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Govt plans to dump foreshore issue on councils

Govt plans to dump foreshore issue on councils

"Labour's shifty plan to dump the contentious foreshore and seabed issue in the lap of local councils is divisive and shows a complete failure of leadership," says National Party Local Government spokesperson Nick Smith.

He's referring to recent discussions between the Prime Minister's office and Local Government New Zealand. (See letter attached)

"The Government can't solve the issue so it's playing pass the parcel with a political hot potato. This would be disastrous, leading to a hotch potch of inconsistencies right around the New Zealand coastline. It will only increase the uncertainty over who owns and is responsible for the foreshore and seabed."

"I commend Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson for blowing the whistle on this flawed approach. Councils around New Zealand need to unite and send a very clear message to Government that this issue needs to be resolved at a national level.

"This furore over the Government's seabed and foreshore policy will only end when Helen Clark shifts to National's position to legislate for the status quo of Crown ownership," says Dr Smith.

(Follows: Letter from Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson to Local Government New Zealand)

4th March 2004

Basil Morrison President Local Government New Zealand 114-118 Lambton Quay P O Box 1214 WELLINGTON Dear Basil LGNZ REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEETING 27th FEBRUARY 2004

After last Friday’s meeting, I have given a great deal of thought to the discussion that was held with the officials from the Prime Minister’s office regarding LGNZ’s involvement in the forthcoming Foreshore and Seabed policies.

I have to say that I am deeply disturbed that the government would move to ensure that the decisions regarding customary rights and title would now be considered under the Resource Management Act and that regional and unitary authorities would have the responsibility of hearing claims and deciding outcomes.

I have from day 1 believed that this issue is a matter for central government and it is to central government that the nation looks for decisions on this issue and not the regional or unitary authorities.

The decision of the government to establish changes to the RMA Section 6, to set up regional working groups, and for legislation to be introduced to ensure that regional and unitary authorities decide the outcome, is divisive and will cause local discord between the parties concerned.

We as a city have established a very mature and workable understanding with our local Maori and I see this issue causing us some long term social and cultural divisions within our community.

I would like LGNZ to tell central government that this is a national issue and should be decided by them without regional and unitary authorities being involved in the outcomes.

I have to say you that before we even consider conditions of acceptance on this issue that we should make it very clear to the government that they have been elected to make this decision on an issue not of our making.

As you would picked up around the countryside, it has become obvious to all regional and territorial authorities that we have accepted without comment in many cases, legislation from central government which in no way mirrors our responsibilities under the Local Government Act, ie. gambling, prostitution, are just two examples. To add to the heap of new legislation, the government is now proposing without recourse a very explosive piece of legislation that will damage heartland New Zealand.

I will be recommending to my Council that we advise the government that we do not wish to accept responsibility for this issue, and I trust that Local Government New Zealand will make the same stand.

I will be releasing our position to the media over the next few days and make it quite clear to the community that this is where the Nelson City Council will stand on this particular piece of proposed legislation.

I look forward to your reply.
Yours sincerely

Paul Matheson, JP Mayor of Nelson City

Cc: John Hutchings Nick Smith, MP for Nelson All NCC Councillors

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