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The Brash Report: No. 33, 30 June 2004

An update from the National Party Leader

No. 33, 30 June 2004

What Labour doesn't want you to find in the Foreshore and Seabed Bill

In metropolitan dailies this week you will see an advertisement by the National Party spelling out the exact nature of the con job that Labour is trying to put over the electorate.

After discovering that most of us were opposed to its initial proposals on the foreshore and seabed, the Labour Government, with assistance from NZ First, has come up with a reformulation that changes nothing.

The notion of "customary title" is now termed "ancestral connection", but not much else has changed.

As we demonstrate by quoting directly from the legislation, holders of customary rights will have the power to veto resource consents; in practise, only Maori will get customary rights orders; new customary rights may be declared at any time; ancestral connection orders will apply to virtually the entire coastline; these orders will be very difficult to oppose; and judges deciding on customary rights and ancestral connection orders must rely on "tikanga Maori", creating a situation where iwi claimants will be allowed to help define the tikanga meaning of the ancestral connection they're claiming.

An inevitable consequence of this legislation is that the part-Maori descendants of signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi will still be able to hold up the development of our coastline until their terms are met.

Labour's basic message to Kiwis is that if you're not Maori, then no matter how long you live here, you can never love this land as deeply, or care about it as responsibly, as Maori.

As I have said before, this legislation will divide our country, not bring it together. This is not the way to build a better future for all.

This Labour-NZ First con job deserves to be exposed for the duplicitous sham that it is.

20% of Aquaculture to Maori also

But it doesn't stop there.

Two weeks ago, the Government announced a deal with Maori on aquaculture which will give Maori 20% of marine farm space allocated since 1992 and 20% of future space.

National's Fisheries Spokesman, Phil Heatley, has observed that Labour's proposed marine farming legislation will give Maori four bites of the cherry. Not only will Maori be allocated 20%, they will be able to tender for the general allocation, and some iwi groups will be able to claim up to an extra 10% due to preferential rights included in their Treaty settlement.

The fourth bite will come via the foreshore and seabed legislation, where regional councils will have to consult Maori during the resource consent process over the marine farms of competing marine farmers.

The 1992 fisheries settlement gave Maori 20% of wild fish in the quota management system, on the basis that fishing for wild fish was a traditional Maori activity. But marine farming wasn't a traditional Maori activity and this allocation of marine farm space goes too far.

Maori interests already constitute about 25% of the existing aquaculture industry, and the Government's two-year moratorium has held up the applications of an even larger percentage which are Maori. So Maori interests were already substantial players, and are about to get even bigger.

We are now in the bizarre situation where some of the existing Maori operations may be bought back by the Crown in order to give them back to Maori as part of the 20% they are entitled to. And we know who will get the better end of that sort of deal.

We might have thought that New Zealand's Treaty madness might be abating, and that Labour (and NZ First) would be having second thoughts. Now we can see that the Treaty industry still has plenty of momentum.

But it gets worse.

Last week the Government announced that they would legislate to include tuna in New Zealand's quota management system. This will determine how much fish can be caught not only in our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but also on the high seas and in other nations' exclusive zones. So they will be giving Maori 20% of tuna caught outside our EEZ.

Could Treaty madness go any further? Under this Government, of course it can.

My colleague Murray McCully, in his weekly newsletter, awards his "2004 Mugabe Award for Craven Political Correctness and Treaty Separatism" to the Institute for Geological and Nuclear Sciences. See his latest newsletter at This weekly newsletter, by the way, is undoubtedly New Zealand's most entertaining and provocative weekly commentary on politics.

Law and Order

This Sunday I will be giving a major speech on law and order to a meeting of the Sensible Sentencing Trust in Auckland. A copy of the speech will be put on the National Party website ( on Sunday afternoon.

Don Brash

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