Foreshore & Seabed History

My weekly Dispatch from St Johnnysburg is online at NBR. It is on the Foreshore & Seabed Act review, and some of the history of it.

I had previously mentioned that Helen Clark announced just four days after the Court of Appeal decision she would legislate. It turned out I was wrong. A search of the NZPA database, when researching my column, found Helen said this the day after the decision:

Helen Clark says decisions on such things are the preserve of Government policy and not the courts. …

Miss Clark says the Government will legislate if necessary to preserve the status quo.

So Helen in fact decided to legislate within 24 hours of the decision. She chose not to appeal it to the Privy Council as it was a matter for “Government policy” and not the courts.

I also detail some of my involvement in National’s Beaches for All campaign:

This placed National in a bind. What do we do? The decision was made that if Labour were promising to legislate, then National’s job was to hold them to account for that promise, and make sure they do. Then was born the “Beaches For All” campaign. I think I was the one who actually came up with the slogan. I recall a debate with an MP that technically the ruling did not apply to beaches, but just the foreshore below high water mark. My response was that at low tide, that is a beach – just a damp one …

I mentioned my involvement in the Beaches For All campaign a couple of months ago to a 2005 MP who is now a Cabinet Minister. He quipped “So you were one of the guilty ones”. I admitted guilt and said that I was of course just doing my job. His response (with a smile) was “Oh, yes just like Nuremberg”.

Feedback and comments, as usual, can be made at NBR.