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Richard Prebble’s The Letter

Richard Prebble’s The Letter

EASTER RECESS Parliament is in recess for three weeks coinciding with the first term school holidays. So many MPs have school-age children that Parliament has adjusted its program to the school calendar.

THE FORESHORE LEGISLATION The foreshore and seabed is placed in Crown ownership. All cases seeking customary title to the foreshore have been stopped.

In future, claims to a customary title must be made in the High Court, but the Maori Land Court is the sole determinant of what is Maori customary law. This gives the Maori Land Court power to go on inventing new Maori common law against which there is no appeal. The Bill creates a new legal right based on ancestral connection. Maori groups may apply to be recognised as having an ancestral connection with a particular part of the foreshore or seabed. This is a group right. Under the Bill there is no time limit, so theoretically a hapu could be declared as having an ancestral connection and will have rights forever - even if all the hapu live in L.A. Maori who have been recognised as having ancestral rights will have a veto power over foreshore developments. More crudely, they will have to be bought off. Further, it is also possible for anyone who can claim continuous occupatio

WINNERS AND LOSERS Labour has to be regarded as a winner. It still has a majority, and having Tariana Turia oppose the Bill helps sell it.

The spectacular loser is Peter Dunne. He is a parody of a politician who specializes in pompous sounding speeches. He was looking for an excuse for United to support the foreshore legislation and used the meaningless term “public domain”. He looks absurd voting against the foreshore legislation because a phrase that even he cannot give a meaning to isn’t in the Bill.

Winston Peters is another loser. While he is again the kingmaker - something he can’t resist - he has had to abandon one of his horses. The New Zealand First chariot has always been driven by two horses - the elderly white vote and the Maori vote. NZF is now a Maori party, something Mr Peters inadvertently admitted when he offered to the Government to send his MPs to every Marae in the country to persuade Maori that the Bill was a good deal. Peters and Dunne must now be vulnerable to a challenge in their electorates.

THE ECONOMY While overall business confidence has fallen, the latest economic statistics are favorable. Despite the higher dollar, export earnings are good. Commodity export prices remain high. A closer look at the business confidence index shows that businessmen are confident about their own firm’s prospects. While growth in house prices appears to have eased, house sales continue to be strong. The Government's tax revenues continue to grow strongly. The Letter believes economic growth will exceed the Treasury's conservative estimates.

THE US ECONOMY As predicted by The Letter, claims that the US is having a jobless recovery are false. The March job figures far exceeded the market’s expectation. Every US recovery is claimed to be jobless because the US Statistics Department at first reports new jobs in existing businesses and takes months to record jobs created in new businesses. The Letter repeats its prediction that the US Fed will have to increase interest rates - at that point the US dollar will rise.

PETROL PRICES Oil prices have been increasing and OPEC has just announced a further cut in production. Iraq oil production won't be making a rapid impact on world production. So the doomsayers are already predicting high oil prices. While The Letter does not rule out spikes in oil prices, the world is still awash with oil. Nowhere in the world has a gas field the size of Maui been discovered without large oilfields eventually being found. In this country there have been relatively few exploratory wells. The Letter believes that once the hydrogen car is in production, New Zealand will discover that we have been sitting on huge oil reserves.

TWO LAWS ACT MP Deborah Coddington discovered that Auckland Maori preschools have not been inspected. Why? The preschools are demanding that Maori only inspect them. Imagine the outrage in mainstream media if an all white preschool objected to being inspected by a Maori.

HOBBITS IN THE HOUSE Marian Hobbs recently made a visit to a primary school in her electorate. Junior was overheard telling her mother who had come to collect her "Mummy, Marian Hobbit visited our school today".

INDUSTRIAL LAW The business section of the New Zealand Herald’s pro-Labour report of Westpac Bank’s evidence on the new industrial law failed to inform readers that the Bank advised the committee that the new law will cost the bank $500,000 in compliance costs. Business is saying that the present industrial law works well and is advising the Government to leave it alone.

THIS WEEK’S POLL The result of last week's poll show that Letter readers are overwhelmingly opposed to the foreshore and seabed legislation. This week's question: “Should Helen Clark fire Tariana Turia as Minister"? To vote, visit We will send the results to the Prime Minister.

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