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Taupo intimidation case the first of many

Tony Ryall MP National Party Law and Order Spokesman

16 January 2004

Taupo intimidation case the first of many

National Party Law and Order spokesman Tony Ryall says the intimidation of Taupo residents by Maori occupying a lakeside reserve is likely to be the first of many such cases.

"Whether or not those responsible for the alleged intimidation were part of the protest is not relevant - this should not be happening in New Zealand," says Mr Ryall.

He's responding to reports that at least two groups of people had been asked to leave the public reserve by protesters.

"It's an inevitable result of the Government's indecision over the seabed and foreshore issue, which has given rise to increased expectations among Maori.

"The Labour Government promised New Zealand that it would guarantee public access, it's clear that is not going to be possible.

"Driving past the reserve just yesterday, it was obvious that the access ways were blocked. There is no doubt that access is being affected.

"The Department of Conservation must now do what it promised to do and move the protesters on. The police should also investigate," says Mr Ryall.

"This kind of activity only serves to further damage race relations in New Zealand.

"It is the birthright of all New Zealanders to go to beaches and lakes for a swim. At the moment that right is being eroded by confused messages from the Government. "Most worrying is that this has come even before the Government pushes ahead with plans to introduce 'customary title' over stretches of our beaches and seabed.

"That will only further fuel these sorts of tensions between Maori and non-Maori.

"Where there is any doubt, National says the beaches and seabed should be owned by the Crown on behalf of all of us - the way it has been for more than 160 years," Mr Ryall says.

Ends

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