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Government breaks promises on beach access

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

17 December 2003

Government breaks promises on beach access

The Government's plan for the foreshore and seabed is set to fuel uncertainty and confusion, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

"It paves the way for new layers of bureaucracy and strays into uncharted territory when it says that beach ownership will be vested in the public domain.

"This deliberately vague concept is untested and will inevitably give rise to legal challenges from those who make a living from the Treaty industry.

"They'll be hitching another wagon to the gravy train," says Dr Brash.

"Nobody knows what it means or what the boundaries are. This will be a recipe for more hidden side deals.

"The plan gives Maori extensive veto rights that other New Zealanders don't share. It's more about dividing our country than a real attempt at unification.

"The Government is essentially giving Maori an exclusive development right, potentially a multi-billion dollar fiscal envelope funded by the ratepayers and taxpayers of New Zealand," Dr Brash says.

"In a departure from the earlier proposal, Maori will be given customary title to develop foreshore areas and the right to block other developments if Maori can show their customary right is affected. In practical terms this will affect access to the foreshore.

"The National Party believes the Government has broken its promise not to create a whole new class of customary title over foreshore and seabed. "The framework will create a new nightmare for local authorities, who will be forced into a state of paralysis by new cumbersome consultation obligations.

"The cynical timing of the release will also deny the Opposition the opportunity to debate this major policy package in Parliament.

"National believes everyone deserves a fair say on the future of our coastline.

"Far from putting an end to the confusion, Labour's creating new uncertainty that future generations of New Zealanders will be left to untangle," says Dr Brash.

Ends

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