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Clark must reject Tariana Turia's demands

Don Brash National Party Leader

15 December 2003

Clark must reject Tariana Turia's demands

Tariana Turia's claim today that Maori would never allow the Crown or anyone else to hold seabed and foreshore ownership is unacceptable to most New Zealanders, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

"The Prime Minister has to bring her Associate Maori Affairs Minister into line, or else fire her," he says.

Dr Brash's comments follow a speech given by Tariana Turia to Te Ngawari Hauora at the Island Bay Surf Club in Wellington earlier today.

In the speech, Ms Turia emphasised the importance of the coastline to Maori custom, spoke of the Maori need to have management of the foreshore and seabed and said "there is no way that tangata whenua will ever give up our rights voluntarily, or allow them to be subject to anyone else's authority. We will never agree that the Crown or anyone else should hold them on our behalf."

"This is a clear shot across the Prime Minister's bows two days before the seabed and foreshore announcement," says Dr Brash.

"Helen Clark and Attorney General Margaret Wilson had initially promised to secure Crown ownership of the seabed and foreshore, but backed off in the face of the Maori caucus.

"For the past few months, we have seen the Government deal-making in secret with select groups while ignoring others, such as farmers, who also have interests in the foreshore," Dr Brash says.

"Labour has to end this uncertainty and ensure the seabed and foreshore remain in the hands of all New Zealanders.

"National will not accept a new grievance industry gravy train based on the Maori Land Court. Crown ownership is the best method to safeguard the rights of all. We are all New Zealanders, with the same rights and obligations under the law.

"It is clear from Ms Turia's comments today that she expects control and management of the foreshore and seabed to be passed into Maori hands. This is completely unacceptable to most New Zealanders and the Prime Minister needs to front up, instead of hiding, and give reassurances that this will not happen," he says.

"It is deplorable that after months of secret deal-making, Labour is dropping its package the day after it closes Parliament for the year.

"The arrogance involved in this is unbelievable considering this issue is one of the most important facing the nation," says Dr Brash.

Ends

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