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Respect For Rights The Only Answer

Respect For Rights The Only Answer

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks today said that respect for property rights is the only long-term solution to the foreshore and seabed controversy - respect which must include private and public property.

"Genuine property rights are clear. There can be absolutely no doubt about who is entitled to undisturbed and exclusive use and enjoyment of property, about who controls access to it, and about who can sell and benefit," Mr Franks said.

"The Appeal Court raised the possibility of a kind of property interest which breaches most of the certainty requirements, and which hadn't been recognised in New Zealand for 100 years. It seems the Government is about to concede, as if this remote - and newly-re-discovered - possibility reflects established rights.

"If the Government were not racist, it would have said that these kinds of claims have to meet normal high standards of proof and justification. It would have assured claimants of compensation if genuine rights had been expropriated. It would not leave room for the resurrection, or new creation, of so-called rights that do not satisfy normal property interest standards, and which can only set groups at each other's throats.

"When the State owns property for public use, it cannot be racist. No access, use or control privilege should be decided by race or ethnic inheritance.

"On the other hand, no landowner - whether private individual, company, hapu or iwi - should be deprived of their property for public use without market value compensation. If land is to be taken for our collective use, then we must pay collectively.

"Property laws in every civilised nation recognise that some claims become too old to deal with. Limitation periods protect societies from tearing themselves apart over disputes that cannot be resolved without fresh injustice. The Appeal Court should have been more respectful of this, before over-turning 40 years of certainty, and the Government should not be abetting activist judges," Mr Franks said.

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