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Waitangi Trib. Memorandum On Behalf Of The Crown

WAI No 1071
IN THE MATTER of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
IN THE MATTER of Foreshore and Seabed Claims - Wai 1071

Dated 17 October 2003


1. The purpose of this memorandum is to advise the Tribunal and claimants of progress in the Crown’s formulation of its position on foreshore and seabed issues.

2. The timetable set for this urgent inquiry was dependent on the Crown filing its statement of position on foreshore and seabed with the Tribunal by 17 October 2003. This step was to enable the Tribunal (by conference on 20 October 2003) to assess whether the November 2003 fixture should be retained.

3. The Crown wishes to defer filing its statement of position with the Tribunal. It is appreciated that this will mean the hearing scheduled for 5-7 November 2003 cannot now proceed.

4. The reason for the Crown’s deferral is that it wishes to further consider the public commentary that has been made on its August 2003 consultation document and further develop its proposals to balance the various interests raised. In particular, the Crown wishes to give further consideration to the large volume of submissions which were received on, or shortly after, the deadline for submissions of 3 October 2003. (There were approximately 700 of these, many of which were substantial.)

5. The Crown appreciates the considerable efforts to which the Tribunal has gone to schedule the 5 November fixture, but considers on balance that it is preferable for Government to further engage with the issues and with interested parties before finalising its position.

6. The Crown proposes to provide the Tribunal and claimants a statement of position by memorandum once its process of consideration is completed.

7. The Crown appreciates that urgency has been granted by the Tribunal. The Crown expects that once the Crown has advised the Tribunal and claimants of its position, the Tribunal will consider submissions on the scope of any urgent hearing considered necessary. The Crown can also advise that while there is more work to be done, the Crown’s thinking remains guided by the broad principles set out in the August 2003 consultation document. This means, with respect, that, in the Crown’s submission, the work scoped by the Tribunal could be usefully completed.

8. The Crown proposes to make an application to the Maori Land Court to stay/adjourn the many applications for determination of Maori claims to foreshore and seabed. This is in order to secure a period of time which will be necessary to enable further deliberation on, and discussion of, foreshore and seabed issues. Crown Counsel have recently raised this idea with a number of claimant counsel and will pursue that discussion in the hope that the Crown’s application is not opposed.

DATED at Wellington this 17th day of October 2003.

Virginia Hardy / Michael Doogan
Crown Counsel

To: Registrar, Waitangi Tribunal

And: Claimant Counsel

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