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One way traffic in beaches debate


Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

03 September 2003

One way traffic in beaches debate

National Party Leader Bill English is warning mainstream New Zealanders that their views are at risk of being drowned out in the din being generated by activists over the Government's beaches and seabed proposal.

"If Kiwis don't speak out loud and clear, the Government's confusing position of 'no-one owns the beach' could face further erosion.

Mr English is commenting on threats of beach occupations and civil disobedience by Maori claiming ownership of the foreshore from Wellington to the Rangitikei River.

"Labour must listen to mainstream New Zealanders and take account of the thousands upon thousands who've signed petitions supporting Crown title to the beaches and seabed," says Mr English.

"It's unfortunate there've been suggestions of media bans at the taxpayer-sponsored hui and even now there are still questions over radio and television's ability to report the 'consultation' meetings.

"The Government is showing its contempt for the opinions of the vast majority of New Zealanders who will not attend the marae talks," Mr English says.

"The media, the public's only means of getting balanced information from those meetings, is facing censorship.

"The National Party has also been fielding calls from members of the public searching for more information about the Government plan, after earlier being told by Michael Cullen's office that no paperwork was available.

"This issue is too important to be locked away from public scrutiny," Mr English says.

Ends

(Attached article from Manawatu Evening Standard)

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