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More at stake than our beaches - Heatley

More at stake than our beaches - Heatley

The debate over exclusive Crown ownership to our beaches and foreshore is just the tip of an enormous iceberg, according to National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

"The iwi aquaculture steering group, which includes members of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission, is calling on the Government to declare 'the rights and responsibilities of Iwi/hapu in the marine environment are continuous... they extend well beyond the 12 nautical mile zone, and indeed beyond 200 miles in some cases.'

"In other words, Maori believe there's a case for a Treaty of Waitangi claim that includes the seabed past the 200 mile mark.

"In reply to my questions on those remarks in Parliament today, Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson was unable to say whether he agreed or disagreed with the statement," says Mr Heatley.

"The leadership vacuum left by the Government on the beaches and seabed issue is causing uncertainty and having major impact on investment," Mr Heatley says.

"Mr Hodgson has previously warned that there's a potential for the aquaculture marine farming moratorium to be extended while the foreshore and seabed issue is under the microscope.

"That only serves to fuel the uncertainty.

"The fishing industry only wants what the majority of New Zealanders want, and that's for Helen Clark to deliver on promises for exclusive Crown title to the beaches and seabed," Mr Heatley says.

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