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Foreshore Legislation Hardens Iwi Opposition

Foreshore Legislation Hardens Iwi Opposition.

The proposed government legislation on the foreshore and seabed has strengthened the opposition of one of the country’s largest iwi. A spokesperson for Ngati Kahungunu, Dr. Pita Sharples, has said that the detail in the legislation merely confirms the Iwi’s worst fears about the proposed confiscation of the foreshore and seabed.

“For some time now Ngati Kahungunu has been planning a hikoi to Parliament on May 5 to object to the proposals of the government and most other political parties. This legislation merely hardens our resolve to be there on that day to express our opposition in the strongest possible way”.

Doctor Sharples noted that the legislation extinguishes rights long protected in both the Treaty of Waitangi and the common law and replaces it with a newly invented set of “customary territorial rights” that are effectively meaningless. The legislation has unfortunate similarities with 19th century confiscation laws and is equally unjust.

“Ngati Kahungunu has one of the longest Iwi coastlines in the country and the hikoi is just one of several actions being planned to voice our opposition,” he said. “We have been heartened by the support from other Iwi and Maori organisations and see it as one way of our people expressing the grassroots and widespread opposition to what the government is doing”.

Dr. Sharples also stated that although a hikoi was a new venture for Ngati Kahungunu it illustrated the depth of concern felt by the Iwi and other Maori. “We are determined to follow through on the hikoi and are pursuing various other national and international strategies”.

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