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By Trevor Amundsen.

It is not my policy to respond to letters on my opinion articles, but the Editor of the Informer requested that I break my rule, and being publicly accused of writing lies cannot be left to stand without correction, so here I am breaking my rule and am responding to a letter from a Thomas Everth in last week’s Informer, dated 4th July 2023.

The letter from Mr Everth regards the article on equality. Mr Everth made three points the first one being about New Zealand History which he seemed to think I should have acknowledged. His letter spent much time describing New Zealand history. One thing I can be guilty of, and I apologise for, is thinking readers will know things. I initially lay the history out in my article but blew my word limit (I am instructed to keep in the 500-to-700-word range) so I cut this bit out, presuming that we all understood the history. My apologies for presuming we all understood this history, but I still feel including a few hundred words on this would not have added to the point of the article.

I was then accused of a “diatribe against the transgender minority”. This was in the piece of the article describing the growth of divisions in sport. It was not stating an opinion against transgender people, nor did I state an opinion against the physically or mentally impaired which were also mentioned in the context of increasing sports divisions. I am afraid Mr Everth that you read something that was not there and did not show the same empathy for the physically and mentally impaired as you did for Transgender people. A sad omission in your letter.

The major point Mr Everth made was to make the libelous statement that [I] “lies outright by claiming that 3 Waters would give Maori 50% ownership”. You should be very careful before going into print to accuse someone of falsehood Mr Everth.

The concept of ownership does not just follow one rule as is apparently claimed by Mr Everth. There is obviously ownership in the form of paper ownership but more important is beneficial ownership. The writer and others that are interested can find our countries definition on the Internal Affairs (Te Tari Taiwhenua) web site. Look under Beneficial Ownership Guideline, but to help move things along I will summarise. Clause 3 of this Guideline states it clearly “… determine beneficial ownership by identifying the individual(s) that own more than 25 percent of a customer, those with effective control of a customer ….”. The Customer referred to is a Three Waters Entity and the Maori interests are definitely being given effective control of these entities.

If a further definition is required Investopedia defines this as “A beneficial owner is a person who enjoys benefits of ownership even though the title to some form of property is in another name”. There are plenty of other definitions you can read but I am sure that most readers understand this.

Maori Interests will control 50% of the Three Waters Entities with no other party matching that. By our government’s definition and by other definitions this makes them the beneficial owners, with “effective control” of the Three Waters entities. Therefore, I stand by what I previously wrote on this matter and feel that Mr Everth’s libellous comment requires his formal apology.

The rest of Mr Everth’s letter was name calling and abuse that I feel says more about the letter writer than it does me.


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