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Govt speaks with forked tongue on foreshore policy

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

04 November 2004

Govt speaks with forked tongue on foreshore policy

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the Government has predictably failed to deliver on promises to fix the faulty foreshore and seabed legislation through the select committee process.

"Labour was never going to bend on this issue, no matter how many thousands of submitters opposed the proposed new law at the select committee hearings.

"Helen Clark has far too much riding on the outcome to let democracy get in the way of her 'Government knows best' agenda.

"What is clear is that practically no-one, outside of Labour and New Zealand First, agrees with the 'so-called' solution. National favours Crown ownership, but with none of the strings that are attached in the Labour/New Zealand First bill.

"We also know that outside of the select committee process, Labour has been secretly negotiating with Maori over their claims to the coast.

"The Government will then tell non-Maori it has delivered Crown ownership, when in reality it has been working in the background telling Maori their claims will be exempt from the law.

"National will not accept this double standard. We believe the public are sick and tired of politicians saying one thing publicly and privately doing something else.

"National says our lakes and our beaches should belong to everyone. We say the foreshore and seabed should be placed into Crown ownership, except where fee simple title exists, confirming what most people thought was the status quo prior to the June 2003 Court of Appeal decision.

"We do not support the concept of 'ancestral connection', which places governance powers in the hands of undemocratic bodies, and greatly increases compliance and consultation costs under the RMA.

"National has no problem with the recognition and exercise of customary rights, but we believe these should not be allowed to impinge unduly on the rights of others. In particular, customary rights holders should not be allowed to 'veto' developments.

"Labour's back-room dealing on this will almost certainly guarantee continuing future uncertainty on the ownership of the foreshore and seabed for generations to come," says Mr Brownlee.


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