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Dunne: Radical threats on NZ beaches a disgrace

Media statement
For immediate release

Monday, 8 December 2003

Dunne: Radical threats on NZ beaches a disgrace

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, says threats by some fringe radical elements to occupy beaches over the holiday season in support of Maori claims to the foreshore and seabed are disgraceful and must be rejected by the Government.

“The day when New Zealanders hurl sand at other New Zealanders from behind a barricade of chilly bins and barbecues is the day when separatist ideology will have overwhelmed commonsense,” he said.

“When the government unveils its proposals to deal with the foreshore and seabed issue next week, it must be made plain that our beaches are for the use and enjoyment of all New Zealanders.

“United Future has previously called for some basic principles to be upheld. They are:

1. No person or entity shall hold a legal fee simple property right to a foreshore or seabed, unless such a right already exists.

2. Ownership of the foreshores and seabeds, where it does not conflict with current legal rights, shall be vested explicitly by legislation in the Crown, on behalf of all New Zealanders.

3. The Queen’s Chain shall be defined in law and free public access to the Chain shall be defined in law, except where it adversely affects the rights of adjoining private property owners. In such cases, the Crown shall use all its best endeavours to provide public access to the Chain.

4. Noting the confusion over the definition of phrases such as ‘customary rights, customary title and customary usage’, the government will ask Parliament to define them by legislation after exhaustive public consultation.

5. When Parliament has determined the meaning of those terms, the Maori Land Court will be permitted to hear claims from Maori as to their rights over the foreshores and seabeds, on the clear understanding that no fee simple rights will be capable of being granted.

“Radical Maori cannot claim to speak for all Maori on this issue. It’s time for all New Zealanders of commonsense to speak up before the whole debate is hijacked by the silly, the irresponsible and the unelected,” said Mr Dunne.

Ends

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