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Iwi Views on Foreshore and Seabed Put to UN Forum

MEDIA RELEASE – 1 AUGUST 2007

Iwi Views on Foreshore and Seabed Put to U.N. Forum

The Treaty Tribes Coalition is confident a U.N. Committee on eliminating racial discrimination will make recommendations against the Government’s Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Members of the Coalition, which represents Hauraki, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Ngai Tahu, along with the Te Whanau a Apanui, the Maori Party and Non-Government Organisations from Aotearoa, presented their views to the Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, early this morning (New Zealand time).

Ngahiwi Tomoana, the Chairman of Ngati Kahungunu, said the Maori representatives briefed the committee about Maori concerns over the New Zealand Government’s actions regarding customary title to the foreshore and seabed. “We have successfully assisted the Committee to identify key issues affecting Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Reo Maori was spoken in the UN and our karanga was heard,” Mr Tomoana said.

The Committee is made up of world renowned experts, and is the specialist body of the United Nations on preventing racial discrimination and promoting racial equality. In 2005, it found the Foreshore and Seabed Act to discriminate against Maori.

The New Zealand Government’s presentation to the committee followed the presentation from Treaty Tribes and other groups.

Mr Tomoana said that when the Committee began to examine New Zealand, members urged the Government to recognise that special measures targeting Maori and other ethnic communities were not pampering to Maori, rather they were part of the duty of the State to ensure equality.

“We expect the committee will be critical of New Zealand’s failure to follow their recommendations in 2005. It will be up to the public of New Zealand to hold them to account and see that they do follow-up on the recommendations,” he said.

The Committee also called the Government to account on:

- Responses to the Committee’s recommendation that the Foreshore and Seabed Act be amended;

- The legal status and political treatment of the Treaty of Waitangi;

- The adequacy of Treaty settlements as redress for historical wrongs, on the basis that Treaty settlements amount to approximately 1-2% of the actual loss suffered by Maori;

- The recent review of programmes targeted to Maori, and appeared concerned that programmes were being reduced rather than strengthened.

The Committee will continue its examination of New Zealand on Thursday night (NZ time), and will issue its findings and recommendations in mid August.


ENDS

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