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Land Access Report red herring in beaches debate

Land Access Report red herring in beaches debate

National Party Leader Bill English says the long-awaited Land Access Report sheds no light on the debate that's currently raging about the future ownership of our beaches and seabed.

"It's a red herring in an argument that needs the Government's most urgent attention, which is confirming exclusive Crown title to the beaches and seabed.

"In fact it fuels speculation that the Government is still looking at plans to offer some kind of untested 'dual title' to Maori over parts of our beaches and seabed.

"The report uses phrases like 'you can have access without ownership', in an obvious bid to confuse New Zealanders ahead of key decisions on the beaches issue," says Mr English.

"No-where does the report back-up John Tamihere's claim that up to 30% of our foreshore is held in private title.

"In fact it proves the Minister doesn't understand the difference between foreshore and the Queen's Chain," Mr English says.

"The language in the report is soothing and assuring but despite the hundreds of glossy pages from a group that's been working since January, it's hard to nail down exactly where the Government is headed.

"The National Party welcomes debate on access to public recreation areas but there is no evidence the Government intends to fund more access.

"And none of this answers the controversial question of who will own our beaches," Mr English says.

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