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Foreshore And Seabed Policy – Mindless Mess

Foreshore And Seabed Policy – Mindless Bureaucratic Mess – History About To Repeat Itself

New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters described the foreshore and seabed policy announced today as “a mindless bureaucratic mess that appears to have learnt nothing from recent history”.

“It will neither satisfy Maori nor non-Maori and worse seeks to rewrite the law on issues of ownership in an underhand and duplicitous manner. Title is no longer to be vested in the Crown and any subservient rights will be created by a new bureaucratic body where decisions will be decided by New Zealand’s lowest court.

“It will set Maori against Maori, and Maori against non-Maori, and the legal minefield created will make fishing litigation between Maori over the last 11 years, the biggest issue of contention and cost in the history of Maori, seem to be a cake walk.

“In one of the recommendations, number 103 of the Cabinet paper, merely changing a long drop to a septic tank or planting trees to consolidate coastal land will invoke shore front confiscation of ownership, something neither European nor Maori asked for.

“This is a Government which when confronted with the Marlborough decision failed to exercise its legal rights, did nothing to satisfy the Marlborough claimants who had a genuine grievance, then escalated the issue nation wide which now leaves all New Zealanders in a state of total uncertainty as to where all this going, a prospect that the mass majority of Maori had never asked for.

“Once the paper shufflers in the bureaucracy got hold of it, under a Government bereft of leadership and courage, they were bound to create a bureaucratic mess that will involve huge compliance costs.

“Rather than restoring the status quo as at the beginning of 2003 and working through the issues region by region they are about to impose a one size fits all juggernaut that will cause dismay and distrust and division.

“Anyone who thinks that the Government’s decision today is smart, clever or politically wise knows precious little about the way Maori think or fundamental principles of Nationhood. We now face years of uncertainty.

“Labour’s Christmas present to the people of this country is a poisoned chalice of divisiveness,” said Mr Peters.

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