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Childish Abuse Has No Place In Foreshore Debate

Childish Abuse Has No Place In Foreshore Debate

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Hilary Calvert today questioned whether, when labelling opponents of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill as ‘clowns’ and paranoids’, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson was also referring to National list candidate and constitutional law expert Stephen Franks.

“In his submission, Stephen Franks called the Bill ‘unprincipled, dishonest and damaging’ and described it as ‘the translation to law of misleading political slogans’. Does this make him a ‘clown’ or ‘paranoid’?” Ms Calvert said.

“Does Mr Finlayson regard Mr Franks as a ‘clown’ or ‘paranoid’ when he writes that the Bill ‘sets out on a new constitutional course for New Zealand, departing from the promise of equality before the law’?

“Or when Mr Franks says the Bill ‘establishes a poorly defined inherited privilege to give trumping power over resource management decisions of democratically elected local government’? Or when he writes that it ‘deliberately introduces vague and undefined terms, and leaves irresistible incentives for hapu, iwi and citizens to spend years litigating to determine the boundaries of new and undefined privileges, and who may claim entitlement to them’?

“What about when he writes that ‘the mainstream of the Maori Party has made it clear that this Bill is seen as simply a down payment’ and that ‘in those circumstances, there is no point in generous concessions and sacrifices of principle and constitutional barbarisms’?

“Is Mr Franks a ‘clown’ or ‘paranoid’ for writing that the Bill ‘covertly creates a form of exploitation right for iwi and hapu’ and that ‘exploitation of the rights it would grant will foster the naked exercise of political advantage for profit’? Or that the powers given in this Bill ‘will generate continual perceptions (or the reality) of political corruption, especially if the Maori Party hold the balance of power’?

“The Attorney-General is obstinately ignoring the fact that his new foreshore and seabed Bill is deeply flawed, and that it is opposed by Maori and non-Maori alike. Rather than resorting to childishly abusing opponents of this Bill he should simply withdraw it and allow iwi and hapu to have their claims heard in open court,” Ms Calvert said.


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