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Foreshore, Law And Politics Conference – Prebble


Monday 8 Sep 2003
Richard Prebble
Speeches -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

Speech to the press conference launching the Foreshore, Law & Politics conference.

The Labour government is holding 11 taxpayer funded hui with Maori and holding no conferences for the general public.

Labour is consulting with just 15% of the electorate and ignoring the other 85 %.

The foreshore and seabed are of concern to all New Zealanders. Until two months ago we thought that we all owned the beaches. Most of us still think so. The Labour government's proposals introduce radical new concepts foreign to New Zealand's Westminster constitutional conventions - concepts like "public domain".

Labour Ministers have not explained why they are setting aside the principle of the Crown as representing every New Zealander.

Is this part of Margaret Wilson's republican agenda?

Constitutional issues need to be carefully explained, discussed and debated.

We need the facts.

We need to hear from the experts and we need to examine how countries like ourselves have addressed these issues.

ACT does not believe that slogans are very helpful.

As government is unwilling or unable to lead on this issue, ACT is doing so.

The ACT party is to sponsor next month a top quality conference on the foreshore issue.

ACT has top New Zealand lawyers, Briony Davies from the law firm Chapman Tripp and Paul Cavanagh QC, discussing the law.

From Canada, from the North American think tank the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, ACT is bring Brian Lee Crowley, a recognised expert on property right issues and on the foreshore. Canada, with its own indigenous people has also had to deal with customary rights.

ACT has invited representatives from the various commercial interests, marine farming, mining, from local government and also recreational users.

ACT has Tahu Potiki (Ngai Tahu) and John McEnteer, two leaders in the Maori community to give a Maori perspective. An invitation has been extended to the government to provide a Minister to outline the government proposals.

ACT is seeking to determine what the current law is, what the legal issues are, what the government proposes, what the property issues are, what does Maori want and what is the centre-right's positive practical solution.

Dr Wayne Mapp (National MP for Northshore and former university law lecturer) will be a panellist.

ACT MPs are facilitating the conference. Stephen Franks, parliament's leading lawyer, will be a commentator, Rodney Hide whose specialty as a university lecturer was property rights will be a panellist.

ACT has also extended an invitation to NZ First to provide a panellist.

I will be speaking to sum up the conference and indicate the way forward. We have today posted the conference details, programme and speakers on the website ( and have already had our first registration. I invite you to examine the quality of our speakers and the depth of our programme. This conference, unlike the government hui, will make an important contribution to the foreshore issue. Attendees of the government's hui have complained about the shallowness of the government's contributions The government may have a brace of Ministers and an army of officials but attendees have advised me that no one from the government was prepared to enter into a real dialogue. Just a statement of four principles from the Attorney-General then the clichéd statement "We're here to listen".

ACT's conference in contrast is designed to be intellectually challenging and to enable meaningful debate. Not just from the attendees but by the nation as we post the contributions on to our website.

ACT is providing a platform for the different views and enabling members of the public to participate. ACT as a liberal party believes very strongly that it is out of open discussion and debate that good public policy is formulated. We strongly believe that the Labour government should be in dialogue with the whole nation rather than just Maori and those political parties whose support it is seeking for its legislative proposals.

At worst we will have clarified the issues, and at best the conference may provide fresh solutions.

It's MMP in action. It's the ACT party once again bringing some intellectual rigour toi the issues of the day and we once again find ourselves providing a lead. You are all welcome to attend and I look forward to your contribution.


10:00 am - 4:30 pm, Saturday 4 October 2003 Beehive Banquet Hall, Parliament

See ( .

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

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