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Labour leaves door open to claims on foreshore

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

24 June 2003

Labour leaves door open to claims on foreshore

Far from acting decisively, Helen Clark's Government has left the door open for Maori to lodge claims through the Land Court for the seabed and foreshore, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"In answers to Parliamentary Questions today, Margaret Wilson has confirmed that the Maori Land Court will still be allowed to consider claims on customary rights over the foreshore and seabed.

"Margaret Wilson is already talking about 'compensation' for those claims.

"Helen Clark should be acting immediately to end the confusion, despite the difficulties it will cause her in the Maori constituency.

"She's promised a law change but won't give us any details, Labour can't continue to formulate Maori policy behind closed doors.

"Just this afternoon Margaret Wilson confirmed that the consultation with Labour's Maori caucus has yet to take place," says Mr English.

"You can be sure it will continue to be a bone of contention within Labour, given Tariana Turia's statement on June 20 which accused the Opposition of hypocrisy for calling on the Government to 'over-rule a unanimous decision by the Court of Appeal'.

"Now the Associate Maori Affairs Minister is to be part of a Government that by her own definition is guilty of 'hypocrisy'.

"The National Party is determined to see there is no shadow of doubt left hanging over ownership of our treasured foreshore and seabed.

"It's owned by all New Zealanders and must stay that way," Mr English says.

Ends

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