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Court decision contradicts PM foreshore assurance

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2006 05:03 PM
Court decision contradicts PM’s foreshore assurance
The decision by the High Court to confirm title of 850 acres of mudflats north of Nelson contradicts the Prime Minister’s assurances that Maori would not be able to get freehold title to the foreshore and seabed, says National Party Conservation spokesman Nick Smith.
“The implications of this decision are quite serious for recreational fishers, hikers, kayakers and boat users.
“This is a popular area and the confirmation of private title to iwi will mean the public cannot go there without iwi consent.
“It is worrying that local iwi in claiming this victory say there are other cases around New Zealand where title is unclear, and where Maori will be able to get freehold rights over an area of beach or sea.
“The case came down to interpreting old and sometimes lost, contradictory survey records. The court erred in favour of iwi, saying that property rights in unclear situations should err on the side of the owner.
“The downside of this approach by the court, is that hundreds of people who have used this area recreationally will have their rights compromised.
“The claims and counter-claims over this area have resulted in ugly confrontations. I would urge residents to respect the decision of the court, even though I disagree with it.
“I sincerely hope the Crown will appeal this decision, so that people can continue to enjoy this magnificent part of Nelson.”
Ends

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