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Foreshore Bill an abuse of process

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Baldock: Foreshore Bill an abuse of process

The Government and NZ First's putting of their short-term political goals ahead of responsible legislative process on the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Bill is a slap in the face for all New Zealanders, United Future's Larry Baldock said today.

"Pushing law through for political expediency is betraying the trust put in parliamentarians as lawmakers, but it is many times worse when it is on a Bill such as this, which has such real implications for the future life and spirit of the nation," he said after speaking against the Bill in Parliament last night.

"There are times when urgency is justified because of important deadlines, but this is not one of them.

"New Zealanders - Maori and Pakeha - deserve an awful lot better on this issue than the Government and NZ First are delivering for them," he said.

"They deserved to be heard and respected. No one can honestly say that that has happened here with the rushing of submitters and the lack of impact their views have had.

"Process isn't just a catch-cry - it really is about making law responsibly and thoughtfully. Not this slap-dash, get-it-out-of-the-way rubbish that we are being presented with today, " Mr Baldock said.

Mr Baldock said one welcome change was that the new object clause being pushed by the Government moved it passed simple Crown ownership as claimed by Winston Peters, reinforcing the fact that it is the common heritage of all New Zealanders, regardless of when they arrived in this great land.

"Recognising the genuine customary rights of the Maori is consistent with a just society, and does not have to be in conflict with the recognition of the right of all New Zealanders to have access to enjoy the foreshore and seabed. Mr Baldock also welcomed the clarification that nothing in the Bill would affect the common law fishing rights that are an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle.

ENDS

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