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Where's The Consistency, Labour?

Where's The Consistency, Labour?

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today called on the Labour Government to act consistently.

"While supporting the Government's clear statement that the ownership of the coastal foreshore and seabed must remain vested in the Crown, I am bound to point out the inconsistency with Labour's ongoing negotiations to transfer the foreshore and bed of 14 Rotorua lakes to Te Arawa," Mr Shirley said.

"Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson today stated that, in the opinion of the Crown, there is no exclusive use of waterways under aboriginal title. Accepting this position, it is untenable for the Minister to continue pursuing the ownership of lake foreshore and beds.

"Before 1922, the Native Land Court was hearing evidence to determine the ownership of the Rotorua lakes. In 1922, the Crown reached an agreement with Te Arawa that pre-empted the Native Land Court making a decision about ownership.

"The agreement was reflected in the Native Land Claims and Native Land Adjustments Act 1922. Under the Act, the Crown was deemed to own the 14 lakes to which it applied, and the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board began to receive a fixed annuity of 6,000 pounds from the Crown. Since the 1922 agreement the annuity has been increased once, in 1977, to $18,000 per year.

"The lakes covered by the 1922 Act are Rotoehu, Rotomä, Rotoiti, Rotorua, Okataina, Ökareka, Rerewhakaaitu, Tarawera, Rotomahana, Tikitapu (the Blue Lake), Ngahewa, Tutaeinanga, Opouri/Ngapouri, and Okaro/Ngakaro.

"The same issues relating to the coastal foreshore and seabed exist with respect to these lakes. They are all used extensively by the public for recreational pursuits - and for the same reasons that the Government moved decisively on the coastal foreshore and seabed, they should reassert Crown ownership of these lakes," Mr Shirley said.

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