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Tribunal report means Government must think again

Tribunal report means Government must think again

The Green Party says the Government must pause and take time to consider the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the Crown's policy for the seabed and foreshore.

"This sensible, timely and well-considered document should be the basis for a new beginning to a foreshore policy," Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "The Green Party joins with the Tribunal in calling on the Government to begin a good faith dialogue with Maori that does not undermine the rule of law or breach the Treaty.

"The Green Party is pleased that the Tribunal has reached the same conclusion that we have: that Maori and Crown can find common ground in the jointly-held beliefs that there should be public access to the foreshore and seabed, which should not be able to be sold.

"Mutual recognition of these two points means that it is possible to move forward together.

"We are also pleased that the Tribunal agrees with us that the success of joint-management models, like Okahu Bay, Rotorua Lakes and Lake Taupo can be the basis for future progress."

Green Maori Affairs spokesperson, Metiria Turei, said she shared the Tribunal's concern that the Crown policy stripped Maori, but not other landowners, of legal avenues to determine their property rights.

"This is a clear case of discrimination on the basis of race," said Metiria. "As the Tribunal noted, this not only breaches the Treaty, it flies in the face of both domestic and international law.

"However, there are many positives in this report," Metiria noted. "It is particularly pleasing to see that the Tribunal has reached many of the same conclusions as the Greens in options for moving forward. We endorse using the courts to let the matter proceed and improving the instruments available to the High Court, and Maori Land Court to deal with title issues."

"All New Zealanders - Maori and Pakeha - want justice dispensed fairly and the rule of law upheld," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "The Waitangi Tribunal has delivered an honest critique of the Government's failure to achieve that in its foreshore policy. It is now up the Government to absorb the findings of the Tribunal and begin the process again for delivering a fair policy to all New Zealanders."

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