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Foreshore Crown Ownership Irrelevant

Thursday 18 March 2004

Stephen Franks

Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs Press Releases

Labour's emerging willingness to revert to Crown ownership of the foreshore is completely irrelevant - no one can tell whether it's a concession until they see the fine print of rights they want to concede to Maori over that Crown property, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"It's now clear that `public domain' was just mystification, designed for cosmetics. What really matters are the rights under the new `customary title' Labour is promising Maori over virtually the entire coastline, on the basis of claimed `ancestral connection'," Mr Franks said.

"Attorney-General Margaret Wilson says they won't give anything more than existing Maori privileges under the RMA. That is probably untrue - even if it is true, those RMA consultation and veto powers can be turned into blackmail rentals.

"For example, Mayor John Banks has just had to agree to pay 50 cents per tonne ransom fees to Ngati Wai for sand they've never owned.

"The real things to watch for, however, are the `customary rights', which the Crown proposes to acknowledge over Crown land. Nobody knows what they will be.

"NZ First Leader Winston Peters' deal over a Treaty Royal Commission, in return for reversion to Crown ownership of the foreshore - without knowing what customary rights will be created - is like agreeing to pay a Lexus price for a Lada because the dealer promises to put a Lexus badge on it," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

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