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Maori Church accuses govt over foreshore

Maori Church accuses govt over foreshore

The Maori Anglican Church has accused the government of trying to take away their fundamental rights in its foreshore and seabed law.

An open letter to Maori members of parliament signed by five Maori bishops and the "clergy and laity of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa" represents the voice of 68 thousand Maori Anglicans.

The Maori Church claims to speak in a time of threat to racial peace: "as an instrument of peace and to be the prophetic voice of people in the community."

Coming on the heels of a statement from Tai Tokerau Anglicans in Northland and Auckland earlier this month, the statement warns of the threat to peace they see as a result of the government's current legislation:

"We believe that peace between peoples in this land is under threat.

We believe that continued breaches to this peace may spark conflict."

The letter urges every Maori member of parliament to abandon the current legislation and urgently begin a "longer conversation" with Maori.

The Church's full support is given to the two MPs they see as standing firm against the "discriminatory" legislation:

"We also offer our full support to those Maori Members of Parliament, Nanaia Mahuta and the Hon Tariana Turia, who oppose this legislation."

Maori Anglicans have also put their weight behind the current hikoi on foreshore and seabed issues, calling on Maori MPs to do the same:

"We also offer our full support to ... the hikoi currently crossing the land to protest at this injustice."

The signatories to the letter include: The Right Reverend Whakahuihui Vercoe, Bishop of Aotearoa and Bishop of Te Manawa o Te Wheke (Central North Island) The Right Reverend Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Bishop of Tai Tokerau (Northland & Auckland) The Right Reverend Muru Walters, Bishop of Te Upoko o Te Ika (Wellington) The Right Reverend John Gray, Bishop of Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) The Right Reverend Brown Turei, Bishop of Te Tai Rawhiti (East Coast)

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