Media Statement Wednesday - 7 April 2004
The Treaty Tribes Coalition, representing Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Hauraki Iwi, has rejected outright the Government's latest proposal on the foreshore and seabed, which continues to take away the rights of Maori to have proper access to the courts.
"The Government's mishandling of the foreshore and seabed issue has led to a fiasco," Coalition Chairman Harry Mikaere said today.
"Last-minute, party-political horse-trading is not the way to resolve this issue in an enduring way, particularly given its importance to all New Zealanders.
"The place for resolving this issue is in the courts.
"If the Government disagrees with the decision in 'Ngati Apa', it should simply appeal the decision.
"It should abandon its current approach before it does any further damage to its reputation for competent political management.
"No New Zealander who cares about the rule of law can support legislation on this issue at least until the court process has run its course.
"It seems Maori, alone among New Zealanders, are having their rights to have proper access to the courts taken away. If the Government gets away with doing it to Maori, they could do it to anyone.
"Any Maori MP who supports premature legislation will inevitably face electoral consequences. No legislation part way through a court process can ever be acceptable."