It does not look likely, but I hope National do decide to vote for the Maori Party’s bill to repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation passed by Labour and NZ First. In doing so, they should make very clear that they are voting for it at first reading only, and do not at all pledge support for beyond that.
it is worth recalling this entire problem was caused by Labour’s knee-jerk reaction to the Court of Appeal ruling. What the Government should have done is appealed to the Privy Council. They were about to abolish it so put politics ahead of good policy and refused to appeal, opting instead to legislate.
The court of appeal ruling set very narrow criteria for claims, yet left open the possibility that such a claim could go all the way through to full title, which could lead to previously open beaches (well up to high tide) closing.
Labour’s legislation basically did two things. One is it made it much easier for claims to be made against sections of the foreshore. That is why National and others opposed it. But it also legislated so such claims could not end up with a grant of full title. So it did potentially deprive some Iwi of their legal right to pursue such title.
In other worlds the legislation increased the breadth of potential claims, but decreased the depth they could go to. This left all sides unhappy.
Now a simple repeal is no longer much of an option, as the ability to appeal the court ruling has now passed, and there are public policy issues around access to the foreshore.
But by voting for the legislation to go to first reading, one might be able to then negotiate some sort of compromise where perhaps the legislation is repealed, yet there is a commitment that in the event of any title being granted, access will be maintained for all of the public.
That would be a real win-win and a true partnership.
There are some precedents to this. In the Ngai Tahu settlement they had Mt Cook returned to them, and then in turn they gifted it back to the public.
The NZ Herald editorial believes that you look duplicitous if you vote for a bill at the first reading and then change your vote at a later reading. I disagree. I think the public are quite capable of understanding you support a bill initially to allow it to be considered, but only carry on supporting it if you are satisfied with the bill as amended.Tags: National