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Foreshore and seabed confusion must end

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

25 September 2003

Foreshore and seabed confusion must end

National Party Leader Bill English says the Government should use the last of its 11 hui to plainly state its position on who is going to make the rules for the use of, and access to, our beaches and seabed.

"It's impossible to get a firm grasp on where Helen Clark is heading, because the stories are all different," says Mr English who will be attending tomorrow's hui in Mangere.

"Helen Clark has been saying one thing to Maori media and almost nothing to everyone else.

"She has not had the courage to attend any of the 11 hui and can't be trusted to solve the problem honestly.

"After hours of tortuous questions in Parliament, the Opposition has learned that almost everything in the Government's foreshore and seabed package is up for negotiation.

"In fact the elaborately crafted spin of their 'framework' has been boiled down to a single line - that Labour would not grant fee simple title.

"But that's it.

"The Government has been telling New Zealanders what they want to hear and giving assurances over access, but that isn't what's being delivered.

"Instead of trying to repair internal political divisions, Labour should have been concentrating on doing what's best for our country. "Rather than backing away, Helen Clark should have had the courage to stand by her initial reaction that 'ownership of the foreshore and seabed has long been considered to lie with the Crown'. "But instead of getting closer to a solution, the Government's own uncertainty, its confusion and its mixed messages are taking us further away. "All New Zealanders are entitled to be well informed on this issue, we want solid assurances and straight answers that are guaranteed to stand the test of time," says Mr English.


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