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Greens ask Speaker for urgent debate on foreshore

Greens ask Speaker for urgent debate on foreshore

The Green Party has requested the Speaker of the House to allow an urgent debate on the Government's Consultation Paper on the Foreshore and Seabed at the earliest opportunity.

"The racist rabble-rousing of National and United Future has succeeded in turning what should have been an unhurried, all-embracing and well-reasoned discussion into a poll-driven farce," Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"We have asked for a debate on the grounds that every New Zealand will be effected by the actions taken by the Government on this issue, and there is no other opportunity for the House to debate the full range of issues as identified in the Government's document.

"It is a matter of regret that such urgency is needed, but much of the blame for this rests with the Government itself. We believe that the six-week timeframe for submissions is far too short a period for the people of New Zealand to absorb, discuss and reach agreement on the issues involved.

"Given the artificial time constraints placed on this process, the Greens are already engaged in a dialogue with the Government over ways to keep the foreshore and seabed in Public Domain without extinguishing Maori rights.

"While we have welcomed the Government's decision not to legislate for Crown title over the foreshore and seabed we believe that any attempt to extinguish existing Maori rights is contrary to the Treaty," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Over the next month we will be having further discussions with the Government and we will be attending hui around the country, to listen and learn and to explain why we believe that full recognition of Maori rights and public access for all New Zealanders can co-exist, given sufficient goodwill and open discussion."

Green Maori Affairs spokesperson, Metiria Turei will be attending this Saturday's hui at Te Tii Marae near Kerikeri.

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