A natural resource for the first time received the status and rights of a legal entity

The Whanganui River

© Рixabay/billiederamos

A new law passed by the Parliament of New Zealand, recognized the Whanganui river, the third longest in the country, “indivisible and living whole” possessing the rights, powers, duties and obligations of a legal entity. The government has also provided the Maori people of new Zealand 80 million dollars in compensation and 30 million to improve the state of the reservoir. This was reported on the website of the Government of New Zealand.

Imagine the river, including at the hearings, there will be two officials – one from the British government and the Maori people.

The indigenous tribes of New Zealand who inhabit the banks of the river, for the first time spoke about the desire to endow the Whanganui river rights in the 1870s. The bill was proposed in 1980. After 29 years, started formal negotiations between the government and Maori. In 2016, the law was presented to Parliament .

“We chose this approach because we believe and we consider the river our ancestor, told the Guardian the main participant in the negotiations with the government from the Maori tribes Gerrard albert (Albert Gerrard). – To consider the river as a living being, from our point of view, more correct than to consider it as property, as was done last century.”
According to the Minister in the negotiations within the framework of the Treaty of Waitangi (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) Christopher Finlayson, it “may seem strange to give natural resources of legal rights.” “However, this is not more strange than family trusts, companies or joint-stock companies”, – said Finlayson. In 2013, a similar law gained national Park “Urewera”. Natural resource status of legal entities was granted for the first time.
The Treaty of Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) is a Treaty which was signed on 6 February 1840, the chiefs of the indigenous Maori tribes and the British officials. The document, signed in the town of Waitangi, which laid the Foundation of the new Zealand state and remains one of the main constitutional documents of the country. The agreement set out the conditions for coexistence of English and Maori people: although the island came under the domination of the British crown, the tribes retained sovereignty and rights to their territories and resources. However, the UK government has repeatedly violated the Treaty and withdrew from the Maori part of the land. The document still calls the claim by the indigenous population. To resolve any conflict Office was established for settlement of disputes under the agreement. The Agency is part of the Ministry of justice of New Zealand.

In 2008, the government was returned to the ownership of seven Maori tribes, nine forests, which occupy 176 thousand hectares in the Central North island. Forests – mainly pine plantations annually bring about $13 million, the Representative Maori tumu Te Ho Hau then noted that the forest would provide Maori sustainable future.

According to official statistics, the Maori population at 30 June 2016 was just over 723 thousand. According to the world Bank, only on the territory of New Zealand in 2015, there were more than 4.5 million people. The Maori people are among the poorest segments of the population, suffer from unemployment.

Material provided by the project of “1”.

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