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Ae Marika! Yes, No, Maybe ...

Ae Marika! A column published in the Northland Age By Hone Harawira MP for Tai Tokerau

14 December 2010

To comment on this column please go to my website


Well, well, well ... whadda ya know - Phil Goff has decided that Labour's going to "turn their back" on the Marine and Coastal Areas Bill.

Geez, if Goff wasn't such a bloody fool he'd be dangerous!

Remember - this is the crowd that put up the original Foreshore and Seabed bill without even asking their own Maori MPs!! "Never mind the Maoris. Let's just grab the title, tell them they can't go to court to get it back, and then we can start floggin' off the mineral rights to cashed up overseas interests!!"

That bloody arrogance got so many Maori pissed off that 50,000 of us marched against the bill, we formed our own party, and we've been taking the Maori seats off Labour ever since.

And then National stitches together their own version (same bill but this one's blue) and bugger me if Labour don't decide to back it (again I suspect, without proper consultation with their own Maori Council) because they reckoned it was going to be a "successful and enduring solution to the foreshore debate in NZ". Goff trying look statesmanlike . ha!!

Then Goff gets a sniff that Maori are lining up to oppose the bill because it doesn't return Maori title, it's too hard to prove you got title, and it's too expensive as well, but he don't even blink ... and then he notices that a whole bunch of Pakeha are in the media opposing it too (rednecks bleating about "Maoris getting everything"), and all of a sudden he decides to pull the old switcheroo - again!!!

So, huffing and puffing about how it "will not provide a lasting solution" Goff decides to pull the plug on the deal with National (and I betcha he didn't consult with his Maori Council over that decision either!!), which just makes him look like a washed-up old, opportunist with no regard for principles and just chasing the votes wherever they might be.

The fact that the Pakeha opponents are mainly ACTors seems to have completely passed him by; they wouldn't vote Labour anyway.

Clearly, in all of this, Goff has shown again that Labour's interests have nothing at all to do with what Maori want, and his bouncing around the political spectrum to chase Pakeha votes is exactly the reason why Maori walked away from them 5 years ago, and will keep doing it when we get to the election next year as well.

I presented my submission last week to the Maori Affairs Select Committee on the Marine and Coastal Areas Bill, at a sitting in Whangarei (go to for a copy).

I'm still opposed to the bill, and the more I hear about it, the more I'm opposed to it. The bill is a sham because it prattles on about mana but doesn't deliver on it; it is racist because it attacks only Maori; it sets tests which are unachievable for nearly all Maori; it sets costs which are too high for nearly every hapu in the country; and it has been widely condemned as unfair, unjust, and discriminatory.

And the solution?

Simple. Repeal the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act, give Maori time and space to work through the issue, and appoint an expert group to help us come up with an alternative that enables Maori to hold the title while allowing all New Zealanders the right to enjoy our wonderful beaches forever. Easy eh?


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