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Multimillion dollar land confiscation

15 December 2004

Foreshore haste leads to multimillion dollar land confiscation

The Government's bumbling attempts to remedy its confiscation of tens of millions of dollars of prize real estate, including Britomart and Wellington Airport, is a "cynical manoeuvre", Green MP Metiria Turei says.

The Government's Foreshore and Seabed Act inadvertently confiscated all local council fee simple reclaimed land when it was passed last month, and the Government has added a clause to the Aquaculture Bill currently before the House to fix the mistake.

"The Foreshore Act is only 19 days' old and already the Government is trying to sneakily fix mistakes in it that should never have been made," Mrs Turei, Green Maori Affairs spokesperson said.

"Of course, the Foreshore and Seabed Act was only designed to confiscate Maori land, and not council land such as Britomart and Wellington Airport. However, the Government was so hasty in confiscating land from Maori that it ended up confiscating a whole lot of land from all New Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha. It is now having to fix this embarrassing problem by hiding an amendment in the Aquaculture Bill.

"The Greens recognise the need to remedy this extremely serious mistake, but we completely oppose the Government's abuse of process that led to the mistake being made in the first place. Furthermore, it is outrageous that the Government is trying to hide its incompetence from the public by burying an amendment in the Aquaculture Bill.

"The Government's indecent haste to pass the Foreshore Act, which left the select committee without enough time to consider the Bill properly, has meant that it is likely to be riddled with stupid and costly mistakes like this one.

"The Government needs to confess that it has made a huge mistake with the Foreshore and Seabed Act and give everyone, Maori and Pakeha, their land back."


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