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Beaches issue spirals out of Govt control

Beaches issue spirals out of Govt control

"The Government risks losing control of the beaches and seabed issue, allowing it to be driven by activists fuelled by talk of a looming Labour back down," says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Helen Clark's allowing a vocal minority to take her further and further away from the starting point three months ago, when she believed the Crown owned the beaches and seabed.

"The sands are shifting everyday," says Mr English.

"In response to National Party questions the Government has confirmed that there is presently no law in place to stop the Maori Land Court issuing title over parts of our foreshore and seabed.

"Meanwhile, the Government is clearly backing down from its core claim that the beach become public domain and is owned by no-one.

"What we're hearing now is talk of co-management and partnership - which will inevitably leave Maori holding the reigns, as I predicted in Parliament.

"Under the Governments proposal, there is a principle to regulate. I bet that the Government will seek to do deals with iwi by saying. 'We will go into partnership to regulate. Between the two of us we will make the rules.' That will be tantamount to sharing ownership."- Urgent debate August 26th.

"Senior Government Ministers are also shuffling their feet, and now and in a bid to placate the vocal minority - Helen Clark's been forced to retract open public invitations for mainstream Kiwis to take part in marae-based hui.

"Doubt's been cast on the timeframe for consultation and legislation, so essentially all we know for certain is that nothing's set in stone," Mr English says.

"The Government appears content to fuel the uncertainty, but that's not what the vast majority of New Zealanders want nor deserve.

"The Prime Minister, who claims to take 'a strong front-footing leadership position', now needs to find the courage to tell the country exactly how much of Labour's package is up for grabs," says Mr English.

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