Changes to Seabed Bill protect Maori interests
Maori Caucus Media Statement
16 November 2004
The Foreshore and Seabed Bill as amended acknowledges the unique relationship Maori have with the coastline according to
Labour’s Maori caucus members.
Chair Mita Ririnui says Maori Caucus members have advocated strongly throughout the entire process for the recognition
of Maori customary interests and the right for Maori to have their day in court.
The High Court may grant a territorial customary rights order to Maori groups, which may result in the establishment of
a Foreshore and Seabed Reserve. For those not seeking a reserve status, the High Court will be able to direct them to
the Crown to discuss redress options.
"We believe the proposed amendments will recognise some of the most fundamental aspects that were raised during the
Select Committee process.
"No fee simple titles will be awarded to Maori groups which reflects the views of the majority of Maori that appeared
before the Select Committee," says Mita Ririnui.
"Maori caucus recognises that this Bill will not please the extremists. However we are confident that it caters to the
wishes of the majority of Maori who take a more pragmatic view in progressing our development as a people."
“The Resource Management Act is currently being reviewed and will be strengthened to recognise more effective
consultation with local Maori over coastal areas. Maori caucus believes this will provide stronger recognition of the
traditional association of whanau, hapu and iwi with the coast than the ancestral connection orders initially provided
for in the legislation.
“During the select committee process many submitters sought a longer conversation on the foreshore and seabed issue.
However Maori Caucus believes this would have stymied aquaculture development projects that many coastal iwi around the
country are exploring. As Maori caucus members representing a wide and diverse range of views we could not allow that to
"Maori caucus members have played an active role in the discussions on aquaculture, in setting aside 20 per cent of all
marine farming space for Maori interests. Therefore we believe it was important that this opportunity not languish for
another decade in much the same way as the Treaty of Waitangi Fishing allocation process did.
"Maori Caucus is satisfied the Bill provides for Maori interests and we wish to acknowledge all of those who took part
developing the legislation over the past 18 months," said Mita Ririnui.
Mita Ririnui, Parekura Horomia, Dover Samuels, Mahara Okeroa, Dave Hereora, Moana Mackey, John Tamihere