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Integrity Depends On Marlborough Port Company

Integrity Depends On Marlborough Port Company

Thursday 15 Jul 2004

Stephen Franks Press Releases - Treaty of Waitangi & Maori

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Michael Cullen's dismissal of any importance now of the Marlborough Port Company's appeal to the Privy Council, in relation to the seabed and foreshore legislation, is more revealing than any outcome of the appeal, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"If the case went against Maori, the coast would be safe for all New Zealanders. But the Government has been unmasked, for good, as unprincipled," Mr Franks said.

"If the Privy Council upholds the Court of Appeal's decision, it merely confirms the incompetence of the politicians who support Sir Douglas Graham's legislation. That legislation would need fixing, but even the Privy Council - at its most politically correct - would not extract the notion of ancestral connection orders from the common law.

"The hand-over of coastal control to Maori claiming ancestral connections is part of a desperate political strategy to preserve Labour's tame votes, and if the Privy Council said our Court of Appeal had it wrong the whole tawdry deal would have no justification. Dr Cullen could claim it would be legally irrelevant all he likes - but, in fact, it would be a bombshell.

"Dr Cullen is right: the case so far has shown the urgent need to reform the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, irrespective of the outcome. But that is to get rid of the crude broken language in Sir Douglas Graham's law making.

"If Dr Cullen is trying to clear the ground for preserving his ancestral connection device - whatever the court might think - the Marlborough Port Company should now be careful. This Government will use crude patronage powers - and perhaps even legal bludgeons - to persuade the company not to go ahead.

"The hysteria of Labour's attack on Christchurch local authorities for criticising the seabed and foreshore legislation may be a warning of what's to come. This Government's so-called `partnership' with local authorities lasts only so long as those local authorities parrot Labour's political line," Mr Franks said.


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