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Government double-dealing on foreshore and seabed

Gerry Brownlee National Party Deputy Leader

10 December 2003

Government double-dealing on foreshore and seabed

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee today challenged the Government to 'come clean' about the customary title to the foreshore and seabed offered by Michael Cullen in recent meetings with Te Ope Mana a Tai.

"Those who met with Dr Cullen have made it clear that he made an offer to them that the Government would establish a form of customary title," says Mr Brownlee.

"Today in Parliament, Dr Cullen confirmed that he had made an offer of customary title to the seabed and foreshore to recognise mana whenua as well as specific use rights.

"What is also clear is that Ministers Tamihere and Horomia told the group that customary title would give iwi the ability to block resource consents and control access and egress.

"Dr Cullen has been pushing the timetable to the point where the Government's plans for resolving this important matter will be made public as Parliament is coming to an end for the year," says Mr Brownlee.

"He clearly intends to engage in a horse-trading exercise with the heritage of all New Zealanders, as remote as possible from the scrutiny of the Parliament.

"In August, the Government was insistent that any form of title was out of the question in relation to the seabed and foreshore. Now, it is clear that an offer of customary title has been made.

"Dr Cullen needs to say what that customary title will involve, who is likely to receive it, and in recognition of what?

"The seabed and foreshore issue involves the birthright of all New Zealanders. It should not be the subject of shabby deals with handpicked iwi representatives in secret. It is time Dr Cullen told us who is being offered what, and why," says Mr Brownlee.

Ends


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