INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZers - Owners Of The Foreshore and Seabed?

Published: Tue 16 Sep 2003 11:11 AM
“We the people of New Zealand” - owners of the foreshore and seabed?
By Gordon F Copeland
On Monday 18 August, the Government released its proposals on the foreshore and seabed of New Zealand. That night Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was on the Holmes show and announced to the nation that the Government’s proposal was to put the foreshore and seabed into a “public domain” so that no one would own it. Paul Holmes then asked her the question. “Why on earth are you doing that? Why don’t you do just do the straightforward thing and put the ownership of those assets with the Crown?”
I found the Prime Minister’s response to that question extremely interesting. She said that to do that would be to unnecessarily inflame division in this country, because the Maori people would regard ownership being placed in the Crown as a win for the Crown and a loss for Maori – or words to that effect.
That was an entirely new thought for me. I have been reflecting on that, and I have come to see that, from a Maori perspective, there are two parties to the Treaty. One of those parties is Maori, and the other is now referred to as “the Crown”.
Therefore, if the Crown were to assume ownership of the foreshore and seabed, since Maori see the Crown as the other party to the Treaty, I can see that, from their point of view, the Crown becomes the winner and they the loser. However I don’t find the Government’s “public domain” solution, satisfying either. Deep down, I say “no” - the foreshore and the seabed belong to all of us as citizens of this country.
I grew up on the beach in Tasman Bay. There was nothing between the beach and our property except the Queen’s Chain. It was part of my inheritance to walk and play on to that beach and I feel, with all other New Zealander, a sense of ownership. The way forward, for me, needs to reflect that reality. So why not put these assets (and the contiguous Queen’s Chain) into a title in the name “We, the people of New Zealand, as guardians in perpetuity for ourselves and future generations.” I have used the word “guardians” building on the Maori philosophy of kaitiaki. Indeed, the words on the title could be in both English and Maori to make that clear.
I think an ownership title expressed in that way that would give this whole debate a very, very different perspective. It would make all of us owners and guardians for all future generations, without distinction on the basis of race, creed, and arrival time in New Zealand, or any other criteria. As in the United States “We, the people” might resonate with every citizen of this country.
Is it time to ditch the notion of “the Crown” and move forward?

Next in New Zealand politics

Speech From The Throne
By: New Zealand Government
Law Commission Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations
By: Law Commission
New Zealand Government To Declare A Climate Emergency
By: New Zealand Government
Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management
By: New Zealand Government
Green Party Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team
By: Green Party
NZ Govt Considers Making House Prices Part Of RBNZ Mandate
By: XE Money Transfer
Green Party Respond To Government Review Of Housing Settings
By: Green Party
Rewriting The Rulebook On DNA In Criminal Investigations – Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
Government To Consider Recommendations On DNA Use In Criminal Investigations
By: New Zealand Government
Climate Change An Economic Issue; Critical For The Planet’s Future
By: Make Lemonade
Climate Emergency Declaration A Win But Needs Action
By: Greenpeace New Zealand
Declaration Of ‘Symbolic’ Climate Emergency
By: Extinction Rebellion
Minimum Wage Hike Isn’t What The Economy Needs
By: New Zealand National Party
Why Not $50 An Hour?
By: ACT New Zealand
Greens Commit To Ensuring Strong Oceans Protection This Term
By: Green Party
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media