy to enforce the confiscation and privatisation of the foreshore and seabed than they would send an environmental message to Japan. That shows us what the NZ government's priorities are: defence assets deployed against NZers rather than against the maruading foreign fleets.
But although Petrobras executives were reportedly reduced to tears after meeting with East Coast locals opposed to their work, Mr Key says the Government has not been asked by the giant Brazilian company to intervene.
Recent days have seen swimmers from a protest flotilla of five vessels forcing Petrobras' seismic survey vessel Orient Explorer off course in the Raukumara Basin, off the East Cape, and disrupting its work.
Meanwhile, Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, of protest group Ahi Kaa, told the Herald she had helped organise a meeting on Sunday between Petrobras executives and representatives from protest groups and iwi Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou.
The executives were not accorded the powhiri and other honours at Te Araroa's Hine Rupe Marae which visitors might otherwise expect.
Ms Pahuru-Huriwai confirmed two of the Petrobras executives began crying during the meeting when faced with the strong opposition. She said the executives talked about their workplan, their commitment to environmental protection and financial capacity.
"We weren't interested because it's not about money, it's mana and our ability to feed our families from our traditional 'supermarket'."
The latest news is that police on a navy boat have given a tresspass notice to stay away from the Petrobras ships. Stay away or what?
The roll-out of privatisation: aquaculture space allocation, mineral licences, reclamations etc. in the foreshore and seabed needs the certainty that legislation gives, and it is this that underpins the value of that newly created property. The rehashed Foreshore and Seabed Act confiscation, that went through last month was part of that process. It allows Maori rights to be put at the back and other people's rights to be at the front.
The other part of the process of extinguishing Maori rights is non-legislative and therefore more insidious and harder to detect or stop. Hardly a coincidence then that the Wakapuaka Estuary/Delaware Bay decision comes out of the Supreme Court last week confirming that the government departments and the judiciary and the whole apparatus of the NZ Crown are hostile to the recognition of any Maori land title and are actively pursuing the confiscation of Maori property rights in all its forms. Other freehold title holders don't have their foreshore and seabed title taken to court by the government - by DoC - who then use the fact that they oh so very conveniently find the registered documents disappeared as an excuse to extinguish that title. Does the NZ Crown do this to non-Maori freehold owners? Does the Crown challenge non-Maori freehold titles beyond the statute of limitations? Of course not. Even with what is supposedly the same class of property we find that in reality the government treats the Pakeha owner with full respect that guarantees protection and recognition for their holdings; but treats the Maori owner with full contempt that presumes no rights of protection or recognition.
In this situation, where legislative and administrative assaults on Maori territory are considered unremarkable and routine it would be a mistake to think that Maori are resigned to the situation or that they do not regarded the NZ government actions as hostile. It is hostile, they are hostile. They do it without consent and contrary to the undertakings of the Treaty upon which their presence here is conditional. They are deeply hostile, institutionally hostile, and now - as if to underscore it all - they literally send in a gunboat.