As Maori Party leaders hail the new foreshore and seabed legislation as a victory for their party, one of their MPs says justice hasn’t been delivered.
Hone Harawira said tonight he was “gutted” because the Government didn’t agree to give Maori title to the foreshore and seabed. …
“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that the prime minister wasn’t bold enough to do the right thing and I’m disappointed he chose to pander to the rednecks rather than give Maori the justice we deserve.”
Mr Harawira said two Maori demands had been met — repeal of the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act and restoration of Maori access to the courts to test claims to customary rights and title.
“But what Maori were really after was Maori title,” he said.
This indicates very well how difficult the Government’s job was, and the gulf of expectations between what some Maori wanted, and what the Government was offering.
Hone Harawira has a world view that Maori own the foreshore and seabed – always have and always will, and the only problem is the Crown turned up and took it off them.
This is a long long way from what the Court of Appeal found. The Court of Appeal found that an iwi or hapu could make a claim for a discrete portion of the foreshore and seabed if they could prove unbroken customary usage from 1840 to the present day. They stressed this was a high threshold to meet.
So getting an agreement in the face of such diverging views, is no small achievement. It’s one Labour tried to do, but failed at.