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Govt action on foreshore now critical

Govt action on foreshore now critical

New Government laws to protect our foreshore and seabed from a landslide of Maori claims are now more urgent than ever, according to National Party Leader Bill English.

He's commenting after the Government's decision to give away the opportunity to challenge the Court of Appeal decision to the Privy Council.

"Before the Government cut off that avenue, it should have had strong legislation guaranteeing Crown title over the foreshore and seabed in place," Mr English says.

"But as the secret back-room negotiations continue, there's no evidence of legislation anytime soon with Margaret Wilson's office saying on Monday that the suggestion of legislation was 'ridiculous' and 'nothing definitive was on the table'. "Overnight, Margaret Wilson started talking about policy 'to acknowledge and protect Maori customary rights' long before she mentions the interests of all other New Zealanders," Mr English says.

"The Government should have acted already to end the uncertainty, confusion and potential legal bills with laws that guarantee Crown title over the foreshore and seabed.

"Instead Helen Clark has passed the buck to the Marlborough District ratepayers by urging their local Council to pursue the case," he says.

"On June 30 Helen Clark said 'I don't think they (the council) would want to let the 21 day period expire without taking some action.

"She's left the local community carrying the financial burden for her Government's indecisiveness," says Mr English.

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