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Clark opens floodgates to tide of beach claims

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

30 July 2003

Clark opens floodgates to tide of beach claims

National Party Leader Bill English says Helen Clark's vacillation on the beaches and seabed issue has opened the floodgates to a tide of new claims.

"Ever since June 19, the Government has been backtracking on its promise to confirm exclusive Crown title to our beaches and seabed and that's encouraged Maori expectations.

"The Government should have acted decisively and the National Party would have supported the right legislation," he says.

"Instead we've endured weeks of semantic gymnastics.

"Of the seven Parliamentary questions we have posed to Helen Clark on the beaches and seabed issue in the past six weeks, she's answered only twice.

"Even then the National Party had to ask confidence questions to be sure she wouldn't pass the buck.

"From the outset, Labour has been more focussed on solving its own internal political differences than providing a solution that the rest of New Zealand can live with," says Mr English.

"Now the Maori Land Court is bracing itself for a flood of claims and there are reports today that most of the east coast of the North Island is being targeted.

"Helen Clark should have acted already to end this uncertainty, but she's been more interested in the unity of Korea than the unity of her own country.

"With thousands upon thousands of New Zealanders now more concerned than ever about where this country is headed on Treaty issues, she owes all of us an explanation," Mr English says.

"The National Party makes no apologies for advocating one standard of citizenship.

"It is the path for the future of our country," Mr English says.


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