Reaction to Foreshore & Seabed Report

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

It is still early days and things could yet unravel over the detail.

But if politics is the art of the possible, then Finlayson’s and Sharples’ independent panel’s revisiting of the vexed question of ownership of the foreshore and seabed lays the foundations for achieving the seemingly impossible – an enduring cure for a longstanding political headache.

The panel’s review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act – required under National’s confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party – has set solid benchmarks within which the two parties can negotiate the provisions of legislation to replace the law.

Good faith negotiations is preferable to unilateral retrospective legislation.

The NZ Herald editorial:

Six years does not seem a long time in the sweep of history yet it is time enough for a change in the political climate. The recommendation the Government received yesterday to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act seems unlikely to arouse the heat and fear that greeted the Court of Appeal’s 2003 ruling on Maori customary claims. Public opinion is probably no less committed now than it was then to the principle that public access to coastal attractions must not be compromised. But the constant assurances of claimants that access is not at risk appear to have become generally accepted.

And it is helpful the panel has stressed that at length.

writes in the Dom Post:

Politically, the report is a triumph for Tariana Turia and the Maori Party, and the involvement of National in any deal should help limit any Pakeha backlash.

(It is often easier for a party to make radical changes outside its traditional ideological envelope. Labour was able to go much further with privatisation and free-market reforms in the 1980s, before the public rebelled, than National ever could. National was able to get the Treaty settlement process steaming ahead under Sir Douglas Graham in a way that might have raised suspicion if Labour had been in the driving seat.)

Time – and other more pressing issues, such as the economic crisis – have helped put the debate into context.

It is just such a shame for us as a nation that a court ruling which found that, in some rare cases, iwi and hapu could have a set of residual customary rights amounting to freehold title could ever have been allowed to generate so much angst – and racial and political heat – as this one did. The two basic principles – that legal rights should not be unfairly seized and that access to the beaches and freedom of navigation would remain a general right – should have been indisputable.

Colin Espiner blogs:

I’ve just had a very quick read through the Ministerial Review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, which has been released under embargo until 3pm.

It’s three volumes long and runs to hundreds of pages, but in a nutshell what is says is this: the Foreshore and Seabed Act is discriminatory to Maori and should be repealed.

Hardly a surprise, given the panel was hand-picked to provide just such a judgment by the Maori Party – indeed, Pita Sharples threatened to sack it if it didn’t come back with such a finding.

The panel is savage about the Foreshore and Seabed Act, calling it “simply wrong in principle and approach”, discriminatory, and indeed so unfair to Maori that it considers that a Crown apology is necessary.

I have a smile on my face as I think of the look on all the Labour MPs faces as John Key gets up and apologises on behalf of the Crown to Maori – not for something done 150 years ago, but for the actions of Helen Clark’s Government earlier this decade.

The panel recommends a national settlement that gives Maori customary title to the foreshore and seabed, alongside specific usage and access rights to local iwi depending on their claim. It says some form of public right to access and navigation also needs to be written in.

It says that in the meantime, an interim act of Parliament should be passed repealing the legislation, setting up the process for the new system, recognising both Maori title and public access issues, and allowing the Crown to hold legal title until the whole thing is settled.

It’s not a bad compromise, I have to say, and I’m actually pleasantly surprised. I’ve said before that a return to court could be a nightmare for all sides, and the whole thing would drag on for years.

The Government’s response in August will be interesting. Also interesting will be Labour’s response. Phil Goff has, to his credit, been supportive. However I hear one of his senior colleagues has been around the gallery trying to whip up reaction against the report. I wonder if Goff knows of this?

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32 Responses to “Reaction to Foreshore & Seabed Report”

  1. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    The one great big unanswered question is “Why do mouldy want the title and waht will they do with it?”

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  2. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Wise words Pita Sharples and co shoud heed.

    Why not impose a moral statute of limitations on historical wrongs?

    If world opinion, or some substantial portion of it, took the view that victimhood isn’t transferable to subsequent generations, humanity almost certainly would benefit. Nationalists and other demagogues would find it harder to fan centuries-old resentments; more to the point, individuals who have been encouraged to adopt an irredentist, cargo-cult mentality toward the past would have to get on with their lives. Blaming others rarely contributes to constructive engagement with the world, whether the blamers are individuals or societies.

    http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=21676

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  3. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    An excellent post from Andrew Geddis over on Pundit regarding the Foreshore and Seabed saga:

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-foreshore-and-seabed-review-winners-and-losers#comments

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  4. pete (416 comments) says:

    I have a smile on my face as I think of the look on all the Labour MPs faces as John Key gets up and apologises on behalf of the Crown to Maori

    Labour have said they will “act constructively”. It’s much easier to do the right thing when your opponents aren’t actively courting the racist vote.

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  5. whalehunter (479 comments) says:

    sooner or later the ‘tribes’ are going to get a go a writing a constitution.

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  6. Fletch (6,408 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, but this whole foreshore and seabed this just p*sses me off. NO ONE should be able to own the foreshore and seabed – if you really think about it the whole idea is preposterous. I’m sure they are laughing at us overseas. I know that there were some historical injustices done to Maori that have to be righted but this continual asking for this choice bit of land here and this river there is just wrong. There was the recent so-called Treelords deal, then in January Maori wanted the airspace above their Marae in Rototua, then the Waikato river claim.

    Is it ever going to end???

    Sorry again, but I think the Govt is well being taken advantage of and afraid to put their foot down for fear of upsetting Maori. That bit of paper (the Treaty) has been an excuse for the asking of a great deal, and I’m afraid that greed comes into it.

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  7. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    looks like another post att5acked by the twitiots.

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  8. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    DPF – can you please sort out all of these ‘Tweets’…

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  9. David Farrar (1,899 comments) says:

    I am trying to, but not sure what has suddenly caused the problem.

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  10. trout (939 comments) says:

    As usual the devil is in the detail. Public access is guaranteed it is said; I believe this is promoted to assuage concerns while the real effort goes in to establishing legal ownership by Maori of foreshore and seabed. From some quarters it is said that ownership will only be transferred to maori where customary useage can be established. But Maori have other ideas; Ranginui Walker believes that the WHOLE of the NZ coastline will be divided amongst Iwi. What he anticipates is that Maori will have veto rights over any development of the foreshore and will charge rents for any existing and future development. As is the present case with Harbour boards, Navy etc. they will of course be able to restrict public access to the foreshore and will exercise this right. We are naive to believe that what in the past may have been some benign right to collect shellfish is not going to be updated so that Maori incorporations can fully exploit ownership rights of very valuable land. When I see the smile on the face of Tania Turia I see the cat that got the cream. It is to be hoped the Nats have a strategy and are not just taking a ‘suck and see’ approach. Rivers will be the next target.

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  11. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Two points if I may.

    1. Does anyone know whether Bro. Key is going to hand over the whole of the economic zone seabed to Maori, or is it just foreshore to the low-water line?

    2. “Not1tocomment often” in his/her 137th post at 1.47 points to what he/she describes as an excellent post by Adrew Geddis at Pundit. Note that Pundit also gives a forum to ratbag Nicky Hager, and the Geddis article is predictable brown wash.

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  12. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    “Wise words Pita Sharples and co shoud heed.

    Why not impose a moral statute of limitations on historical wrongs?”

    Didnt know that 6 years is considered historical these days.

    “I’m sorry, but this whole foreshore and seabed this just p*sses me off. NO ONE should be able to own the foreshore and seabed – if you really think about it the whole idea is preposterous. I’m sure they are laughing at us overseas”

    Why? why is it more propostious than owning any other bit of land?

    This was, and always has been about the commerical rights of the foreshore for shellfish farming and the like.

    ” I know that there were some historical injustices done to Maori ”

    Some is an interesting word to use in that sentence. Some sort of infers small, which were all limited to say 120 years ago. The Maori land wars, which were started by some of our ancestors – others I am sure are more recent generations (ignoring the wars in northland), not Maori, happened that long ago, but then again most of the Waikato and large parts of the rest of the country were confiscated, even at times from Maori who supposedly fought for the crown. Then there was the repetive pieces of legislation passed which sole purpose was for land to be confiscated, and the supposed taking of land for world war purposes and then after not needing it selling it, turning it into the likes of a golf course.

    This piece of “paper” you call it was an agreement. Like a contact. Say I buy your house of you, and then decide not to pay, would you be pissed, I imagine so. Would you be even more pissed if I could you greedy for wanting to be paid, yip.

    “and I’m afraid that greed comes into it.”

    I agree, but I think you missed the point with that statement. The source of that greed, i.e. those who did the wrong and stole land, not those who are the decendants of who it was taken from.

    And besides this injustice happened, what 6 years ago, wow so in the past.

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  13. peterquixote (231 comments) says:

    the new law about foreshore will keep PM John Key NZ Nat
    in command for a decade,
    answer here Tim Selwyn,

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  14. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Further to Trout at 2.41:

    Ranginui Walker thus indicates that our ports will have to pay a rent to local iwi. This will inevitably be added to cost of exporting and to imported goods. That means all citizens, particularly the non-Maori majority, will pay a tax to the Maori minority on just about all goods consumed, and exporters will pay a tax to Maori.

    Perhaps a new political group will rise to organise some sort of tax-tea dumping in the harbours, Boston style.

    In the meantime, perhaps the best defence would be to adopt the strategy of the Bantu and Zulu in South Africa and first target (politically in our case, or course) the non-Maori who are selling out the non-Maori majority. Needless to say I advocate political dumping and not the necklace punishment used in South Africa.

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  15. Fletch (6,408 comments) says:

    This piece of “paper” you call it was an agreement. Like a contact. Say I buy your house of you, and then decide not to pay, would you be pissed, I imagine so. Would you be even more pissed if I could you greedy for wanting to be paid, yip.

    Yes, well…it’s seems like more a case of I buy your house off you in Otara, and decide not to pay. Now you want to own somebody else’s house in Remuera instead. Oh, and isn’t that a nice park beside it – I think I’ll ask for that, too. Funny how there doesn’t seem to be any claims for shitty land. It’s all the nice, green verdant stuff that’s worth a lot of money.

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  16. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    What frustrates me about this is that the problem with the Foreshore and Seabed Act is that it prevented people from being able to take a case to court because the government did not want to risk that case being decided against their interests. It violated due process.

    The Act should be repealed so that due process is restored, so that Ngati Apa and the other tribes who sought to take their case to court can.

    I am less comfortable with the case being settled as I think the argument for and against its merits are very complex and should be heard by a court.

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  17. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Am concerned taking the broader issues as perceived by the “silent National majority” to Key’s aspirations towards Maori.

    His role towards Maori since the Election has been admirable, but is it now seen to be going overboard if he gives way to Maori seats, as of right, in the greater Auckland City as well. I am not convinced that the “silent majority” will see it too well.

    National and Auckland are fickle as may well be seen at the next election. I would urge CAUTION on matters Maori – give an inch and miles are perceived by stealth – look at the Forest settlement just signed – KEEP OUT now outdoor recreationers, but we will discuss koha as we perceive it!

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  18. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    What I want to know is whats going to happen the first time a bunch of the disgruntled ones put up a barrier and either refuse access or demand a payment or koha etc.

    Will Her Majestys Constabulary react with the same haste as it would if any other racial group took the same action or will it stand silent.

    Come on big Howie froint up and answer the questions on many citizens lips

    Well what will you do?

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  19. big bruv (13,929 comments) says:

    gd

    I am not a violent man but I will not be stopped by any group of people should I wish to swim or go fishing, a bit part of me says “bring it on”.

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  20. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    gd – why are you asking ‘Howie’ a public servant, to front up and discuss a law that doesn’t exist?

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  21. david (2,557 comments) says:

    BTW, who exactly made Pita Sharples the representative of all Moari and Iwi and Hapu in a negotiating capacity.
    This is going to take years and the first step will have to be setting up the euivalent of teh CNIFT in order to provide the cashflow to service the meeting needs of the Iwi and the hapu and the chiefs and their lawyers and their negotiators and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
    Hah, $20million for meetings over the forest settlement aint nothing compared to the coastline.
    Come one come all, crayfish and paua patties tonight folks. No catch limits need apply.

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  22. george (388 comments) says:

    Which senior Labour MP are you talking about? Do you mean Mallard? I saw him in deep conversation with some gallery journos in Copperfields this morning.

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  23. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    i say give the maoris their seabed/foreshore. Privatise all such land in new zealand. Remove the queens chain (not that it really exists).

    Privatise the fishing rights too. Just give it back to the maori, and allow them to sell it if they like. Given maori business practises , it will likely end up in the hands of others anyways.

    However, also cancel affirmative action in this country. Cancel all maori special priviledges. Cancel special maori benefits. Cancel maori education scholarships and lower Univeristy entrance qualifying critera.

    Treat Maori exactly like any other race. Cancel the maori affairs department. They can pay for their own with their new found wealth.

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  24. Nice (1 comment) says:

    What exactly are the Maori party hoping will be the end result of all this? Is it about Maori being recongnised as being the gaurdians of the foreshore and seabed, is it about money, or something else?

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  25. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    TROUT sums up the likely out come. Sure there will be free access to popular beaches, but I seem to recall this case arose out of a Maori tribe at the top of the South Island enviously eyeing the mussel farms in the Marlborough Sounds and figuring out how they could muscle in on the proceeds…I expect claims to the Harbour Board Properties, to the oil and Gas extraction areas and everywhere there is a dollar to be extracted. It will be a continuing bonanza for lawyers. The Government had little option if they wanted to remain in government under this crazy MMP system in which the ruling party will always be hostage to the tyranny of the minority.

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  26. hannity (152 comments) says:

    gd and big bruv its already happening.farmers all over the country are doing that already.

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  27. bringbackthebiff (99 comments) says:

    You know the more i read and think about this, I reach only one conclusion. No matter what the outcome, I like all other free thinking kiwi’s no matter what their background should resolve to enjoy any beach in our beautiful country at any time of our choosing. I thought that was part of kiwi life.

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  28. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Some of the local Maori all ready argue over who controls what part of the coast line. I know many are divided on most issues concerning land and it’s administration. Like any other section of society Maori are prone to greed. This issue will never be settled around here as they can’t make a decision without a few hundred hui. It’s a hopeless situation that will go on for eternity.

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  29. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    The only good thing the imitation commies did in nine years and now this left wing government is going to reverse it and carry on Graham’s give Maori the lot policy.

    How to get something for nothing in New Zealand; Pretend your a nigger (or have been treated as one), claim everything that doesn’t move.

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  30. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    The second paragraph of MT_Tinman’s 7.21pm post is so over the top MT_Tinman has to be an agent provocateur from the Treaty Settlements camp.

    Why use that that term except as a sly attempt to discredit those who oppose the treaty settlements scramble? The word has some vile connotations.

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  31. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    It is dissapointing to see that most people’s approach to this issue is from the perspective of “how’s it going to affect me?” The fact that civil liberties were violated with the passage of this Act and may be again if National proceed with settling out of court is something few seem to care about. Due process is one of the fundamental foundations of a just and free society and we must oppose its violation in all forms even if our personal interests are at stake.

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  32. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    KANE’S COMMENT:

    The Maori Party say most New Zealanders want to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
    The Act that preserves the foreshore and seabed in perpetuity as the common heritage of all New Zealanders.
    They say it takes away their customary rights and ownership of the Seabed and Foreshore.
    The Act also takes away their right to go to court.
    If we like it or not the Maori Party is right. Under the Treaty of Waitangi the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession.
    Maori have never desired the wish for their Seabed and Foreshore rights to be given away.
    The Seabed and Foreshore Act stole it from them. Then preserved the Foreshore and Seabed in perpetuity as common heritage of all New Zealanders. By doing so the Labour Government broke the Treaty of Waitangi Queens guarantee to Maori of full exclusive and undisturbed possession.
    If we don’t like the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications then maybe we should consider a written constitution for all New Zealanders.

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