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New Zealand Lurching Further into Apartheid State

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
10 December 2013

New Zealand Lurching Further into Apartheid State

Rt Hon Winston Peters has accused the Government of being double-faced over customary title for some Māori under the Marine and Coastal Area Act.

Under the coalition arrangement between the National and Māori Parties, the ownership of the foreshore and seabed was taken away from the Crown and made available for Māori to seek customary title.

In Parliament today, Mr Peters asked Treaty Negotiations Minister Finlayson why some Māori were able to apply for total property rights over the foreshore and seabed, with most of the decisions being made behind closed doors in Parliament.

“This legislation amounts to a programme of apartheid and separatism. On one hand the Minister says the public has guaranteed access to the beaches and seabed but the legislation actually allows for major areas of the coastline to be closed off to New Zealanders – other Māori and non-Māori.

“This legislation also allows holders of customary title to veto resource consent applications made by other New Zealanders.

“The royalties from minerals found in the customary title areas will go to the new owners except for gold, silver, uranium and petroleum.”

Mr Peters says the customary title effectively means the privatisation of the foreshore and seabed with the owners selected purely by their race.

“The Minister claimed that access to the foreshore and seabed for recreation is a birth right of all New Zealanders.

“This is simply not true. His Government is actually taking away this birth right.

“The Minister should also remember his preaching that ‘equality is a fundamental, bedrock principle of our constitution’.

“Equality does not mean that some New Zealanders should have private property rights based simply on race. This situation is appalling,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

There are sixteen claims at present for 632 kilometres of coastline and a total of 6,148 square kilometres of seabed, taking in some of New Zealand’s best beaches and fishing grounds. Fourteen of the claims are being negotiated directly with the Government and both the Minister and claimants are trying to stop High Court actions that question the decisions.

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