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Foreshore And Seabed Ownership

Foreshore And Seabed Ownership

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today disputed Maori Fisheries Commissioner Maui Solomon's statement that non-Maori have nothing to fear from collective iwi ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

"In his argument, Mr Solomon cited the example of Lake Taupo as a good precedent - yet nothing could be further from the truth. Lake Taupo is an appalling example. In 1993, the National Government transferred ownership of the lakebed to Tuwharetoa, and a specific condition of this ownership transfer was that unfettered public access for recreation purposes and scientific research would remain at no fee," Mr Shirley said.

"In 2001, the Crown Research Institute Geological Survey and Nuclear Science commissioned a mini-submarine - the Jago - to undertake important geothermal research on the bed of this volcanic crater. Tuwharetoa kaumatua blocked this scientific research, demanding exorbitant fees. The research work did not rake place, and the submarine sat in its packing case on the wharf for many months before being shipped away.

"I'm equally disturbed by regular reports of recreational fisherman, and others, being intimidated, harassed, abused and assaulted by radical young Maori, who endeavour to deny access to the lake for legitimate recreational purposes.

"We have two Acts of Parliament that clearly vest the foreshore and seabed in the Crown. Section 7 of the Territorial Exclusive Economic Act states that the seabed, from the landward side of the low water along the coast of New Zealand (including the coast of all islands), and the seaward side of the outer limits of the territorial sea (the 12-mile limit) shall be deemed to be, and always to have been, vested in the Crown. Furthermore, the Foreshore and Seabed Empowering Re-investment Act of 1991, re-vests in the Crown all foreshore that has been alienated.

Section 5 of this Act expressively states `all of the land to which this Act applies is hereby vested in the Crown, as if it had never been alienated from the Crown and free from all subsequent trusts, reservations, restrictions and conditions'.

"I am again calling on the Labour Government to act decisively. It must spell out the bounds to claims - in order to prevent undue anxiety for tens of thousands of New Zealanders, and to ensure that iwi don't waste any more time and money pursuing claims that should be off limits," Mr Shirley said.

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