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Foreshore access birthright of all NZers

Foreshore access birthright of all NZers

The Appeal Court decision delivered yesterday regarding the Maori claim to the foreshore and seabed is a very narrow decision, Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere says.

It finds that:

- The Maori Land Court has jurisdiction to hear applications to foreshore and seabed.
- It may be that any common law right that Maori had prior to the Treaty may have been extinguished by laws enacted afterwards.
- It will not determine whether the common law right of Maori has been extinguished. This is a matter to be heard at first instance by the Maori Land Court.

"Access to and use of the foreshore and seabed is a birthright to be enjoyed by all Kiwis," Mr Tamihere said.

"There may be existing and underlying rights retained by Maori. The nature and status of those rights has not been determined.

Mr Tamihere said that under no circumstances will land held in private hands with rights to the foreshore be open to contest.

"The Government will be considering the implications of the Court of Appeal decision in the national interest."

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