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UF calls for extended foreshore deadline

Thursday, 16 September, 2004

UF calls for extended foreshore deadline

United Future has called for the Government to seek an interim report from the select committee probing the Foreshore and Seabed Bill to allow more comprehensive public consultation.

An interim report would serve to update all interested parties on likely amendments, and Parliament could be furnished with a final report early next year, United Future's Larry Baldock said today.

Speaking at the third reading of the Maori Fisheries Bill, Mr Baldock contrasted the goodwill being developed for that bill with the disappointment, anger and frustration of Maori and Pakeha alike over the foreshore and seabed legislation.

"There have been only one or two submitters fully in support of the legislation," Mr Baldock, who is on the Fisheries and Other Sea-Related Legislation Committee, said.

"One after another, they have appealed to the Government to slow down this legislation and allow more consultation. It is indeed time to pause for a cup of tea.

"While the Government has a majority in the House to pass the legislation with NZ First's support, that doesn't mean they have a majority in the select committee," Mr Baldock said. The Government has sought United Future's assistance in the select committee process.

"The Government needs to understand that in the interests of social cohesion, the journey in this case is as important as the destination. So far that understanding has been missing," he said.

"United Future believes it would be wise if the Government took the lead in providing for further consultation to explain changes that have occurred since the Waitangi Tribunal Report," Mr Baldock said.

"It seems to me to be a pragmatic and commonsense proposal on a sensitive and hugely important issue," said Mr Baldock.

ENDS

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