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Labour's Foreshore & Seabed Policy Hits The Rocks

Labour's Foreshore & Seabed Policy Hits The Rocks

It is clear the Government has no idea where it is going in settling the foreshore and seabed dispute, and we now have nothing but chaos and confusion, ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"The Government's much-flaunted principle of certainty is laughable. No issue is facing greater uncertainty. Users of the foreshore cannot invest in confidence, and the much needed aquacultural legislation will be left on the backburner with no resolution in sight," Mr Shirley said.

"The Crown's own submissions to the Waitangi Tribunal Hearing on this issue has been described as meaningless dribble. Crown Law lawyer Michael Doogan has made it clear that he has not received instructions from the Government on its plans, so therefore could not provide firm timelines or details on how the process would develop. There is a vacuum of ideas and leadership from the Government.

"We can all recall the bold declarations of the Prime Minister and Minister of Treaty Settlements, immediately following the Appeal Court decision in June, when they asserted Crown ownership stating a clear intention to legislate as necessary.

"Since that time we have seen nothing but back down, and now the Government is a rabble in full retreat with no idea of where it is headed.

"It is now obvious to everyone that the Maori Land Court is not the appropriate body to determine the extent of any customary title, particularly in view of the fact that all of the Maori Land Court judges sit on the Waitangi Tribunal and the Chief Justice of the Maori Land Court chairs the Waitangi Tribunal.

"ACT's policy is quite clear - the Crown must assert sovereignty on behalf of us all. To the extent that some limited customary titles may still exist, the Courts as required should determine them. Where any such established customary title needs to be appropriated in the public interest, then full compensation must be paid.

"Instead of taking a clear position of leadership, the Labour Government has been manoeuvred into an impossible position and has no idea where it is going," Mr Shirley said.

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