BIG NEWS

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Foreshore and seabed law should be scrapped


No surprise. The ministerial review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act found the legislation to be deficient in that it was biased against Maori and failed to recognise property rights. The report is 160-odd pages and I`ll comment on it after I have read it. The Government will take a couple of months to formally respond, no doubt, but Minister Findlayson has said that public access to the beaches is not going to be an issue. Never should have been. Even if Maori customary title was to convert into freehold title, parts of the Foreshore and Seabed would not have to come under Maori control, and public access to beaches would never be restricted. As Tariana Turia has said:
Public access could have been protected previous to this legislation though using the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act and the RMA. We didn’t need to have a piece of legislation that took away the customary rights of hapu to enable people to have those access rights – they are there in law and New Zealanders have right of navigation and access to all areas of the beach.
The press conference with leaders of the Maori Party is here.

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