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Nats' opposition to Foreshore & Seabed Act evapor

28 November 2005

Nats' opposition to Foreshore & Seabed Act evaporates

National's previously staunch opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act seems to be evaporating now there is a real possibility their votes could lead to its repeal and help Maori get their day in court, Green Party Maori Affairs Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

The Maori Party is seeking support from other parties for a private member's bill to overturn the Foreshore and Seabed Act, with Co-Leader Peta Sharples saying he believes National will vote for the move. National opposed the Act last year on the basis that it didn't go far enough in protecting public access. They are now equivocating whether they will support the Maori Party initiative, which aims to repeal the Act to restore Maori right to take their claims to court.

"Isn't it funny how in twelve short months, National's fierce opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act has become weak-kneed equivocation," Mrs Turei says.

"National's equivocation now is utterly transparent. Clearly, they didn't oppose the Act last year because of any deeply held principle, but simply as a piece of populism aimed at gaining them the baubles of power. That failed, and now the possibility of the Act being reconsidered has come up they are not sure whether they're really that keen on seeing it repealed.

"The only thing consistent about National's position on the Foreshore and Seabed Act is that they want to deny Maori their legal rights to the Courts. National has at least shown itself consistent in its anti-Maori policy.

"At the same time, it is no surprise that United Future have, in 2005, backed away from their clear 2004 opposition to the Act. I can't help but wonder whether this was the price of the ministerial portfolio - a swift turnabout based on political expediency rather than principle," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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