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Bigger than the Foreshore And Seabed

Bigger than the Foreshore And Seabed


Sunday 14th September 2014


“Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal” states MANA Movement Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes.

“I have been approached by multiple sources within the legal system who have expressed huge concern and alarm that the Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court, Wilson Issac, has not had his judicial warrant extended for an indefinite period. This news comes after several Maori judicial appointments have not been permanent appointments but rather only under a fixed-term temporary warrant of one year. This type of judicial appointing is unheard of within New Zealand”.

“Following these distressing reports I have several questions for the current Government:

1. Do they foresee a long-term future for the Maori Land Court?

2. Do they believe that the Waitangi Tribunal should continue to exist after the conclusion of historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements?

3. Why has it become commonplace to appoint Maori judges on temporary warrants rather than the usual indefinite warrants that historically have been issued?

4. What are implications for an already under-resourced Waitangi Tribunal on contemporary claims like the ownership of water and the Maori Land Court back log of cases on who owns the foreshore and seabed?

5. Is the plan to have Maori Land Court functions transferred to LINZ and adjudication functions to another Court?

“I have long suspected that this Government was following the Don Brash Playbook where they plan to get rid of anything Maori. They don’t believe in an electoral roll for Maori and want the seats abolished by the end of this year and they haven’t made any secret of their desire to wind-back the Waitangi Tribunal, so why would they believe in a Court for Maori? This week the Maori Party released their justice policy; I didn't notice any reference to the future role of the Maori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal. That must be because they know that their National Party partners are going to close them down”.

“In 2005 the New Zealand Government stripped Maori of their rights to have their claims heard to the foreshore and seabed by the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal released a damming report into the actions of the Crown. Now it would seem that this Government is going to remove the Maori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal altogether. If the Government thought that the 2005 Foreshore and Seabed protests were large, then they haven’t seen anything yet if they proceed with putting an end to both the Maori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal".

ENDS

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