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Statement From Tariana Turia On Seabed & Foreshore

27 April 2004 Media Statement


I have heard the consistent call in my electorate – from Tirau to Tawa - to oppose the Bill and put forward their views to my colleagues. I have advised the Prime Minister, as directed by my constituency, of the clear opposition to the Bill from the people of Te Tai Hauauru.

I believe that in putting forward this view, I have done nothing wrong. However I do accept the doctrine of collective Cabinet responsibility.

The caucus has today given me and Nanaia Mahuta leave not to support the legislation. I appreciate the respect the Prime Minister has shown us, and the sincere efforts she and senior Ministers have made to accommodate the diverse opinions within the caucus.

Contrary to some early media reports, which alarmed many of my relatives, supporters and well-wishers, the meeting was amicable, and I left feeling fine.
I believe my role in this debate is to show leadership for future generations of New Zealanders. I see my decision to express opposition to the Bill as another marker of our need, as a nation, to work to build a healthy and respectful relationship between tangata whenua and the Crown.

I have been asked to consider another option in the last 24 hours, which I will send out to key leaders and others within the electorate.

I remain open to hearing the views of people within Te Tai Hauauru, including those who may support the government's proposals. I have had no contact with anyone who might have expressed their support for the government's proposal to other MPs, and I look forward to hearing from them.

My position is a vote for tangata whenua, and for the rights of all citizens:
- A vote for due process and the protection of the law
- A vote for the opportunity to understand how tangata whenua have always managed their coasts and seas in the national interest
- A vote for looking at this issue in the context of the Treaty
- A vote for an informed national debate which respects Te Ao Maori, and the customs, values and principles which regulate our behaviour.
- A vote for sharing and partnership as a basis for a strong future.


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