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Maori Activists Assert Line In The Sand

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Maori 'Activists' Assert Line In The Sand

Maori Activists last night delivered an unwavering statement of intent to Maori Labour Party MPs on the proposed legislation and crown ownership of Maori seabeds and foreshore.

Led by veteran activist Ken Mair, the activists signalled an uncompromising response to threats by the government to remove Maori customary and legal rights. Mair said "It was noted to the Labour Maori Caucus and the Minister of Maori Affairs that crown ownership of our ownership rights is intolerable. We will not allow any extinguishment of our customary rights and will protect those rights by whatever means we deem necessary".

Mair's statement follows widespread Maori anger and criticism to plans by the government to prevent Maori the beaches and sea-beds being owned by Maori. "Government legislation is totally inappropriate as the government does not have the right to determine what doesn't belong to them and we will do everything in our means to ensure our rights are protected" Mair said. When questioned about possible action planned by the activists Mair said "Due to the immoral position the crown has taken we will prohibit them and their agents from accessing our waters and foreshore. We will also provide advice and support to Maori communities who wish to uphold their ownership rights".

In a paper presented to the Labour Party Maori Caucus, Treaty activist Moana Jackson wrote "By its very nature the current Crown approach is both delimiting and exclusionary - it is based less upon an obligation to protect and share and more upon an assumed right to control".

Emerging from the emergency meeting veteran activist Hone Harawira said "Support was offered to the Labour Party Maori Caucus for their stand against government plans to own the foreshore and sea-beds. We also made it known this is a line in the sand issue. We will not back down."

Also present at the meeting was lawyer Annette Sykes who said "The Maori MPs were challenged to consider their position in a Government that is clearly set upon a course of action that continues to confiscate our lands and therefore breaches Te Tiriti o Waitangi".

In response to questions concerning the rights of all New Zealanders Sykes said "We invite all New Zealanders to share the many resources of our country. Maori have continually recognised this partnership as was guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We also recognise our responsibility to protect our native title".

Leading Maori from throughout the country are expected at a hui in Paeroa next week to discuss Maori rights to the coastline.



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