Who Really Owns Cadburys, Dunedin?

Property is a commodity, a possession, which may be sold or disposed of as the owner sees fit. After the transaction is legitimised by a legal document, justice and all democratic and economic requirements of fairness to all parties is served. It’s simple really.

To consider an alternative, the Maori concept of property for instance, would scatter the pigeons, upset the applecart and frighten the horses, not to mention do our heads in. A man’s home is his castle, and all that. Owners are rulers in their own domain. Well, they were before the domestic violence and child abuse brigade wrested it from them.

That a recently formed group of financiers, shareholders, if you will, from a country or countries far away, who have no interest in Dunedin and may not even know the whereabouts of New Zealand, makes an arbitrary financial decision about other matters of business which happens to turn Dunedin’s thriving Cadbury factory into collateral damage, is beside the point. Business is business and the only kind of investment that ownership recognises is  financial.

Yes, Dunedin in general and Cadbury workers and their families may have developed and nurtured this business for generations but that is irrelevant. Social, emotional and any other type of investment you care to mention is not worth a bar of chocolate compared to financial investment. So Dunedin people have no say in the matter.

Consider the alarm that would be caused by even contemplating an alternative way of seeing the world. Apart from all that wasted energy picking up and re-stacking upturned apples, what about the disturbance created by frightened horses? And more importantly, what if confidence in our irreproachable concept of ownership was diverted by scattering pigeons!

No. No. Frothy alternatives must be ignored to ensure that our heads, far from being done in, remain untroubled to vigorously plan for new possessions either in Dunedin or Timbuktu.

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Chris Horan

Chris is a former social worker, probation officer and Family Court counsellor, living in Hawea in the South Island.