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The Government builds a sandcastle

17 December, 2003

The Government builds a sandcastle

The Green Party says the Government's plans for the Foreshore and Seabed will not meet the needs of Maori and Pakeha New Zealanders.

"Instead of developing a robust and just framework, the Government has come up with a proposal that has all the durability of a summer sandcastle," said Metiria Turei, the Green Maori Affairs spokesperson.

"We are particularly concerned by the Government's intention to extinguish customary title. We have long argued that the term 'customary title' cannot be co-opted and redefined as a lesser right. Where we agree with the Government is that customary title over the foreshore and seabed should not be able to be converted into saleable freehold title.

"If the Government wants to build good-faith relationships with Maori and Pakeha it must stop talking 'rules' and start building a relationship.

"The Government's process has so alienated Maori that they understandably treat anything now with suspicion. Pakeha also feel alienated because they have been told that Maori want to stop them going to the beach, which is patently untrue.

"While we see potential in the provisions for enhanced decision-making in coastal management for Maori, there needs to be a demonstrable commitment from central and local government to make it work.

"The Greens are committed to working for an acceptable solution," said Metiria. "The Government has signalled that legislation won't be introduced until March, so the Green Party will use the time to discuss the paper with members, Maori and other New Zealanders.

"The Government promised consultation but then didn't listen. We have no intention of committing the same mistake."

The Green Party will discuss the paper at its Summer Policy Conference in Dunedin from 23rd-26th January, 2004.

ENDS

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