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Who’s the real clown Minister?

Media Release:

6 December 2010

Who’s the real clown Minister?

Childish insults and playground posturing by Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson will not convince New Zealanders that the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill is anything but a massive coastal land grab for Maori.

“The Minister’s recent comments that “he will not be beaten” by the Coastal Coalition, a grassroots organisation of dedicated volunteers which relies solely on public donations, shows just how desperate he is to stifle debate on the foreshore and seabed” said Coalition spokesman Dr Hugh Barr.

“The Minister has called us ‘clowns’ but I think we know who the real clowns are: a National Government so blinkered by the strident demands of its mates in the Maori Party it will do anything to appease them.”

“Asked to rebut our arguments in a national newspaper, the Minister was unable to. Instead, he resorts to spin by implying an Amendment to the Bill guaranteeing free public access to the coast was something he had somehow ‘promoted’,” Dr Barr said.

“The truth is the Bill left that out and he was embarrassed into having to support the Amendment when Act Party leader Rodney Hide raised the issue.”

The Coalition stands by every one of its arguments, including that this Bill will:

• Remove Crown (that is, you and me) ownership of the seabed and foreshore and put it up for grabs by any iwi group that claims a customary interest

• Allow iwi to lay claim for customary title and have it granted by Chris Finlayson - in secret and without any right by anyone to an appeal

• Allow iwi to claim customary title in areas where they own no adjoining land

• Allow the creation of wahi tapu areas where the public can be banned and fined without debate

• Allow iwi to bypass the Resource Management Act and veto and extract payment for everything that happens on their stretch of coast

Among others, the Coastal Coalition includes former MP Dr Muriel Newman, who runs the New Zealand Centre for Political Research and David Round, a Canterbury University law lecturer and author who feels passionately about New Zealand’s great outdoors.


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