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Foreshore furore reveals the real racists

Foreshore furore reveals the real racists

Green MP Metiria Turei is calling on politicians of all parties of take a deep breath and pull back from racially-charged rhetoric that's threatening to derail rational and constructive debate over claims to ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

"Preying on the fears of any sector of the community for short-term political gain is reprehensible at any time, but in this case it offers a particular disservice to the people of New Zealand by stifling the chance for clear-headed debate," said Metiria, the Green Maori Affairs spokesperson.

"One suggestion is that the Government is considering guaranteeing public access to the foreshore across Maori land, but with no change to the current limits on access across private land.

"If public access is the issue, the debate must also include access rights over private and crown-owned land. To exclude these properties from debate is to imply that Maori land is worth less than private or crown land.

"How can that be fair?

"Wide-ranging debate on the question of public access to beaches, involving all New Zealanders, is the only way to deal with the issue constructively.

"Certainly, there has been too much misinformation and hysteria whipped-up so far for the Government to come up with a fair and logical policy on customary title at this time. Maori have been waiting more than 150 years for recognition of their rights, we can wait another couple of months for the initial outrage to subside and for the facts to emerge and be properly debated.

"Now is the time for caution, consultation and clear-thinking," said Metiria. "Maori expect this Government to settle grievances, not create new ones."

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