INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt delays opened door to worst case scenario

Published: Fri 12 Mar 2004 10:42 AM
Govt delays opened door to worst case scenario
"Government paralysis on the foreshore and seabed legislation has opened the door to the worst case scenario for all New Zealanders," says National Party Treaty of Waitangi and Constitutional Issues spokesman Wayne Mapp.
He's referring to reports today that suggest a Maori Land Court Judge has cleared the way for a big Maori coastal claim to go ahead, which in turn could lead to the granting of freehold title over hundreds of kilometres of coastline.
"The Government's inability to make a quick decision on this is clearly to blame.
"Once the door has been opened, it will be hard to close again," says Dr Mapp.
"The Maori Land Court is already planning two more hearings, in Hawera and Wanganui.
"The Government should deliver on the promise to 'fast-track' legislation if the Maori Land Court heard cases in the interim.
"For the past ten months Labour could have moved at any time to stop this happening, by doing what Margaret Wilson and Helen Clark initially said they would do, confirming Crown title.
"In a bid to hold off the threat of freehold title being granted over the foreshore in the short term, the Government could have also appealed the Ngati Apa Court of Appeal ruling to the Privy Council. But Labour's ideologically driven push for a Supreme Court has also denied New Zealanders that opportunity," says Dr Mapp.

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