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Bully-boy tactics inappropriate - Cullen

2 July 2004 Media Statement

Bully-boy tactics inappropriate - Cullen

“No amount of bullying by Gerry Brownlee can change the fact that the National Party got its facts wrong in suggesting that non-Maori cannot bring proceedings in the Maori Land Court,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today.

Dr Cullen was responding to the National deputy leader’s personal attack on Chief Maori Land Court Judge Joe Williams after Judge Williams moved to quietly set the record straight, pointing out that non-Maori have been bringing proceedings before the court since 1878.”.

“These bully boy tactics are classic Brownlee. If you don’t like the message, punch the messenger.

“National had the temerity to criticise government information campaigns this week while at the same time using tax-payer funded advertisements to deliberately distort the truth around the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

“One of the reasons it has got to try to stir up trouble over the issue now is because by the time of the 2005 general elections, the legislation will have been in effect for the better part of a year and people will realise their fears were groundless.

“New Zealanders will still be able to go to the beach as they do now. The only difference will be that these rights and practices will be protected by law.

“The full and beneficial ownership of the foreshore and seabed, except for those parts now in private title, will be vested in the Crown. Groups, Maori and non-Maori, can have their customary rights acknowledged and protected provided they can demonstrate that they have engaged in the relevant activity or use substantially uninterrupted since 1840.

“And Maori who can establish they have ancestral connection to particular areas of the foreshore and seabed will have their rights to participate in decision-making relating to those areas strengthened. These rights are already reflected in the Local Government Act and the Resource Management Act 1991. The effect of the new Bill will be to clarify precisely which hapu and iwi local government should engage with in which area,” Dr Cullen said.


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