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Be Very Afraid of 'Guardians'

Be Very Afraid of 'Guardians'

New Zealanders should be very afraid of Labour's panic development of so-called Maori guardianship of foreshore and seabed, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Whatever the Government calls them, the grants will be treated by Maori as a Crown confession - on behalf of pakeha - that the Maori claims are valid," Mr Franks said.

"In fact, their validity will never be proved if the deal goes through. This is not an acknowledgement - it is just a political strategy to appease Maori, and get peace in our time.

"The peace will last only long enough to get the guardianship bedded down. Then the agitation will shift - to turn the guardianship titles in to real ownership and charge for access. Maori will, naturally, treat the guardianship concession by panicky Labour members as a down payment on eventual true title. So would I if I were Maori, negotiating with cynical politicians prepared to buy temporary peace for the sake of the next election.

"What self- respecting New Zealander - Maori or pakeha - would be fobbed off in the long-term with some meaningless, non-exclusive guardianship?

"If Maori believe they are actually owed full ownership - and have, what appears to be, a Government confession of guilt or debt - Maori will, of course, go along with seeming concessions.

"Maori can afford to wait, once they have the down payment. They need only give the Government enough time to grind down resistance from every other New Zealander," Mr Franks said.

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