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Govt aiming for foreshore policy statement by Xmas

23 October 2003 Media Statement

Govt aiming for foreshore policy statement by Xmas


“The government expects to be able to release a clear and detailed policy statement on the foreshore and seabed issue before Christmas,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today.

“Legislation is not likely to be introduced until the House resumes after the summer break.

“We recognise the need for certainty and will use our best endeavours to produce a result within a reasonable time frame but we cannot be dogmatic about the timing because we will continue to consult even as the bill is being drafted,” Dr Cullen said.

“The government’s thinking reflects the principles identified in the consultative document released in August, particularly the principle of open access and the principle that Maori customary interests should be acknowledged and protected.

“We are now working through the more than 2000 submissions received and consulting further with interested parties as we seek to give legislative expression to those objectives.”

The Waitangi Tribunal was advised of the indicative timetable today and given an assurance that the Crown would allow time between releasing its policy proposals and submitting the bill into Parliament.

“This will give the Tribunal a chance to provide advice and to feed into the deliberative process.

“The Crown is happy to cooperate with the Tribunal in that regard. But in the end, this matter will be resolved in the legislative arena so any solution must be able to attract a Parliamentary majority,” Dr Cullen said.

He said that there would be the opportunity for a further extended round of public consultations at select committee stage and that the committee would have the power to provide added accessibility by conducting hearings outside Wellington.

ENDS

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