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Maori Party - Foreshore And Seabed Policy

Foreshore and Seabed Policy 'From the Lands to the Sands'

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party Thursday 5 May 2005

Background

The Mäori Party was formed because of the extreme frustration Mäori and other people throughout Aotearoa felt when the Labour Government was unresponsive to concerns about the foreshore and seabed legislation.

This lack of responsiveness was not a new experience for Mäori, but it added to years of frustration about the actions of successive governments whose interventions often: * alienated whänau, hapü, iwi and communities; * ignored or sought to marginalise Te Tiriti o Waitangi; * created dissension amongst New Zealanders worried about their share of Aotearoa's resources.

The Maori Party today recognises the immense significance of this day, 5 May, a day in which a year ago 45,000 New Zealanders marched on Parliament, outraged at the foreshore and seabed legislation advocated by the Labour Government in cahoots with New Zealand First. The Maori Party is honoured to be able to launch its policy at Waiotohi Beach, where kaitiakitanga - authority and guardianship - continue. The Maori Party is committed to the following key elements of a foreshore and seabed policy for Aotearoa:

1. The Maori Party will repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act, following a process of meaningful consultation and dialogue with all New Zealanders. Our concern is that the legislation was rushed through, in an attempt to prepare the way for granting a Chinese company mining rights over large areas of the foreshore. It could not have done this without passing the legislation. We believe that real dialogue must be initiated within New Zealand communities, with regard to the key issues of access, inalienability, customary rights, and due process before the law.

2. The Maori Party will ensure that the nation continues to enjoy access, based on respect and care for those areas. The Maori Party is committed towards the preservation of resources and the sustainable management of the environment. Kaitiakitanga defines the responsibilities mana whenua have to protect the environment.

3. The Maori Party will do its utmost to restore the credibility and integrity of our country in the international environment. New Zealand's reputation has been damaged by the United Nations finding that the legislation appears, "on balance to contain discriminatory aspects against the Maori, in particular in its extinguishment of the possibility of establishing Maori title to the foreshore and seabed, and in its failure to provide a guaranteed right of redress".

The Committee has brought international attention to New Zealand's shame, in finding that the country is in breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. It is a breach of international law. The impact of this decision on New Zealand's international reputation is serious and the fact that the Government has ignored the decision will bring further concern for the United Nations. The Maori Party will actively work to restore the status of New Zealand in its compliance with international law.

4. The Maori Party will draft new legislation which protects access and other collective property rights which are inalienable. The new legislation will: * not be discriminatory, * not deny due process, * recognise Maori rangatiratanga over their taonga, and * provide for Maori to engage with all other citizens in the expression of kaupapa Maori.

ENDS

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