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Federated Farmers stirring up groundless fears

8 April 2004 Media Statement

Federated Farmers stirring up groundless fears

Federated Farmers is deliberately stirring up groundless fears among its members in order to run to the National Party’s aid, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today.

He was referring to suggestions yesterday from Federated Farmers’ President Tom Lambie that the government’s Foreshore and Seabed Bill failed to distinguish between public rights associated with Crown ownership and private property rights.

“That is a nonsense. We have made it painstakingly clear throughout this exercise that the package relates to the foreshore and seabed only and that the general question of access across land to the coastline is being dealt with through the Walking Access in the New Zealand Outdoors report.

“In fact the Bill is so finely drafted on this issue that it explicitly excludes access to seabed and foreshore in private title.

“And the synopsis of the policy framework released yesterday was specific that the legislation will provide for a general right of public access and navigation along and over the foreshore and seabed.

“I am astonished, given all this, that Federated Farmers could be genuinely confused on the matter – especially as they sought, and were given, clarification by my office on the issue yesterday.

“However I have arranged for officials to brief them on the technical detail of the Bill next week.

“Should they persist in their scaremongering campaign when fully apprised of the facts, it will confirm that Federated Farmers has reverted to its old style and become the National Party in gumboots,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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