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ACT Reaction to Peters' U-Turn

ACT Reaction to Peters' U-Turn

Thursday 18 March 2004

Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today the ACT party did not support Mr Peters' new position on the foreshore.

"Dr Cullen has already made it clear there is no legal difference between using the words `public domain' or the words `crown ownership'. So Mr Peters' proposal is not legally significant.

"In the proposed foreshore legislation the devil is in the detail. What is proposed is to create by legislation a new property title, in favour of Maori, covering almost the entire coastline and seabed. This proposal is far more radical than anything suggested by the Court of Appeal. The Court said only that it was possible some iwi might have a customary title to part of the foreshore. The judges were careful to point out that as the common law requires continuous occupation for such a customary title it could only cover a very small part of the coastline, if at all.

"NZ First has made a major u-turn.

"Mr Peters has not given any persuasive reason why there should be a Royal Commission on the Treaty. ACT remains opposed to such a Commission for the excellent reason that it will not resolve anything. Indeed it is my view that such a Commission will just give a platform for extremists and is likely to encourage the grievance industry.

"It has always been ACT's view that there is an element of panic in the reaction to the Marlborough Court of Appeal decision. The proper response still remains for the government to join the Marlborough Regional Council's appeal to the Privy Council.

"The real significance of Mr Peters' u-turn is that we now have a clarification of where the parties stand in the next election. On one side we have Labour, the Greens and now NZ First, all advocating for a separatist and divisive New Zealand. On the other we have National and ACT who advocate one law for all. On the one side are the government and its supporters proposing race-based laws and a Royal Commission as part of the endless grievance industry, and on the other we have the opposition parties saying it is time that the people of New Zealand had their say in an election," said Mr Prebble.

ENDS

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