Has Brownlee broken the law?

It is a question that I have asked a few times this week, but one that I cannot answer. It is a question that deserves an answer.

Here’s the short story:

The Minister for Energy and Resources, Gerry Brownlee, puts together ‘block offers’, which are big blocks on the map for oil exploration rights. Oil companies bid on these for the right to explore for oil.

There is a big block offshore to the north of Cape Reinga, quite sensibly called the Reinga Block offer. When the Minister was putting it together, local Iwi said hang on, we think we own that oil! Crown Minerals said OK, hold on while the Minister has a look at it. Apparently, he never did look at it and the Reinga Block offer went ahead anyway.

Since then, Crown Minerals has told the Waitangi Tribunal that the Crown doesn’t necessarily own the oil outside of 12 miles, and confirmed that not investigating a claim of ownership could be a breach of the Treaty and a violation of international law.

I am no expert in international law, but if Crown officials suggest there might be a problem, the only fair thing to do is ask the question. The problem is the Minister doesn’t seem to want to answer the question.

Here’s the long version:

There is, at the very least, an appearance that the Minister may have acted inappropriately when he ignored Te Aupouri Iwi’s claim to the oil resource in the Reinga Block off the coast of the far north. Crown Minerals sent Te Aupouri a ‘holding position’ letter acknowledging receipt of their claim, pending the Minister’s review. It was never followed up and the Minister opened the Reinga Block offer anyway.

What is at stake is quite significant. Crown Minerals testified to the Waitangi Tribunal in April that the Minister had failed to investigate Te Aupouri’s claim and also confirmed that this might be a violation of international law and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Crown Minerals also stated that the oil in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) isn’t owned by the Crown.

The Minister’s office has told Maori Television that there is no basis to my claims but to my knowledge he hasn’t made a formal statement. Until the Minister fronts up with his version of the story, I can only rely on the Tribunal’s records.

Here’s an excerpt from the draft transcript of the Management of the Petroleum Resource Inquiry, Wai 796, #2.154, Hearing 26-29 April 2010. In this dialogue, RR is the Crown Minerals guy and GP is the lawyer:

GP       And, the Continental Shelf Act provides that the provisions of the Crown Minerals Act apply with respect to petroleum on the continental shelf, that’s correct?

RR       Yes, they do.

GP       And that’s – – –

RR       They apply the entire Crown Minerals Act.

GP       Bar one provision.

RR       Section 10.

GP       Which is the ownership provision.

RR       Indeed.

GP       Isn’t that a fairly significant exception? The Crown doesn’t own – – –

RR       I mean, it’s – to me it’s not significant, it’s obvious. How else? I mean, the Crown does not own petroleum beyond the – you know, at in the EZ, why wouldn’t that be the position. But, of course, as you well know the Crown has full authority to operate and exercise block offers and so on, it has sovereign rights over resource.

GP       But it can only do so if there are private ownership rights, it must take those into account when issuing permits out in the inclusive economic zone?

RR       That’s right and, you know, Te Aupouri has, through this letter, asserted private ownership rights.

GP       So that raises a very serious issue, doesn’t it?

RR       It raises an issue, yes.

GP       Mm. Because the Crown is obliged to investigate to see if there are customary rights extant when those are raised, that’s an obligation under both international law and under the Treaty of Waitangi, isn’t it?

RR       That’s right, but I would also remind you that the Crown still has authority to proceed with a blocks offer – – –

GP       But is it – – –

RR       – – -because it has asserted sovereign rights over petroleum under section 3 of the Continental Shelf Act.

GP       But that would be subject to any customary rights of ownership that could be proven.

RR       That’s right and I – as yet there is nothing in the New Zealand Court system, there are no claims over those.

GP       But what – – –

RR       But we are considering the issue that you’ve raised.

GP       But that’s why this issue where you didn’t provide a substantive response is so important that the issue of customary rights outside the 12 mile limit is still a live issue.

RR       It is.

So the issue of customary rights outside the 12 mile limit is still a live issue. Why didn’t Brownlee investigate this?

Who does own the offshore oil in the Reinga Block?

Could Te Aupouri’s claim be legitimate? We don’t know because the Minister has failed to look into it.

Was international law violated? We don’t know because the Minister hasn’t responded.

Was the Treaty of Waitangi violated? We don’t know because the Minister hasn’t responded.

What we do know is that the Continental Shelf Act, which says that the Crown Minerals Act applies to offshore areas, also specifically excludes the ‘ownership’ clause of the Crown Minerals Act.

So the Crown can control the management of the offshore oil resource, but it doesn’t necessarily own it.

What obligation does the Minister have to make sure he knows who owns the oil before he issues permits? Crown Minerals seems to think he has an obligation under law to investigate ownership claims, so why hasn’t he?

There are an awful lot of unanswered questions, and what is desperately needed is for the Minister to put all the facts on the table in an open and transparent way. In the absence of facts, all manner of conspiracies can be conjured up to fill the void. That’s not fair to the Minister, yet doing nothing is not fair to Te Aupouri.

There may well be some very good reasons why the Minister failed to investigate Te Aupouri’s claim. There may well be other areas of New Zealand law where the Crown has extinguished any claim Te Aupouri may have.

We know what Crown Minerals has to say about this, but none of this can be resolved until the Minister clarifies his part in the drama.

The silence from the Minister’s office is beginning to get awkward.

35 thoughts on “Has Brownlee broken the law?

  1. Are there any quid pro quos – presumed by the parties, or actual – likely to operate over such matters..?

  2. There may well be some very good reasons why the Minister failed to investigate Te Aupouri’s claim. There may well be other areas of New Zealand law where the Crown has extinguished any claim Te Aupouri may have.

  3. Do not attribute to malice that which can satisfactorily be explained by incompetence.

    Sigh.

  4. With regard to potential oil reserves under the Canterbury Plains, where there is believed to be a sedimentary basin of the sort that could trap oil and gas. Might these not belong to Nghai tahu (and shouldn’t we consider this before we commit too heavily to state spending on state housing for instance)?:

    Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Green Party

    2008年8月29日17:42

    You don’t have to look very deeply within the Green Party to see that one of the values that unites us all is an absolute commitment to integrity – both personal and collective. Every aspect of our processes, our policies and our behaviour as Greens testifies to a fundamental commitment to acting in ethical ways.

    The principles of the Green Party Charter are an embodiment of our collective commitment to values like honesty, fairness and respect for one another and for the planet.

    Our Charter also explicitly accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of this country, recognising Maori as Tangata Whenua. Part of the public discussion that has followed from the recent arrests in Ruatoki and elsewhere citing anti-terrorism laws has been an assertion of Tuhoe’s “sovereignty”. The sense of consternation from some quarters that has greeted this assertion must remind us that this preamble to our Charter is not just a form of empty words but rather a commitment to principle that demands our action.

    We are moving into a new phase of the collective national discussion about the Treaty, and as Greens we have a responsibility both to be an active and ethical voice in that discussion but also to work to equip others to participate in that discussion from an informed and principled basis, rather than sheer short term self interest.

    Discussion to date has focused on the return of usually a small fraction of those resources unfairly taken from Maori as reparation, on reducing inequalities and on the rights of Maori as an ethnic and cultural minority with a threatened language and culture. While some of these issues have been addressed in part through the deliberations of the Waitangi Tribunal, these issues are, in fact, largely unrelated to the Treaty. If there were no Treaty, as there is not in a number of other societies around the world, these would all still be issues that would need to be addressed in a fair and just society.

    The phase of the discussion that we now need to move into is one that that focuses on Maori status as the indigenous people of this country and on the actual content of the Treaty: a statement of the terms and conditions for the presence of non-Maori. The Maori right to self-determination pre-dated the Treaty and was not altered by it. What is at issue in understanding the Treaty are the rights of non-Maori.

    Let us be clear that the meaning of the Treaty must be determined from the Maori text. Those writers of angry letters to the editor who cite the plain cession of sovereignty of the English text and declare “game over” in fact ignore the law, which makes it the responsibility of the party offering a contract to ensure that the party accepting it fully understands it. If disputes arise, interpretations of the contract are to be made according to the understanding of the accepting party rather than the party that drew up the contract.

    This means that the Maori text of the Treaty, and the explanations of the meaning of the Treaty given to Maori before signing, determine the Treaty’s meaning, and the English text is essentially irrelevant. At the heart of this deal, the “tino Rangatiratanga” of Maori would be respected by the British Crown and Maori would have all the right of British subjects, in return for a cession of “kawanatanga”. Kawanatanga was a made up word, based on “kawana” (for Governor). Maori were familiar with this new word because it was the Maori word that had been coined to describe the role of Pontius Pilate in the translation of the Bible. Explanations given to Maori at the time of signing emphasised the role of this kawanatanga in curbing the excesses of Pakeha settlers and protecting Maori. In contrast the Biblical use of Rangatiratanga had been to describe the Kingdom of God.

    It is plain that sovereignty was not ceded by the Treaty, but rather Pakeha were given a basis for establishing government (of Pakeha). No wonder the historical record is of Maori disillusionment and anger since.

    Obviously the case can be argued in much more detail than this, but this is the essence. A typical response from Pakeha at this point is to dismiss this as all in the past, and assert the need to simply move on from where we are now, doing our best to achieve equity of outcome for all citizens, whose rights are to be assumed identical.

    As Greens, this is precisely what we cannot do. Such a position is unprincipled and unethical. Our responsibility is instead to grasp the nettle and, trusting to our integrity and to our belief in ethical process, to work through what a balance of Maori Rangatiratanga and Tauiwi Kawanatanga might mean in a modern society.

    Nineteenth century colonisation worked pretty well the same way the world over: a beach-head of traders and missionaries was established and stalling tactics like treaties used to negotiate a safe space for the colonisers while numerically fewer. The coloniser then increased military strength until it had superiority (sometimes misjudging this, or almost doing so, in fact), at which point the treaties could be set aside and power secured by force.

    In our determination to breathe life into our Charter’s commitment, guilt and hand-wringing are unhelpful. Our particular contribution must be a resolute determination to do what is right and our toolbox of Charter principles that equips us to step into a leadership in this new discussion. Now’s good.

    This article was printed in Te Awa, the Magazine of the Green Party of Aotearoa.

  5. This responsibility consists namely in:
    1. restoring the mana of the people, i.e. assuring the actualisation of their primary tapu by helping them to develop their potential. The full mana of the Maori is directly related to their role of kaitiaki;
    2. assuring the sustainability and the long term use of their taonga which encompass all the natural resources of their land;
    3. protecting the fragile elements of their ecosystems;
    4. replenishing and assuring the provisions of kaimoana (seafood) and all the other sources of kai (food) for the future generations;
    5. planning and supervising all commercial developments with the iwi and the rangatira, those leaders who favour harmony within their community and hold its members together “so they move as one, like a shoal”;
    6. developing educational programs to explain the interrelations between all the elements of their living taonga (lands, seabeds, foreshores, water, air, animals and human beings) and to help people understand how the imbalance or destruction of one element can seriously affect all the others.

    etc, etc
    http://www.kaitiakitanga.net/stories/origins%20research.htm

  6. How far do any (human granted) rights go? Do they stretch across the oceans until met by a competing claim? Do they stretch to the centre of the earth? Do they stretch to the edge of the atmosphere, or further?

    Not that the government should sanction the extraction of even more ancient sunlight to devastate our environment further but how can anyone claim rights over something that they never new existed until recently (and it still might not)?

  7. ah well – no result from the ‘h’ as usual – Brownlee was up on assault charges recently – how did that go – buried?

  8. Is it all about Brownlee? I think not. This post is about the Greens promoting the rights of people who have indigenous ancestries to resources such as oil against a background that adheres (“honorably”) to a system where the original territories remain under control of indigenous “rangitira” for whose people the “whenua” is a big pot (minus privately owned land “legitimately” bought).
    See Kevin Hague’s piece above:

    At the heart of this deal, the “tino Rangatiratanga” of Maori would be respected by the British Crown and Maori would have all the right of British subjects, in return for a cession of “kawanatanga”. Kawanatanga was a made up word, based on “kawana” (for Governor). Maori were familiar with this new word because it was the Maori word that had been coined to describe the role of Pontius Pilate in the translation of the Bible. Explanations given to Maori at the time of signing emphasised the role of this kawanatanga in curbing the excesses of Pakeha settlers and protecting Maori. In contrast the Biblical use of Rangatiratanga had been to describe the Kingdom of God.

  9. This is alternate view to Hague, Clements, Delahunty and assorted “activist” Green Party “advisors” from Bullshit, Backlash, and Bleeding Hearts. By David Slack:

    “Time for some expert help here. The first lecturer I had at law school who taught our class anything Treaty-related was Alex Frame. [ ….]
    People sometimes ask me, ‘How do I see the Treaty. How should we think of the Treaty?’ I’ve always said that the first article of the Treaty – the kawanatanga part – is very strong – much stronger than some Maori are prepared to concede, and the second article, which guarantees rangatiratanga is also very strong – much stronger than many Pakeha are prepared to concede. So how can we have these two strong articles sitting there? I’m tempted sometimes by this idea. In a way both sides gambled. The Crown gambled. Why was it prepared to sign up to Article II? Well, in a sense the Crown gambled that there would be assimilation. And therefore if there was assimilation, as you will see. Article II would become increasingly unimportant. On the other hand, Maori gambled. After all, why did Maori sign up for Article I – and by the way, don’t go for these readings that say Article I was only giving the Queen power over Pakeha. The most elementary reading of the Maori version of the first article shows that that is completely untenable. It gives the Queen te Kawanatanga katoa – all – of the kawanatanga; o ratou wenua – of their lands. Now, which lands is that? That’s the lands of the chiefs. That’s all it can be -have a look at the structure and I challenge anyone to show me an even faintly tenable reading which can dispute that it’s all the territory of New Zealand.
    So why did Maori sign up to that? Well, I think they gambled. I think they gambled that the demographics in New Zealand would stay, not exactly as they were in 1840, but would stay approximately such that there would be a preponderance of Maori and that the newcomers would be relatively few. I know there is a reference in the preamble to others coming, but I think the gamble was that if the demographics stayed favourable to Maori then this kawanatanga thing would be a really abstract sort of notion in the background. “

  10. Just to answer jh’s question about Canterbury – the answer is no, all title to petroleum within the territory of NZ (within the 12 nautical mile limit as it’s defined today) was claimed by the Crown in 1937 with the petroleum Act. this formally extinguishes any rights tangata whenua may have had prior to that Act. My understanding is that this does not apply to the continental shelf outside 12 miles, where, as the Crwon Minerals guy in the transcript says, title is a ‘live issue’.

  11. Frog Says:
    “all title to petroleum within the territory of NZ (within the 12 nautical mile limit as it’s defined today) was claimed by the Crown in 1937 with the petroleum Act.”
    ….
    on the other hand :

    “This was settled law. The Crown owned the foreshore and seabed and that was that. There were no issues – until a group of activist judges (including the Chief Justice) overturned that 1963 Court of Appeal ruling in a decision on the Ngati Apa case in 2003, which raised the possibility that Maori customary title in general could be converted into freehold title, which in turn could lead to Maori control of the coastline. ”
    http://www.nzcpr.com/weekly224.htm

  12. Tony,

    how can anyone claim rights over something that they never new existed until recently

    I’ve only found out recently that the on-shore oil industry was nationalised without compensation in the 1930s and, before that, 90% of it was in Maori ownership.

    I would think that, before the nationalisation, whoever came to possess the land, regardless of their reasons, came to possess the rights the oil under it, even if they didn’t know about oil when they first possessed the land.

    For a not entirely good analogy, consider the possibility that I might grow a new crop on farm-land that I bought before anyone had invented the crop.

  13. I don’t really care about the $$$ aspect – I do care about the fact that IF their is a spillage it’s all of NZ that will be effected – does no one really understand that A – we don’t have the resources or plan to do a clean up, 2 – that NZ currents are that strong that if on the East coast the currents will pull it all over the East Side of NZ, the Sounds and Wellington will be affected, the effect will be loss of use of the beaches, diving, fishing etc. so great one government (sarcasm intended) – you get your money and we get a whole lot of nothing and probably a mess considering how many earth quakes the east coast gets

  14. “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just
    man is also a prison “..: Henry David Thoreau

    already in a certain cell Gerry
    we reserve the real ones for people who matter!

  15. Which law do the Greens see as relevant in this issue Common law or tikanga? If it is common law issue how is that compatible with your stance on te tiritti?. Here you are framing the issue around our common law system (out the front) while extolling tino rangitiratanga (out the back). :roll:

  16. “I think they gambled. I think they gambled that the demographics in New Zealand would stay, not exactly as they were in 1840…”

    Don’t agree – I think they saw ‘kawanatanga’ as a limited power. In part because it was considered a weaker term than ‘tino rangatiratanga’ and because of British assurances that British power would be limited and not interfere with their day to day lives.

  17. “…how can anyone claim rights over something that they never new existed until recently”

    I promise you that should I discover my great grandmother’s gold teeth hidden under the floorboards, I will try damn hard to assert my ownership of them!

  18. I think they gambled that the demographics in New Zealand would stay, not exactly as they were in 1840…”

    I think that is exactly right. A chief told how he panicked when he saw how many settlers were arriving. He thought there would be a few hundred.

  19. “The Ati Awa chief Te Wharepouri told William Wakefield that when he had participated in the sale of land to the New Zealand Company he had been expecting about ten Pakeha, to settle around Port Nicholson, one Pakeha for each pa.

    When he saw the more than 1,000 settlers who stepped off the company’s ships, he panicked. It was beyond anything that Te Wharepouri had imagined.”

    Penguin History of NZ Michael King.

  20. Be sure to watch the Marae programme tomorrow morning. If
    Gerry doesn’t chicken out, we may get some reasonable answers and the whole thing may go away. That said, I’m not holding my breath for sensible answers. His actions and Crown Minerals statements seem completely at odds.

  21. jc,

    For a not entirely good analogy, consider the possibility that I might grow a new crop on farm-land that I bought before anyone had invented the crop.

    You’re right, it’s not a good analogy. That is using the surface of the land for whatever use you see fit (provided it doesn’t adversely impact others). I feel sure that the common understanding of property ownership is what you can see, or what can be discerened with a garden fork. So how far down does that ownership extend? I doubt anyone would claim ownership down to the centre of the earth and through to the opposite surface of the planet. Where it stops is arbitrary and common understanding probably didn’t envisage anything beyond a few feet down into the topsoil.

    Having said that, Maori values would probably ensure that the oil stays underground rather than be produced to further damage our land and environment. So I hope that claim is upheld.

  22. The Sea and its ownership is covered by UN Treaties namely UNCLOS III. Maori are not recognized as a sovereign nation and as such they are not able to participate or sign onto any of these treaties regarding the ownership of this water. The UNCLOS treaty breaks the water around a nation into 3 category’s , Territorial waters , EEZ, Continental Shelf.

    NZ is a submerged continent so our Continental shelf is massive, I think only about 10% of NZ is above water.

    Gerry Brownlee is correct to state that the crown doesn’t own the land in the EEZ or the continental shelf, however the UNCLOS treaty grants mineral and marine rights within the EEZ and surface mineral rights within the Continental shelf. The green party is way off base here but it think thats because they doen’t understand the UNCLOS treaty. Of course Gerry Brownlee is also an idiot since he can’t seem to spell out where the crown has the authority to dish out mining permits. Maori have a 0% chance of claiming the minerals within this zone, the treaty in no way extended ownership to something Maori never owned to begin with, if the tribunal found in the Maoris favour then they would be opening the door to Maori laying claim on that basis to the entire Universe.

  23. Also the Greens by asserting this seem to be claiming that the New Zealand parliament doesn’t have sovereignty within New Zealand. For a political party that sits in the parliament and for a sitting MP David Clendon to assert this is ludicrous, for now I give the greens and David Clendon the benifit of the doubt but if David continues to push this then he should resign.

    I ask this question to the Green party Does Parliament hold sovereignty with in NZ. If it does then everything being claimed is rubbish because the NZ parliament ratified the UNCLOS treaty and if no then why does the Green party and its MPs sit in Parliament to begin with.

  24. Are Ngati Porou lighting their fires to signal ownership of the oil or are they warning the Government of their intention to act, should oil wash up on East Coast takutai?

  25. Te Tiritti everything! “Te Tiriti o Waitangi is like a rope between us”
    ['nuff said about that one]
    http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/green-mp-catherine-delahuntys-maiden-speech

    “Earlier today I took an affirmation of loyalty to the Crown.
    I would now add to that a commitment to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as the founding constitutional document of the country I now aspire to serve, as have other Green MPs before me.”
    http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/david-clendon-maiden-speech/5/30458

    Mr Speaker, I open in Maori, because I believe my first words in this House should be in the first language of this country. Earlier this week I took up my place in the House declaring allegiance to her Majesty the Queen, but I take this opportunity to also declare my intent to honour the commitment made by her antecedent, the Treaty of Waitangi.
    http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/kevin-hague-maiden-address-49th-parliament

    and this is an adherence to the Maori version in 1840 when there were 2000 Europeans and 60 to 70 or perhaps 100,000 Maori and a letter to the UK parliament too at least 6 months to receive a reply. Never mind though because the institutions of [saintly] Maoridom have the answer to all our needs. :roll:

  26. JH,

    I see the point you are making, and it is something I have thought about quite a bit.

    Lets reverse the situation. If I was the prime minister I would nationalise (without compensation) many privately owned businesses. I would also stop private ownership of any land.

    Needless to say, I don’t expect to become the prime minister any day soon. But, just imagine a hypothetical situation where the above policies were being implemented. I imagine that there would be a lot of very angry people who would argue that these actions were illegal under the law of New Zealand in 2010 (they’d probably do a lot more than just argue). I would argue that times have moved on, and that the policies were designed to build a fairer society that benefits the majority of the people, and that laws which are derived from a those in a country half way around the globe (and hundreds of years ago) are no longer relevant to modern New Zealand.

    OK, the above scenario is not very likely to happen, but does provide a useful thought experiment when considering how modern day people should view treaties such as that which was signed at Waitangi. On one hand we could argue that what was signed 170 years ago should be adhered to the letter (neglecting issues of how to interpret what was signed, and which version is valid for the time being). On the other hand we could argue along the lines that you are; the treaty is dated and irrelevant to modern New Zealand, and is therefore mainly of historical interest. It should not determine how resources are divided up today.

    Of course, there is probably a middle path in between the above two positions. However, if we consider the position you are arguing for, one has to realise that a future government may radically alter the laws concerning ownership of land, resources and so on. If you were on the “losing” side, would you still agree with the sorts of arguments you are currently making?

  27. Actually Sam the prime minister under the law in New Zealand in 2010 can legally do everything you claimed in your post.

    The prime minister of New Zealand along with the cabinet (Executive Branch) are virtually a dictatorship.

    Which Law for example do you claim bars the New Zealand Prime Minister from nationalizing private business, don’t bother looking as their isn’t any.

    Since New Zealand has no constitution there is no protection from the crown, in essence in New Zealand the crown is all powerful with absolutely no limits and the people of New Zealand have absolutely no protection from the crown.

  28. Turnip28,

    In any case, even if there is a law preventing nationalisation of private businesses, the government can change the law if it has the required numbers.

    The second point about people needing protection from the state is a very important one. A constitution would be very helpful, but in the end, this is just a piece of paper. The ultimate protection that the citizens have from a rogue government is power in numbers.

  29. samiuela Says:

    “If you were on the “losing” side, would you still agree with the sorts of arguments you are currently making?”

    I don’t think oil kilometers below the ground should necessarily belong to me because a couple of my great grandparents were among the original inhabitants of that geographical area.

    People are territorial and selfish. When they acquire wealth their head swells whether they knocked out the world champion, won lotto or inherited. I don’t buy the “Maori are different” argument.

    I think that an economy wont run smoothly until we recognise the value of land to society in general and that we all have a stake in what others do around us. For that reason I support the states ability to tax land as though it owned it. The poor goatherd in Sicily should not be out of the equation when the Pom arrives with borrowed money and capital gains in sight.

  30. I like samiuela’s notion of no private ownership and jh’s notion of land value to society. Private ownership seems counter to a fair society and to the idea of communities. Luck and ancestry are significant factors in how land is divided up but the land is key to all communities. It provides us, and all species, with the means for our/their survival; making parcels of various sizes (from a few square metres to several hundred or thousand hectares the exclusive use of a particular person or group is just plain wrong.

    But, I come back to me question of a few posts ago; in the current climate of private property ownership, how far down and up should property rights extend? This seems fairly arbitrary. It seems we can’t stop planes flying over our property but we insist on exclusive rights below the surface, however far down a resource is.

  31. As a descendant of Shetland islanders (on my mothers side) I may have been in for a slice of North Sea oil had my great grandfather not jumped ship to join the goldrushes? But then again … no te tiritti/tangatawheua stuff.

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