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Foreshore and Seabed submission process 'farcical'

13 August, 2004

Foreshore and Seabed submission process 'farcical'

Green MP Metiria Turei today slammed the Government's plan to ignore the provinces when hearing submissions on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

In addition to travelling only to Auckland and Christchurch, the Fisheries and Other Sea-Related Legislation Committee is expected to only hear 350 out of the 2000 requests to present oral submissions on the bill.

"It's absolutely outrageous that the Government would ignore provincial Maori in this way," said Metiria, the Green spokesperson for Maori Affairs.

"It's an affront to democratic principles that just proves that the Government is not interested in hearing from the communities that this bill will affect.

"The Government has effectively decided to ignore the depth of feeling that surrounds this flawed legislation. I would have expected the Government to at least travel to the areas where this bill would have the most effect - in the Maori heartland, not just the urban centres.

"The limit of 350 oral submissions is appallingly small compared to the 4000 written submissions and requests for oral submissions that were received. This is a naked attempt to stifle the democratic process on one of the most important and contentious pieces of legislation in New Zealand's history," she said.

"The Government is running scared on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. Either it has the guts to front up to Maori in the provinces and hear their concerns, or they drop the bill altogether," said Metiria.

ENDS


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