The Act Party has suffered more than its share of self-inflicted wounds lately but it deserves credit for a valuable legislative intervention last week. At Act’s behest, the Government has agreed to write a clause into the foreshore and seabed bill now before Parliament that will expressly make it unlawful to charge for access to a beach.
The Government was previously content with Attorney- General Chris Finlayson’s view that charging would be illegal because the bill would not give iwi any power to do so. Act pressed for a specific prohibition that would leave no room for uncertainty among members of the public and members of tribes awarded customary title.
And having the requirement explicit rather than implicit is a good thing.