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Labour must act on Maori ban in Bay of Islands

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

09 December 2004

Labour must act on Maori ban in Bay of Islands

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says Labour must send a firm message to the Northland hapu that is advertising a ban on boats and ships from a huge area in the Bay of Islands.

"Labour must not tolerate this divisive behaviour. The Government should act quickly to assure all New Zealanders that their rights are being protected.

"This kind of protest must not be allowed to escalate. This is the inevitable consequence of Labour's conscious decision to raise Maori expectations over foreshore and seabed claims."

Mr Brownlee is commenting on advertisements placed in the Northern Advocate newspaper this week by a Matauri Bay-based group.

The ads say that from December 20 all watercraft are banned from entering the 'Hapu of Ngati Kura' and no fishing or diving is allowed near Flat Island (near the Cavalli Islands) to Cape Brett.

The ban covers the Bay of Islands and extends 400 nautical miles out to sea. According to the same report, the hapu plans to 'toll' vehicles in the area.

"Labour must act urgently to put an end to this nonsense. The Bay of Islands is a national treasure that all New Zealanders, regardless of race, must be allowed to enjoy," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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