Land wars to water wars
Divide and rule was the main aim of the Government's planned 'consultation hui' with iwi on rivers connected to the hydro-power schemes of SOEs floated for privatisation.
This plan is now in ruins in the wake of Maori King Tuheitia call for a national hui at Turangawaewae marae on the banks of the Waikato River.
Taken on its own, the decision by the Maori King to call a national hui is a serious blow to the asset sales agenda. Together with the six month delay announced on Monday the two defeats critically undermine National's attempt to go around Maori resistance to asset sales by just talking to some iwi leaders.
Morgan Godfrey has explained some of the political ramifications, 'Will the Kingitanga pressure Waikato-Tainui negotiators to refuse a deal that excludes a national solution? The answer: yes.'
If Maoridom come united out of the hui on September 13 in a rejection of asset sales, National will have a choice. Give up on asset sales or crush all resistance.
When the British first invaded the Waikato to crush the King Movement in 1863 they needed 12,000 imperial troops and only 'won' after 10 months of fierce fighting. Tribal divisions left Maori to weak to win the land wars of the nineteenth century. Pan-Maori resistance now will strengthen the struggle against asset sales and for tino rangatiratanga.