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Beaches debate can't be solved in secret

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

03 October 2003

Beaches debate can't be solved in secret

The National Party is joining the chorus of opposition to the Government's latest attempts to shut down debate on the foreshore and seabed.

"The Government's heading back behind closed doors for further secret discussions on how to fix the damage of its own making," says National Party Leader Bill English.

"It again will be testing its plans on focus groups and conducting internal polling to see how far it can compromise with the rights that all New Zealanders thought they had.

"We already know from tortuous question times in Parliament that nearly everything in the Government's earlier foreshore and seabed proposal is up for grabs," says Mr English.

"Now the Government has provided Maori with a platform to vent anger, Labour is banking on the rest of New Zealand losing their resolve to protect and safeguard beach ownership.

"Helen Clark hopes that like her, the majority of New Zealanders are now prepared to back-down.

"She's hoping a delay will buy her the time she needs to package up a slippery compromise, that three months ago middle New Zealand would have rejected outright - just like Maori at the taxpayer funded hui.

"The National Party will not be distracted so easily," Mr English warns.


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