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Dunne: Time for openness on Maori foreshore claims

Dunne: Time for openness on Maori foreshore claims

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, says it's time for some clear answers on what the Government is doing to resolve the wrangle over Maori claims to the nation's foreshores and seabeds.

"The Government says it's waiving the right to appeal to the Privy Council, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that it is intending to legislate to assert the Crown's right to ownership of the seabed and foreshore," he says.

"Yet the Minister for Treaty Negotiations office is quoted as saying legislation is a long way off and nothing is drafted as yet.

"It is simply not good enough that senior Ministers negotiate secretly with their own Maori MP's on this issue, while ordinary New Zealand families are left wondering whether they can freely go to the beach or cast a fishing line into the water.

"Not to mention the country's marine farmers who are wondering just who owns the areas they use for their industry.

"United Future has made it clear to the Government we will support any legislation that confirms the current status of the foreshore and seabed for all New Zealanders and makes clear that no additional restrictions will be placed on access to what Kiwis have always regarded as their birthright."

Mr Dunne says the uncertainty is bad for the country and it's time the Government spoke openly about just what is really going on.

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