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Christian World Service says listen to Maori

Christian World Service says listen to Maori on the Foreshore and Seabed

New Zealand aid and development agency, Christian World Service, supports Maori in their bid for a just resolution on the foreshore and seabed issue.

"The hikoi was a clear and uncompromising message to all New Zealanders from Maori," said Jonathan Fletcher. "The dispersal of the hikoi cannot be the end of debate on the Foreshore and Seabed. Maori have expressed their opposition to the Bill and it is up to all of us to ensure that a just solution is found."

The hikoi demonstrated the widespread opposition amongst Maori to the Foreshore and Seabed legislation and Maori anger at the way the Government is once again using parliamentary process to strip iwi and hapu of their rights and resources.

"As an organisation that takes seriously its obligation to honour Te Tiriti O Waitangi and its commitment to work alongside Maori for a just and equitable society, we have been deeply saddened by the Government's hasty efforts to bring legislation to Parliament," said National Director, Jonathan Fletcher.

"This legislation is a litmus test of the Government's commitment to its relationship with Maori and I am sorry to say it falls short," he added. "The Select Committee process is the last chance the Government has to fulfil its obligations under Te Tiriti O Waitangi. It is important that those who recognise the Government's obligations under the Treaty make sure that the rights of Maori are protected."

The legislation appears to confiscate both access and the right of iwi and hapu to exercise their traditional responsibilities over these resources. It will require them to prove that they have exercised this practice "substantially uninterrupted since 1840".

"It is not a fair expectation when so much of the land adjacent to the foreshore and seabed has been taken from iwi and hapu, and when they have been denied their sovereignty," he added. "Neither is it right that the government provide open access to the foreshore and seabed by committing a new injustice to Maori."

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