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Dunne: No new entitlements for Maori

Dunne: No new entitlements for Maori

The Government's package to resolve the foreshore and seabed issue will have to make it clear that no new rights or entitlements are being established for Maori, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today.

"United Future's position is that the package has to reflect absolutely the position most New Zealanders assumed was the case before the Court of Appeal's ruling last June, namely that the ownership of the foreshore and seabed lay with all New Zealanders, and not with any exclusive group," he said.

United Future's discussions with the Government have been proceeding on this basis for some months now, and good progress has been made, Mr Dunne said.

"Our bottom line throughout has been that the legislation to resolve the problems the Court of Appeal's decision caused must preserve the status quo all New Zealanders assumed was the case before the court's ruling.

"The package cannot be used to establish any new rights or entitlements," he said.

Mr Dunne that if Parliament cannot resolve the issue the country will be left in the "utterly unsatisfactory" position of the Maori Land Court being able to decide who owns the foreshore and seabed.

"Doing nothing is not an option - the Government has to act.

"It cannot allow the ownership of our foreshore and seabed to be decided by the Maori Land Court.

"Preventing that happening, and ensuring all New Zealanders have an equal ownership stake in the foreshore and seabed are United Future's bottom lines," he said.

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