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Land access the death knell for Labour's Maori MPs

14 June 2005

Land access the death knell for Labour's Maori MPs

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party;

"The statement that Maori land will be taken in the proposed land access laws will be the death knell for Labour's embattled Maori MPs if they allow this to go through" said Tariana Turia responding to the morning's statements from the Prime Minister that Maori land will be considered as part of the access law.

"It is yet another confiscation as I am sure private land owners will also not appreciate. This is a clear attack on private property rights, similar to the issues we have lived through with the Foreshore and Seabed confiscation" stated Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.

"In opening up the possibility of having all and sundry walking through their private property, such a proposal also creates huge safety issues for rural families".

"It is one thing for people who live in urban centres to want to walk along significant waterways, but these are rural properties, which will have limited security measures in place due to issues of distance and police resources. There are also associated issues of pollution and environmental damage".

"This will be a case of another theft by a Government who clearly doesn't care about who in the end they are upsetting".

"Now they are prepared to act against the interests of farmers and we have to be concerned about that. This is a government that must think there are more people willing to wander at will over other people's properties, and to claim waters that don't belong to them".

"We totally oppose the notion that the public should be allowed to wander on to a private property to get to the river. No-one that lives in an urban setting would allow that - why should we operate a different standard for our rural communities? "

"We would like to work with Federated Farmers on this issue, as we believe they will have the support of Maori in protecting private property rights".

"We understand that walking access would be extended along water ways with access value throughout the country, including areas of special significance on Maori land".

"The policy is yet another demonstration of this Government's blatant disregard for Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and in particular in breach of "full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates, Forests, Fisheries and other properties" (Article two).

ENDS

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