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Iwi blocks access to foreshore

Hon Nick Smith Nelson MP

23 December 2004

Iwi blocks access to foreshore

Nelson MP Nick Smith says hundreds of boat-owners will be angry and disappointed that Maori today blocked access to the safest launching site between Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds.

Ngati Tama has blocked access to the water at Wakapuaka, 20 kilometres north of Nelson, with large boulders.

Maori claim ownership of the Wakapuaka foreshore, but this is disputed by the Government and is subject to High Court proceedings.

"It is ironic that on the very day the Government is talking about improving public access for recreationalists, the new Foreshore and Seabed Act is proving powerless to stop Maori blocking long-established access," says Dr Smith.

"The installation of these rocks is highly provocative, coming as it does just before the main holiday season, and when the matter is subject to investigations by Parliament's Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

"The Nelson City Council has not granted resource consent for the rock-works even though it is on a public road. This means it's illegal. If any other group had acted in this way, there would be a huge uproar.

"This is a test of whether or not there is really one standard of citizenship and equal access to the coast for all New Zealanders.

"Today I have written to the council asking for an enforcement order and the removal of the illegal rock barrier," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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