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Labour shuts public out of beaches debate - again

Dr Wayne Mapp MP National Party Treaty of Waitangi Issues Spokesman

06 November 2003

Labour shuts public out of beaches debate - again

The Labour Government is poised again to shut the wider public out of proper consultation on its foreshore and seabed proposals, says National Party Constitutional and Treaty of Waitangi Issues spokesman Wayne Mapp.

"According to a memorandum to the Waitangi Tribunal dated yesterday, the Government believes it will have its final foreshore and seabed proposal out for discussion by mid-December.

"That will be implemented by legislation in February or March next year, but with such a tight timeframe it's pretty clear that no-one will be given the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions on the December proposal.

"But the reality is that the Government has already indicated what it will do:

* Public Domain - relaxing Crown ownership, overturning more than a century of public understanding about who owns the foreshore and seabed. Is this another step towards a republic?

* The preferential allocation of 20% of marine farm licences, as reported by the New Zealand Business Herald on November 4.

* Widespread co-management of beaches and the foreshore by Maori throughout much of the country.

"All the consultation has been with Maori - when does the rest of New Zealand get to have a say through actual meetings with Ministers, instead of written submissions?

"This is surely an issue where all New Zealanders should have an equal say rather than the preferential consultation with Maori," says Dr Mapp.

Ends


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