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Harawira only advocating common law

Harawira only advocating common law

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is advocating a return to British common law principles in his solution to the foreshore and seabed issue, says a Treaty education group.

Network Waitangi Whangarei spokeswoman Moea Armstrong said the rights of all New Zealanders were catered for in the MP’s suggested formula.

Mr Harawira is touring Northland investigating views on what should replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and spoke in Whangarei yesterday. He is suggesting a return to Maori customary title, the status quo before the 2004 Act, as well as protecting access rights to all New Zealanders.

“Even if we didn’t have a Treaty, English common law recognises customary title - or native or aboriginal title as it’s sometimes known – so the British knew land had to be bought from indigenous peoples throughout the world,” she said. This is reflected in Lord Normanby’s instructions to Hobson, in which he stated that ‘Maori title to the soil and to the sovereignty of New Zealand is indisputable and has been solemnly recognized by the British Government.’

“Far from being radical, Mr Harawira is only suggesting that we return to the status quo before the 2004 Act, with the added assurances that access rights to the beach will be protected for all, and that customary title will not be able to be converted to a different type of title to be sold.”

This means that the foreshore and seabed could never be alienated to overseas interests, unlike some current beachfront property in individual ownership.

“It’s a simple solution and one that restores common law justice, protecting everyone’s rights and futures,” she said. “It’s a solution all New Zealanders should be proud to support.”


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