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“The changing tide of politics”

12.30pm on Friday, 14 May 2004

14 May 2004

“The changing tide of politics”

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a Port Waikato/Clevedon Public Meeting Senior Citizen’s Hall, 7 Eat Street, Papakura Friday,14 May 2004 at 12.30pm

There is nothing so sterile in politics as the saying “I told you so”.

In the last election campaign New Zealand First pledged to fix three things in three years.

They were increasing lawlessness, excessive immigration and the Treaty gravy train.

Our opponents poured scorn on us for raising issues that are the legitimate concerns of all New Zealanders.

They called us racists, Treaty bashers and scare-mongers.

Now look at the situation – all the chickens are coming home to roost. The feathers are flying and you can hear the squawking everywhere.


There is no doubt that Labour’s foolish immigration policy is in tatters.

The party that once spoke in eulogistic terms about “celebrating our diversity” is now learning that multiculturalism sounds fine but is a recipe for disaster.

Multiculturalism for most New Zealanders means:

Hundreds of cases of passport fraud Hundreds of overseas students driving without licences, involved in nearly seven hundred accidents last year – some of them fatal Twenty thousand overstayers who can’t be tracked down 222 cases of Immigration staff investigated for corruption Foreign criminals being allowed to stay in New Zealand because of a soft Deportation review Tribunal Convicted Algerian terrorist Ahmed Zaoui heading towards a million dollars of taxpayers’ money when no one else will take him. Higher interest rates because of the housing boom created by immigration numbers

The list of problems is endless and still the numbers arrive.

We are also now seeing another ugly side of the immigration debate.

People smuggling, black market labour, organised crime rings, drug dealing, prostitution, kidnapping.

As if we did not have enough of our own home grown crime, we are now witnessing in New Zealand the offending that happens in the shady underworld of big cities overseas.

There is a more sinister side to immigration - the threat of terrorism strikes.

New Zealand is part of the global village.

Despite serious warnings we still don’t know just who we have allowed into the country in recent years.

It would not be an exaggeration to suspect that so-called sleepers are in our midst.

All this is the result of stupid immigration policies, slack border security, and quasi-legal authorities who bend over backwards to keep alleged refugees, foreign-born criminals and overstayers in the country.

We need to look long and hard at the Refugee Status Appeals Authority and the Deportation Review Tribunal.

They are making decisions that allow some undesirable immigrants stay here – even if they have committed serious crimes.

It is time to make these statutory authorities accountable and review their powers.

After all, it is our country.

Just imagine how New Zealanders would be treated overseas if they tried the same tricks some newcomers play on this country.

National is no better than Labour when it comes to immigration.

The new leader, “Hurricane” Brash has made it clear that he wants to set up a Ministry of Asian Affairs and bring in millions more.

He has made it clear that this is part of his globalisation strategy, whatever that means.

It has been alarming hearing Dr Brash and other National MPs think out loud in recent days.

On the day of the hïkoi at Parliament they sneaked out a discussion paper suggesting an unworkable position over visits by nuclear armed or powered ships.

Two days later their defence spokesperson pledged to follow the United States, Britain and Australia wherever they went.

And then Dr Brash started to backtrack on National’s original warlike position over Iraq.

These are dangerous political blunders. New Zealand does not want its political leaders learning on the job.

It’s all very well to pretend that a life in the theory of banking prepares an individual for the top job but the practice of politics is something different.

One of the best kept secrets in this country is the disappointing performance of the National leadership – in the House and about the country.

Their bungles and naivety does not get a lot of coverage.

But the new darling of the media moguls and the business barons – and his team – often get quite confused under pressure.

At one stage on Tuesday last week National MPs could not count to 61 yet somehow they believe they have the God-given right to run the country!

There is no secret that Dr Brash wants an early election.

He fears the next fifteen months of discovery by a discerning public.


Most of us believed freedom of access to the seabed and foreshore was our God-given right because we all owned it.

When this issue arose last June New Zealand First adopted a careful policy position ensuring that the right of access was saved forever for all of us.

It was clear that this issue was about more than the wet bits on our beaches and that the debate was really about our national culture.

In many ways the overlapping of the commercial possibilities of the seabed and foreshore lies at the heart of this debate.

Directly following the Court of Appeal decision last June, Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson both publicly stated that the Government would legislate to put the seabed and foreshore into Crown ownership.

They then toyed with the public domain concept and other strange designations, before finally, at New Zealand First’s insistence, reverting back to Crown ownership.

National claimed it wanted Crown ownership, but without any customary rights attached despite dishing out customary rights willy-nilly in the 1990s.

New Zealand First was the only party which insisted from the outset on Crown ownership and the protection of customary rights for everyone, regardless of race.

The issue needed a solution for all New Zealanders and New Zealand First has achieved this.

So what is actually in the Bill that caused such a fuss?

Well first, we guarantee that all the people of New Zealand will own the seabed and foreshore through Crown ownership in perpetuity.

Now the term ‘in perpetuity’ is important here. It means in simple terms forever and ever.

We want it in Crown hands so that your children, and your grandchildren and all future generations of New Zealanders enjoy guaranteed, unfettered access to the seabed and foreshore.

We emphasise this because of the dark shadow that National’s new leader Don Brash casts over this term.

Dr Brash wants something quite different.

On the one hand he wants Crown ownership and yet he would repeal this legislation.

Ask yourself why? What does he fear from Crown ownership in perpetuity?

Look at his record and read his past speeches in favour of selling New Zealand assets.

Is there something that he is not telling us about in his plans for the foreshore and seabed?

Just like he doesn’t want ordinary New Zealanders to know what he is telling the Americans about nuclear warships.

The second thing the Bill guarantees is public access. Here again National has a conflict of interest.

We want to ensure all New Zealanders can access the seabed and foreshore.

Brash wants to limit this, where it is commercially profitable, to developers - mostly overseas developers - who have no interest in New Zealand values or heritage, but who are very interested in profit.

We are not against the development of marine farming and the creation of more exports and more jobs.

But it must be controlled and balanced with other interests rather than the prospect of unfettered development purely for financial gain.

This is where the guaranteed recognition of ancestral connection and customary rights for all New Zealanders fits into the equation.

Under the Bill Maori will be able to apply to have their ancestral connection to a particular track of seabed and foreshore recognised.

When Brash mischievously tells you that the Maori Land Court is likely to grant ancestral connection over the entire coastline, he is simply wrong.

For an applicant to the Maori Land Court to be granted an Ancestral Connection Order, they must demonstrate they have a continuous and effectively unbroken link to a piece of seabed and foreshore back to 1840.

Don’t be fooled. This is a high threshold and will require a rigorous demonstration of the facts to the courts.

A second avenue to establishing ancestral connection is also available through direct negotiation with the Crown.

These negotiations would involve those who already have customary land next to the seabed and foreshore.

But remember, the test remains – largely unbroken and continuous use back to 1840. There will be no sweetheart deals.

Customary rights relate to a specific long practical activity associated with the seabed and foreshore such as launching a waka, anchoring a boat, collecting sand or stones.

Where ancestral connections and customary rights are demonstrated, they will be recorded in a register.

This resister is the link between registered ancestral connections and customary rights and the Resource Management Act.

The register will clearly point future developers of the seabed and foreshore to which local Maori or non-Maori they must deal with and, more importantly, it will explain why.

It will actually tighten this aspect of the RMA, as the specific activities associated with customary rights will be outlined in the register.

Now let me be absolutely clear.

Maori or non-Maori who are granted ancestral connection or customary rights will have no more or no less power under the National Government’s RMA than they currently enjoy.

There is no veto or ticket clipping as Brash is mischievously suggesting.

We say New Zealand’s culture, and this includes aspects of Maori culture, is worth preserving.

Remember Brash is the same man who said the customary fishing set up by National in the 1990s was OK – and I quote “I am errr comfortable with that”.

Now he would deny Maori, or any New Zealander for that matter, customary use of the seabed and foreshore.

Remember he has stated publicly that Maori are a ‘primitive culture’ incompatible with modern cultures.

Again we must ask why? And again the commercial imperative which drives him seems clear.

The recognition of customary rights is simply a further barrier to his agenda of selling off parts of the seabed and foreshore. Now to clear up some of the other myths Brash has maliciously been spreading.

This will not become like the Treaty Industry gravy train for two simple reasons.

New Zealand First has ensured that there is a ten year time limit on lodging applications for ancestral connection and customary rights, ensuring that this cannot go on endlessly.

Second, and most importantly, New Zealand First has guaranteed that there is no legal aid for this process to allow lawyers to hijack the process and create another Treaty gravy train.

Brash is telling us that non-Maori have no access to the Maori Land Court during hearings or rights of appeal. This is simply wrong and is deceptive.

Ask yourself how we reached this point. It was because a Maori Land Court ruling was challenged through the courts. These rights of appeal have not gone, in fact they have been strengthened.

So when Brash and others claim that Maori will have a veto and non-Maori will have no right of appeal over Maori Land Court decisions it is demonstrable nonsense.

The appeals process is already well established and is quite explicit in the Bill.

Radical Maori are just as culpable as Brash in spreading misinformation.

The same group of Maori will tell you that non-Maori have no right to be here and all of New Zealand belongs only to Maori.

They have no respect for the rule of law or Parliament being sovereign and they have no sense of reality – except when it comes to taxpayer funds.

Many of these people have more non-Maori heritage than Maori and yet they refuse to recognise their non-Maori side.

Maori ownership was never promised by the Court of Appeal decision. There is no theft.

We have protected the ability for Maori to practice their culture forever so it is sad that some radicals searching for a new cause have grabbed this issue. They are now mischief making, acting in concert with Brash and his misguided cohorts to the detriment of their own people.

Make no mistake - this foreshore and seabed legislation is one law for all.

It is part of our heritage to look for fair and equitable solutions for all.

It is not part of our culture to make indigenous people refugees in their own land.

The choice for all New Zealanders, but in particular Maori is clear. They can back us on this or they can have the Brash option.

We’ll guarantee you the seabed and foreshore forever. He’ll sell much of it off to the highest overseas bidder.

The foreshore and seabed legislation is now before a select committee where it will be examined in depth.

We will be pleased to consider suggestions aimed at refining and improving the Bill.

But we will not accept wholesale changes that change the meaning of the legislation.

We promised New Zealanders we would fix it and that is what we are doing.


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