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Baldock: NZ First not listening to submitters

Monday, 20 September, 2004

Baldock: NZ First not listening to submitters.

NZ First, in rushing to do a political deal on the foreshore and seabed, is clearly not prepared to listen to the vast majority of submitters opposed to Crown ownership and the rushed legislation, United Future's Larry Baldock said today.

Speaking after NZ First's Dail Jones rejected United Future's call for the Government to seek an interim report from the select committee probing the Foreshore and Seabed Bill to allow more comprehensive public consultation, Mr Baldock said it was typical NZ First to ignore the "big picture".

"An interim report would serve to update all interested parties on likely amendments, and Parliament could be furnished with a final report early next year, Mr Baldock said.

"It is about recognising the importance of this piece of legislation to New Zealand, and not just what NZ First sees as being in its political interests this week," he said.

"United Future actually does want to make changes to the Bill and has clearly signalled its willingness to work constructively on the select committee, but only if the process is slowed down with an interim report that will enable all New Zealanders to catch up with the process, and have an opportunity to have more input.

"This really is a test of whether the Government and other political parties are truly interested in listening to the people. NZ First clearly is not," Mr Baldock said. "Ngai Tahu 's Mark Solomon explained it pretty well when he spoke to their submission in Christchurch last week, stating that Crown ownership lacked any innovation or creative thinking and was more a concept from a colonial past. Mr Solomon was confident that a solution could be found that was acceptable to the vast majority of New Zealanders if there could be time for more dialogue and honest discussion."

ENDS

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