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Govt Building (Sand)Castles In The Air

4 October 2004

Govt Building (Sand)Castles In The Air

Sandcastles will be walking the streets of Wellington today on the last day of the Select Committee hearings on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

"The government is building (sand)castles in the air if they imagine this confiscation legislation is going to be any kind of solution on the foreshore and seabed. If the Bill is passed, it will cause conflict for years to come", said Takutai Poneke spokesperson Kiri Allan.

The Fisheries and Other Sea Related Select Committee have been hearing submissions since August but have invited oral submissions from less that 10% of all submissions received.

"The entire process to date has been a total sham."

"From the 'consultation' hui last year where the government's proposals were overwhelmingly rejected, the foreshore and seabed hikoi in May, to the Select Committee process where only one or two submitters out of more than 3, 900 have been fully in support of the legislation, it is obvious that there is significant opposition to the Bill. So why is the government going full steam ahead with it?" asked Ms Allan.

"The fact that the Bill allows the government to sell the foreshore and seabed by a simple Act of Parliament suggests that privatisation and profit is the motive", she stated.

"The Bill is fundamentally flawed and breaches the Treaty of Waitangi, the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act as the Human Rights Commission and other submissions on the Bill have made clear. The proposed legislation also violates international human rights conventions - the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination has already asked for an explanation of the Bill from the government", said Ms Allan.

"Iwi and hapu have put forward a variety of alternative ways to achieve the government's stated objectives without breaching anyone's human rights, but the government has ignored those alternatives. Existing situations where there is Maori ownership of popular beaches and no problem at all with public access, such as Okahu Bay in Auckland, show there clearly are alternatives to this Bill.

"The level of opposition to the Bill, the likelihood of international condemnation, and the fact that real alternatives have been put forward and ignored by the government shows that they have a hidden agenda", Ms Allan concluded.

The sandcastles in Wellington today will be distributing information about the Foreshore and Seabed Bill and the second foreshore and seabed hikoi which will take place in Auckland on 16 October 2004.

ENDS

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