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Labour looks forward to consensus on foreshore

Parekura Horomia
Maori Affairs spokesperson
David Parker
Shadow Attorney General

1 July 2009 Media Statement
Labour looks forward to consensus on foreshore

Labour welcomes the report of the ministerial review panel into the foreshore and seabed and hopes that a broad consensus on the issue will be achieved, says Labour’s Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia and Shadow Attorney General David Parker.

“The Labour Party will take time to read the report properly before commenting on it in detail,” Parekura Horomia said.

“Labour said earlier this year in a submission to the panel that we believe an enduring consensus on the issue is yet to be reached. The previous position taken by the National Party on the Foreshore and Seabed Act - which senior MPs opposed as race-based, preying upon fears and prejudices and asserting the public would be denied access to the beaches – created a very difficult climate.

“National’s change of heart has established an opportunity to revisit the Act, which we support. John Key said in April that our submission indicated ‘there could well be agreement between the three of us, National, Labour and the Maori Party, (in) which case you'll get a much better solution and one that'll achieve what we want,’” David Parker says.

“We hope this remains the case. Changes which need to be made include restoring the ability for iwi and hapu to gain a customary title to the foreshore and seabed.”

“Labour accepts the current legislation needs amendment. However we agree with the review panel that simply repealing the Act and returning to the status quo which existed beforehand – which would have put decisions back in the hands of the courts – would not be appropriate,” says Parekura Horomia.

“The Maori Party advocated this position, but it would have created great uncertainty for all parties,” he said.

“Labour believes a consensus which involves the recognition of Maori interests in the foreshore and seabed and guaranteed protection of public access rights can be achieved without creating further division and lengthy uncertainty. We look forward to hearing the Government’s response to the report, which does provide pathways for a way forward,” David Parker said.


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