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Concession To Maori Will Damage All But Lawyers

Concession To Maori Will Damage All But Lawyers

Monday 18 Aug 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

By saying that no one can own the seabed and foreshore, the Labour Government has guaranteed generations of uncertainty and dispute, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Today's announcement is a con job - rights will be given, rights will have to be given, and rights have already been given, that allow exclusive use, enjoyment, and transferability. These are these hallmarks of ownership," Mr Franks said.

"But we will have to pretend that it isn't ownership. In every corner of New Zealand, lawyers will be breeding ownership `ducks' that look like chooks. What the Government has said today will mean our law drafters and courts will have to spend their time struggling to grant, what will be, ownership in everything but name.

"For example, people who have marina berths and aquaculture sites will need, and get, the certainty of licence renewal rights, exclusive occupation, and probably transferability - which is nearly the same thing as ownership. Even with so-called public areas, regulators will give themselves powers that would be much more simply expressed as Crown or local authority ownership. For example, commercial concessions to stop camping and overcrowding, to approve permanent structures, and to benefit from licensees.

"This decision is about the worst of all possible outcomes. For the sake of being able to pretend that it is impossible for Maori to get a property interest because no one else will, the entire country will be trapped in the legal ooze of Clayton's titles - like Islamic countries pretending that loans don't bear interest, and instead dressing it up as profits, rents and anything but interest.

"The winners will be lawyers and, ultimately, Maori claimants of special interests - granted by the Maori Land Court - that are, in effect, property ownership in everything but name, in other words: Maori ownership `ducks'," Mr Franks said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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