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Citizens Initiated Referendum over Marine & Coastal Area Act

24 March 2011

Media Release

Citizens Initiated Referendum over Marine & Coastal Area Act

The Coastal Coalition has responded to the passing of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill through its final stages in Parliament, by announcing it will launch a Citizen's Initiated Referendum to repeal the new Act.

Dr Hugh Barr and Dr Muriel Newman, joint Coastal Coalition spokespeople said, "We have decided to proceed with the referendum because the majority of New Zealanders are strongly opposed to the Bill. Kiwis want to be treated as one people not two.

"While most people agree with the principle of settling outstanding historical Treaty injustices, they believe that repealing public ownership of the foreshore and seabed - so it can be privatised and gifted to Maori - is a step too far.

"The public believed the Prime Minister when he promised that, if the new law did not receive popular support, he would not push it through. The Marine and Coastal Area Bill has almost no public support - over 95 percent of submitters were opposed. Yet today the Prime Minister is pushing it through. He has broken his promise and betrayed the New Zealand public.

"The Coastal Coalition's campaign to oppose the Marine and Coastal Area Bill has been supported by tens of thousands of New Zealanders from all walks of life, all ethnic groups and all political persuasions. This Referendum will be launched on their behalf and will give all New Zealanders a chance to say that they do not want a bar of this new law.

"The Coastal Coalition believes all people should be treated equally under the law and that New Zealand should be one country not two. We strongly oppose this law change. We look forward to giving New Zealanders a chance to have their say on this divisive legislation", Dr Barr and Dr Newman said.


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