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Coastal claims set to become powder keg

Coastal claims set to become powder keg

The Prime Minister must move decisively to end the uncertainty surrounding Maori land claims over our coastal seabed and foreshore, says National Party Environment spokesman Dr Nick Smith.

"Far from acting decisively on this issue, Helen Clark has added fuel to the fire with comments like ' in a democracy citizens are free to explore their legal rights through the court system.'

"In other words the Prime Minister is lending credibility to Maori claims over our coast and fuelling more uncertainty," says Dr Smith.

"As predicted, the Court of Appeal ruling has opened to door to other, more outrageous claims, covering huge sections of the North Island coast.

"Now Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia is making more alarming statements that will add to the confusion," Dr Smith notes.

'People with interests in the seabed and foreshore might find this a good time to get into discussions with tangata whenua about possibilities for joint ventures and partnerships.' - Tariana Turia June 20.

"The National Party says the beaches and our coast should remain a birth-right for all New Zealanders.

"And if Helen Clark truly believes in democracy she must take on board the views in a new survey of 6000 people published today," says Dr Smith.

"It shows there's mounting unease about our culture and the land claims process.

"The Labour Government must move to reassure all New Zealanders that it won't let our beaches, foreshore and seabed become a bargaining chip for Maori," Dr Smith says.

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