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Foreshore: BoP Decision ‘Predictable’

Gerry Brownlee
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

27 March 2005

Foreshore: BoP decision ‘predictable’

The decision to allow Whakatohea iwi to claim customary rights over the vast majority of the Bay of Plenty foreshore shows just how weak Labour’s foreshore and seabed legislation really is, says National’s Maori Affairs spokesman, Gerry Brownlee.

In a March 8 Maori Land Court decision, Chief Judge Joe Williams gave the green light to Whakatohea claiming customary rights to the foreshore and seabed from Te Horo in the west to Te Rangi in the east.

Chief Judge Williams said it was permissible to make such a claim under the foreshore and seabed legislation based on traditional kaitiakitanga and rangatiratanga.

“While the Judge says he would like to see greater particularity in the claim, it is evident that his court will apply a more liberal interpretation of the legislation which says such activities are to be, and have been, ‘regularly carried out on all parts of the foreshore and seabed,”says Mr Brownlee.

“Helen Clark’s knee-jerk reaction to the Ngata Apa decision of June 2003 has lead to predictably bad legislation.

“During the passage of this legislation, National predicted that this exact situation would arise.

“There is nothing surer than the effective Joe Williams decision resulting in the Government’s chequebook flapping in the wind as Maori seek compensation for far more than was ever likely prior to the 2003 decision,” says Mr Brownlee.


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