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Labour can't avoid foreshore 'ownership'

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

17 August 2003

Labour can't avoid foreshore 'ownership'

The Government must say tomorrow it will legislate to confirm exclusive Crown title over the foreshore and seabed, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Ten days ago there were only 16 applications before the Maori Land Court, now there are 38 covering 3,600 kilometres of coast and an area of more than 8.5 million square kilometres. (See maps)

"The claims include huge stretches of our coast as well as vast areas of open sea," says Mrs English.

"If Helen Clark had delivered on her promise and confirmed exclusive Crown title to the foreshore and seabed, the debate would have moved on.

"Instead she's allowed her ministers to run a public misinformation campaign, with John Tamihere making erroneous claims that one third of our foreshore was already in private ownership.

"In the two months that have past Maori expectations have grown and public concerns have deepened.

"Now the Maori Land Court will be obliged to start processing some of the 38 claims it has on the table," Mr English says.

"The National Party says legislation that confirms exclusive Crown title to the foreshore and seabed is the only real solution.

"We have thousands of New Zealanders supporting us," Mr English says.

"Nearly 70,000 signatures have been added to Nick Smith's petition on National's www.beachesforall.co.nz web-site.

"In less than a week we have received more than 18,000 postcards from New Zealanders who support the National Party position.

"Public meetings in Whangarei, Blenheim, Whakatane and Auckland have drawn full houses and more meetings are planned," says Mr English.

"There have been protests from those on either side of the debate and it's unlikely that tomorrow's Government side-step will put an end to the uncertainty that's fuelling the frustration.

"Any kind of 'dual title' or 'guardianship' will serve to enlarge expectations.

"New technical definitions will inevitably be tested in court and that may leave the judiciary making key decisions about beach ownership.

"The National Party believes Parliament should be making those decisions, not judges," Mr English says.

Attached: Table & Timeline - Quotes since June 22


22 June 2003
Helen Clark & Margaret Wilson - joint Beehive press statement -
"Ownership of the foreshore and seabed has long been considered to lie with the Crown."

24 June 2003
Helen Clark - NZ Herald
But Prime Minister Helen Clark said ownership of the seabed and foreshore had long been considered to lie with the Crown and legislation would clarify that. She said Maori would still be able to pursue claims about customary use but not customary title - and that distinction was important.

24 June 2003
Margaret Wilson - (radio transcript) asked on morning report
Sean Plunkett - So you're saying that Maori who are claiming rights at the moment to the foreshore and seabed can still pursue that claim, can still hope for some compensation, but they will never win ownership?
Margaret Wilson - well yes,...

24 June 2003
Margaret Wilson - Parliament Hansard
"the intention of the proposed legislation is to give clear expression to the Crown’s ownership of the seabed and foreshore for the benefit of all New Zealanders"

25 June 2003
Helen Clark - Parliament Hansard
“The Government has not said it is bringing in law to extinguish customary title."

25 June 2003
Parekura Horomia - Parliament Hansard
"Being one of the tangata whenua, I have some inherited rights. The Government is working out how to reconcile customary rights with all New Zealanders’ ability to access the foreshore and seabed—end of story"

25 June 2003
Parekura Horomia – Labour Maori Caucus Press statement
"the Maori caucus is clear that customary use flows from customary title and if the title is lost, the rights of tangata whenua become privileges granted by the Crown."

26 June 2003
Michael Cullen on behalf of the Prime Minister – Parliament Hansard
“We are at a very early stage of discussions, but what I can say is that there is no intention to use legislation to prevent Mâori from establishing customary rights.”

26 June 2003
Michael Cullen - extract from the beehive press statement on government’s approach to the seabed and foreshore issue
"The government will also act to protect Maori customary rights, to the extent they are not already"
" The objective is to acknowledge and protect Maori customary rights while also protecting the public interest, including the ability to enjoy traditional access to the foreshore"
“Resolving these issues will require legislation, but the exact form of that has yet to be determined"

1 July 2003
Tariana Turia – Morning Report
Presenter Okay. Are you going to vote against it if the Bill comes into the house?
Turia. “Well, were not even sure whether it’s going to go so far as to being a bill in the house.”

12 July 2003
Mahara Okeroa – Nelson Mail (Karen Goodger)
Private land owners in regions such as Nelson are more likely to ban public access to the beach and foreshore than Maori, Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa says.
Maori had never banned anyone from those areas even though they always believed they had owned them as a customary right, he said.
“The whole issue about public access is a non issue because it doesn’t exist.”
“Mr Okeroa said granting the official title for the seabed and foreshore to Maori “won’t make a difference.”

14 July 2003
Parekura Horomia - Nelson Mail
“I'm looking for something that suits Maoridom, with fairness, and which allows all New Zealanders to have free access.”
Mr Horomia, who was at the hui, said the Government had clearly stated that it was not going to remove customary rights but had a duty to ensure access.

15 July 2003
Michael Cullen – NZ Herald (Kevin Taylor)
Finance Minister Michael Cullen said talks within Labour would be followed by discussions with outside groups before legislation was introduced.
“You will be able to go, probably to the Maori Land Court, to establish what your customary rights are.”

“We are not going to go around abolishing customary rights which are recognised by the Court of Appeal.”

15 July 2003
John Tamihere – The Press (Colin Espiner)
Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere -- who yesterday said Maori leaders who believed they would gain ownership of the foreshore needed "psychiatric treatment real quick"

15 July 2003
Parekura Horomia – Hauraki Herald (Warwick Rasmussen)
“I'm here as a member of Ngati Porou and as a Minister of the Crown, I can't deny that. I don't want to distract from the hui, it's not the place. There'll be some good talk here and whatever comes out of the hui I'm sure it will be a Maori view."

16 July 2003
Michael Cullen – Dominion Post (Gordon Jon Thompson)
Finance Minister Michael Cullen has said Maori would still be able to take seabed and foreshore claims to the Maori Land Court under proposals being developed.

17 July 2003
Dover Samuels – Dominion Post (David McLoughlin)
Mr Samuels said the foreshores and seabed were tapu and sacrosanct to all New Zealanders, not just Maori, but he supported the continuation of Maori customary rights of access and use of them.”

31 July 2003
Parliamentary Hansard
Clark says that she will make an announcement on the Foreshore and seabed issue in the next week – “Like Mr Tamihere, I hope it will be possible to give a further indication of Government thinking next week…”

5 August 2003
Parliamentary Hansard
Clark is asked by English why there had been no announcement as she and other Ministers had promised the previous two weeks. She replies that “As I said in the House last week, this is a complex issue, and I was not prepared to commit to a precise time line. The Government will put out its proposal for consultation as soon as possible.”

14 August 2003
Parliamentary Hansard
Dr Cullen, on the Prime Minister’s behalf, confirms that an announcement on legislation will be made by the Prime Minister on Monday 18 August 2003.


Coast KM Area Total
Area 1 108 131600
Area 2 65 126750
Area 3 198 386100
Area 4 90 7800
Area 5 15 29250
Area 6 9 450
Area 7 48 432000
Area 8 138 2760000
Area 9 84 163800
Area 10 24 46800
Area 11 36 70200
Area 12 45 87750
Area 13 42 81900
Area 14 522 1017900
Area 15 24 2400
Area 16 8 15600
Area 17 168 327600
Area 18 36 97200
Area 19 54 105300
Area 20 210 409500
Area 21 36 70200
Area 22 6 300
Area 23 0.28 0.28
Area 24 0.1 0.107
Area 25 6 300
Area 26 150 13500
Area 27 6 300
Area 28 1.6 320
Area 29 6 120000
Area 30 42 4200
Area 31 2 20
Area 32 6 300
Area 33 192 374400
Area 34 54 1080000
Area 35 42 81900
Area 36 72 7200
Area 37 860 314000
Area 38 200 390000
Total 3605.98 8756840.3

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