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Labour plays Kiwis for suckers on seabed law

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

15 November 2004

Labour plays Kiwis for suckers on seabed law

"The Labour Government is playing New Zealanders for suckers with its cheap and nasty quick-fix law to settle the seabed and foreshore issue," says National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"We expect to see substantial changes to the legislation when it comes before the House this week - changes that are being rammed through without public discussion.

"It is a further illustration that the Government is not prepared to listen to the views of the public on this matter. Instead, it has been doing a series of cynical back-room deals to take the issue off the agenda.

"Let's be clear - the future Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed is by no means assured.

"Labour has confirmed it is discussing with Maori groups their historic claims to the foreshore and seabed, and those historic claims will be exempt from any law the Government rushes through this week.

"In other words, the Labour-led Government is telling Maori to stay loyal and they will be looked after once the issue is off the front pages and the public is distracted by something else.

"We do not favour a process that will give Maori a greater say than non-Maori in the management of these significant resources.

"Future generations of New Zealanders will be left to deal with the legacy of this short-sighted politically expedient deal, which will undoubtedly signal the start of a whole new Treaty grievance industry.

"National has made its position on this clear right from the start. We believe our beaches and our lakes should belong to all New Zealanders," says Mr Brownlee.


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