Editorials 1 April 2010

The Herald approves of the balance in the foreshore & seabed proposal:

Division over the foreshore and seabed sparked a political upheaval, with Maori finally becoming an independent force in Parliament. Five years on, the Government, as part of its post-election agreement with the Maori Party, has revisited the issue. The outcome is an elegant compromise that has more of the attributes of a continuum than a radical response to the much-maligned Foreshore and Seabed Act. The proposal, outlined in a consultation document, will now be the subject of public submissions. It should attract widespread support.

Let’s hope.

The nub of the Government’s plan guarantees recognition of Maori customary rights while safeguarding all New Zealanders’ access to beaches. Central to this is the proposition that no one owns or can own the foreshore and seabed. The area would be called a public domain. Maori would again have the right to go to court to establish customary title, but not freehold title. This differs markedly from the 2004 act, which extinguished claims for customary title by vesting ownership in the Crown.

And the right to go to court is what it is all about, for many.

The Dom Post zeroes in on perks:

Finding the trough too high to get your snout all the way in? Don’t worry, the Speaker will be along with a saw shortly.

Want to treat your electorate committee but don’t want to dip into your own pocket? Don’t worry, just make sure you use the right slush fund.

Want to take the family on the train to Kaikoura for a spot of whale watching but think you’ll need a car while you’re there? Don’t worry, the taxpayer will pay for a driver to bring the ministerial self-drive down from Blenheim – and for another car and driver to take the first driver back.

Just so long as you are a minister of the Crown.

Ouch, very scathing.

And the ODT opines on tasers:

Last weekend Tasers, otherwise known as as “stun guns”, made their debut in the South Island.

Not before time, many would say, given the alarming frequency with which police men and women have been assaulted in recent months. …

Nor does there appear to be any constructive advice forthcoming on how, precisely, police are supposed to deal with drunk, drugged or otherwise crazed individuals who pose an evident risk to the life and health of law enforcement officers, but also to members of the community.

As has been suggested, the committee’s thinking on such matters appears to be devoid of any of the context and harsh reality that faces the police every day in this country.

Which is why we will ignore them.

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