extracts clearly expose the reality of institutional racism. It is also
significant that this issue was sparked by the entrenched
racist attitudes of the Marlborough District Council. See
Pakeha government policy and action regarding this issue will have implications for the Atmospheric claim. If it decides to unilaterally declare itself owner of the F&S, as predicted, the inevitable consequence will be racial division. The retaliatory options available to alienated Tangata Whenua are considerable and should not be dismissed or underestimated.
One thing is certain, 2004 will be a VERY interesting year. (08 August, 2003)
1. TWM's "Letter to Helen" (19 May, 2003)
2. Waitangi Tribunal report on Foreshore-Seabed (08 March, 2004)
3. Constitutional Crisis Over Foreshore-Seabed In Aotearoa (02 July, 2004)
4. UN and Foreshore-Seabed Bill (04 May, 2004)
5. Stealing Indigenous Resources - 2004. Why Pakeha want the Foreshore-Seabed
6. Foreshore-Seabed Bill enacted (19 Nov, 2004)
7. UN-Maori hui begins at Parihaka (19 Nov, 2005)
8. After the Foreshore-Seabed theft by Pakeha govt (29 Dec, 2004)
9. More links on Foreshore-Seabed.
Foreshore decision 'narrow' - PM
NZCity News 20 June 2003
The landmark Court of Appeal decision giving the Maori Land Court the right to rule on seabed and foreshore claims has been described by the Prime Minister as' very narrow and technical'. Helen Clark says decisions on such things are the preserve of Government policy and not the courts. Miss Clark says the Government will legislate if necessary to preserve the status quo.
NZCity News 21 June 2003
The seven iwi who are interested in owning seabeds and foreshores in the Marlborough Sounds are
disappointed with the Prime Minister's reaction. The group has won the right to contest titles for these areas in the Maori Land Court. But Helen Clark has indicated she will legislate to preserve the Government's right to make such decisions. The iwis' lawyer, Grant Powell, says he hopes the comment is 'off the cuff' as the Government has given assurances the courts are capable of interpreting the law. Grant Powell says the crown has no reason to believe the ruling is unjust, and claims the Prime Minister is not taking into account the rule of law.
Clark rejects claims of kneejerk reaction to Maori rights
NZ Herald 24.06.2003
The Government announced yesterday it would legislate to clear up any doubt that the coastline was held by the crown for all New Zealanders. It was "certainly not" a kneejerk reaction to the court ruling, Miss Clark told reporters today. Maori anger was immediate, with claims the move was made to circumvent the legal process. Tauranga Maori today threatened international court action if the Government extinguished a long-standing claim to customary title of the seabed and foreshore of Tauranga Harbour. Waitangi Fisheries commissioner Maui Solomon said it was contradictory to say the Crown owned the foreshore, but Maori customary rights were still preserved.
Goverment denies Maori fair trial - Jackson
NZCity News 24 June 2003
Lawyer Moana Jackson says the government has denied Maori the right to a fair trial and that will create a festering sore. Mr Jackson says without title Maori would still have to ask the landlord before exercising any rights.
Iwi considers legal action on seabed decision
STUFF 25 June 2003
Shocked and angry Top of the South Maori will be getting legal advice on their options after a Government move to "stomp all over" their claims to the foreshore and seabed, iwi spokesman John Mitchell said today.
Maori rush to claim foreshore
NZ Herald 30.07.2003
Maori groups have lodged claims for most of the east coast of the North Island since the Court of Appeal opened up the possibility of such claims on June 19.
Academic criticises lack of foreshore consultation
STUFF Monday, 30 June 2003
The Government's handling of the foreshore and seabed controversy has been criticised by Victoria University dean of law Matthew Palmer. The Government had an obligation to consult with Maori and to take account of Maori views, he said yesterday. However, that did not appear to have occurred before Attorney-General Margaret Wilson announced last week that the Government would legislate to block a Maori claim for the Marlborough Sounds by asserting public ownership of the coastline. The tone of the statement gave Maori legitimate cause to believe the Government was setting out to confiscate a property right, he said.
Treaty does not stop at water's edge
NZ Herald Tuesday July 01, 2003
Comment by JOCK BROOKFIELD (professor emeritus at Auckland University, is the author of Waitangi and Indigenous Rights)
A Herald editorial headlined Stealthy treaty extension had to be blocked over-reacted somewhat in its alarm at the Court of Appeal's decision in the Marlborough Sounds case, in which the court recognised the possibility of Maori customary title in land below high-water mark (the foreshore and the seabed). If the court's decision is an extension of the Treaty of Waitangi, the treaty itself, so to speak, stopped at high-water mark. This, of course, cannot be so. Bays, harbours and estuaries, as well as the foreshore, were part of the original colony and the treaty applied to them as to the rest of the country. As for the territorial sea beyond (originally three miles but now 12), there is no reason why it does not apply also to that and the underlying bed. In any case, the treaty was not, as the editorial suggested, the basis for the court's decision. But the same common law recognises the customary property rights (or customary title) of Maori as the aboriginal people of the country. The Appeal Court has merely affirmed that, where Maori customary title is claimed in parts of the foreshore or seabed, the Maori Land Court has the same power to investigate the claim as it has in respect of dry land and the beds of lakes and fresh water rivers. So both the treaty and the common law apply to the land, whether under water or not. But it is the common law that is the basis for the successful appeal in the Sounds case. The treaty is still important though, because its principles, as well as recognising Maori property rights, require that Maori be at least fully consulted about proposed legislation that would affect such rights.
That was certainly so in regard to customary property rights. These are now, properly and in accordance with the rule of law, being reasserted over land below high water mark in the Marlborough Sounds. The way should be left clear for the Maori Land Court, adequately empowered, to determine those rights in this and any other case that arises.
Pakeha/Tauiwi and Maori foreshore/seabed rights
Scoop 8 July 2003
As a collective of young Pakeha/Tauiwi we find the recent moves by the government to extinguish Maori customary title to the seabed and foreshore a disgusting display of arrogance. It is disturbing that in 2003 the government is attempting the confiscation of title. This is akin to past power abuses shown during the land grabs of the 1800s and 1900s; misconduct that has only recently begun to be addressed. Indigenous customary title has always existed and is recognised by common law and affirmed by the Treaty of Waitangi... We find it more than disappointing that any progress on righting the imbalance and injustice between Maori and Tauiwi relationships, caused primarily by ignoring the Treaty, has been threatened by this huge step backwards. The actions of the government will increase divisions and are based on an assumption of fear - fear that Maori will deny access to 'the public'. There are numerous examples of existing customary title where Iwi have not denied access... We support Iwi in their calls for recognition of their customary title to be heard before the court, we support the decisions of the Maori Land Court and Court of Appeal and ask the government to use the power and obligation they have to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi, common law and justice.
arc Wellington [arc (Aotearoa Reality Check) is a national network of young Pakeha/Tauiwi people in support of Tino Rangatiratanga]
Seabed appeal: Privy Council not an option for Government
NZ Herald Wednesday July 09, 2003
The Cabinet has rejected the option of pursuing an appeal to the Privy Council on the foreshore and seabed case. The Government, after initially saying it would assert the Crown's ownership in law, is now seeking a negotiated political settlement with Maori. Appealing to the Privy Council would have created political problems: the Government is promoting legislation to abolish appeals to the Privy Council.
Maori being short-changed, claims expert
NZ Herald 26.07.2003
Iwi are being forced to accept treaty settlements worth much less than they are owed, making challenges to the fairness of the process likely, says a leading Maori figure. Professor Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University's Maori studies department, said a Waitangi Tribunal claim against the settlement process was a realistic possibility. A special report in the Weekend Herald last week showed $581 million had been paid out so far to Maori settling grievances with the Crown.
She worked out a formula using the 1995 deal in which Pakeha landowner Alan Titford received $3.25 million in compensation for the 94 acres of Far North farmland taken off him to return to Maori. Based on that, she said, the settlements paid out so far were 0.06 per cent of what they were worth. Ngai Tahu's $170 million was 0.01 per cent of $1192 billion they would have got under Professor Mutu's formula, and Tainui's $170 million was 0.4 per cent.
"I think I can only put it down to that there is a deeply embedded racism..."
"I don't use the term racism loosely. Racism is the powerful exercising control against the powerless and depriving them of resources that are rightfully theirs." Processes where iwi were expected to negotiate on Crown terms and use Pakeha methods to prove they were entitled to negotiate a settlement - even when the Waitangi Tribunal had already upheld their grievances. "I wonder what Pakeha would do if they were made to do this sort of thing. You prove conclusively that you've been robbed and then you go through years of trying to prove you have a right to talk to the Crown."
Most of coast locked up says Tamihere
NZ Herald 26.07.2003
More than half of New Zealand's beaches are effectively held in private ownership because they are landlocked and therefore difficult to access, says Land Information Minister John Tamihere. Mr Tamihere said the revelation shed a different light on fears about Maori seeking ownership of the foreshore and seabed.
Cullen says Nats stirring racial hatred
nzoom Jul 29, 2003
The Deputy Prime Minister is accusing the opposition of fanning racial hatred by stirring up sentiment over Maori claims to the foreshore and seabed. The seabed foreshore row is becoming a sore point for the government - it has endured protests, opposition from its own Maori MPs, increasing pressure from National and political ally United Future also joined the attack.Michael Cullen has hit back - with National his main target. [...]
Protest calls for end to claims on foreshore
NZ Herald Tuesday July 29, 2003
More than 500 people took to the main street of Nelson yesterday in protest over the issue of Maori claims to the foreshore and seabed. Carrying placards saying "Whites have rights too", "When do we stop giving?" and "One law for all New Zealanders", the march left Wakatu Square shortly after noon. Protesters chanted "Foreshores for all" as they marched to the Church Steps, where they heard speeches from organisers United Future leader Peter Dunne and Nelson National MP Nick Smith.
STUFF 02 August 2003
Offering iwi guardianship in a bid to settle ownership of the seabed and foreshore would not be good enough, Te Tau Ihu iwi spokesman John Mitchell says. Dr Mitchell said Te Tau Ihu iwi were still waiting to talk with the Government about the issue, following a June Court of Appeal decision which granted Maori the right to lodge claims to seabed and foreshore to the Maori Land Court. The Solicitor-General's office has refused to comment on why it has not responded to a request from iwi for a meeting to be organised with government ministers.
Third of foreshore off-limits
NZ Herald Saturday August 02, 2003
The public has no right to stroll along more than a third of New Zealand's beaches, and large chunks of the foreshore are already held in private ownership. This is revealed in two reports prepared for the Government. The reports debunk myths about the public's rights to enjoy the land next to most lakes, rivers and the sea which have triggered emotional reactions to the foreshore and seabed issue. Mr Tamihere accused Mr English of misleading the public. He said the Opposition leader had whipped up emotion and was now backtracking "disgracefully".
New wave of Maori foreshore claims
STUFF 04 August 2003
Maori claims on coastal areas have swollen to cover five million hectares since a Court of Appeal ruling on the foreshore and seabed. Figures supplied to the National Party show huge areas of the North Island coastline are subject to claims. They include 314 kilometres of the Taranaki coast and 23km of coastal Gisborne.
The number of applications for title had exploded from three to 19 in four weeks since the Court of Appeal ruling. Some claims extended to the edge of the 200-mile exclusive economic zone. An estimated 5.2 million hectares (13 million acres) of foreshore and seabed and 2413km of coastline was affected. New Zealand's coastline is 18,200km.
Mayor racist Cullen tells Parliament
NZ Herald 27.08.2003
Marlborough's mayor was labelled a racist and the integrity of the Maori Land Court was questioned in Parliament yesterday during a rowdy debate on the Government's foreshore policy.
Helen Clark was not in the debating chamber and her deputy, Michael Cullen, answered for the Government. Dr Cullen clashed with Mayor Tom Harrison last week when he said the district council did not consult iwi properly over marine farm planning, which led to the court case and the ruling on Maori rights that started the foreshore row.
Marlborough mayor fights back
NZCity 27 August 2003
The mayor of Marlborough says that if fighting for one law for one people is racist, he is proud of it.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen accused Tom Harrison of being racist during a snap debate in Parliament yesterday on the seabed and foreshore ownership issue. Dr Cullen claimed the issue might never have come up if the Marlborough District Council had consulted with local iwi properly. The seabed issue was sparked after the Appeal Court gave the green light for a group of Marlborough Maori to apply to the Maori Land Court for marine-related claims.
Beach access for all vows govt
nzoom Dec 17, 2003
The seabed and foreshore would become public property next year under the government's plan to sort out the controversial issue - a proposal which has already drawn criticism. The planned policy... would include recognition of Maori customary rights but would deny them ownership. The proposal gives title to the public domain, meaning the foreshore and seabed are owned by all New Zealanders. The trade off for Maori is that customary title and rights would be recognised - that accepts their connection to the area but falls short of ownership... Prime Minister Helen Clark says she believes the government has put forward a sophisticated proposal and is asking that people read it carefully before judging it... John McEnteer of the Hauraki Maori Trust Board... says it is not impressed with the policy, which he says wipes away existing legal rights and gives Maori only a right to be consulted by local councils. The new customary title won't allow Maori to sell or develop foreshore and they will have to prove continuous use or connection to get a say in its management. It is a legal test drawn from Canadian and Australian common law - a notion to which McEnteer is opposed... Already the move to define beaches as public domain in the care of DOC has farmers siding with Maori as they are still worried about their own land rights. [...]
Beaches: Waitangi Tribunal joins in
THE PRESS Tuesday, 23 December 2003
The Waitangi Tribunal is taking the Government head-on over its foreshore and seabed policy. The tribunal, often seen as sidelined over the past decade by direct negotiations between the Crown and iwi over historical grievances, agreed yesterday to hold an urgent hearing next month on the continuing storm over Maori customary rights to the foreshore and seabed. Its decision follows the Government's announcment last week that it would introduce legislation next year to put beaches in "the public domain" despite a Court of Appeal decision in June allowing Maori to seek clarification in the Maori Land Court about the "unclear" ownership of beaches and seabeds.
The Government cannot be sure it will get support from some of its Maori MPs. Several iwi speakers at yesterday's tribunal judicial conference in Wellington said they had not had time to read and digest the Government's decision on the issue. But when the presiding officer of the judicial conference, Maori Land Court Judge Carrie Wainwright, asked if any of the many parties and lawyers present wanted to withdraw from a formal tribunal hearing, none indicated objection...
The Government said last month it would not delay a decision on the issue to hear what the tribunal had to say. However, the Government will be required to put its case before the tribunal. Three crown lawyers were among 40 iwi lawyers who made submissions to the hearing yesterday. Mike Munro, chief spokesman for Prime Minister Helen Clark, said yesterday that last week's Government announcement amounted to "work in progress" and that much more discussion was likely before a bill came before Parliament in March. The Government announcement was a policy proposal, Mr Munro said. The tribunal's decision to hear the case was not a confrontation with the Government but part of the policy process.
At yesterday's tribunal conference Ngati Porou leader Api Mahuika, one of several kaumatua who spoke, said he had only just got the Government's document and had not had time to read it. But the East Cape Ngati Porou, a major fishing tribe, had lost 75 per cent of its fishery rights under the also recently decided Waitangi fisheries allocation, and was no longer prepared to compromise, he said.
After the hearing, Top of the South Island Maori leader John Mitchell, who was behind the initial Court of Appeal case, said he had not attended yesterday's conference but welcomed the decision to go to a full hearing.
"The Government's process in response to the (Court of Appeal) ruling has brought about a fair degree of angst," Dr Mitchell said. "The tribunal action is largely targeted at the process." The Government might eventually ignore the tribunal's report on the issue, but at least there would be a historical document for future reference, Dr Mitchell said.
Fiji tribes to get control of coastline
NZ Herald Monday January 05, 2004
Fiji is to give ownership of its tourist-rich coastal areas to indigenous tribes - in contrast to New Zealand's decision to extinguish the right of Maori to claim freehold title to the seabed and foreshore. Fiji's Government says it is "right" that local tribes should get the direct economic benefit from the use of their beaches, seas and reefs by hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers every year. [...]
In New Zealand, the Government plans to change the law to ensure coastal areas are owned in the "public domain" by all New Zealanders. It has pledged to protect customary rights, but its proposals provide for only limited commercial opportunities. The Government's Maori MPs say they are determined to expand the nature of those opportunities before the plan becomes law.
Tu Wyllie, a member of the foreshore and seabed lobby group Te Ope Mana a Tai, said the Fiji Government should be congratulated. It saddened him that New Zealand political leaders lacked the courage and vision to take a similar step, which would help break Maori "out of this whole cycle of dependency". [...]
Tenth of coast is Maori says Tamihere
NZ Herald Saturday January 10, 2004
Maori would probably have succeeded in claiming ownership of at least a tenth of the foreshore and seabed if the Government had not intervened, says Land Information Minister John Tamihere. His assertion is likely to annoy senior Government colleagues, who have downplayed the likelihood of groups gaining such title, saying the Court of Appeal had said the barriers to it were considerable. Mr Tamihere's claims are based on Land Information New Zealand surveys which reveal Maori communally own just over 10 per cent of the land on New Zealand's 19,883km coastline. Mr Tamihere said it was the first time concrete information had been collated quantifying Maori ownership of land beside the foreshore with no Queen's Chain in between. It showed 1996km of Maori freehold land which had always been in tribal hands, giving those owners an "extraordinarily strong" foreshore and seabed case. "If you were sizing the relevance of the Maori claim, from a Government perspective, we now know absolutely without doubt ... that no less than this would have got, more than likely, a freehold title... Mr Tamihere accepted the Government had not conceded that Maori had such strong claims to private title before... strengthen the proposed customary rights policy. This now precludes any significant development rights to commercially exploit untapped resources in coastal areas...
Te Ope Mana a Tai chairman Matiu Rei said Maori had always known their case was much stronger than the Government had suggested. But it was also stronger than Mr Tamihere acknowledged, and the Court of Appeal had confirmed cases would not be restricted to groups with land next to the foreshore. Ngati Porou lawyer Maatanuku Mahuika said the East Coast iwi knew it would have succeeded in gaining private title to most of the foreshore and seabed from the Turanganui River to Cape Runaway. National MP Nick Smith says 52 foreshore and seabed claims covering 12 million hectares have been lodged with the Maori Land Court.
Tribunal's hearings over foreshore begin
NZ Herald Monday January 19, 2004
The Waitangi Tribunal opens hearings in Wellington tomorrow on the Government's controversial foreshore and seabed proposals, well ahead of legislation expected to be presented to Parliament in March. Crown lawyers will put the Government's case during the scheduled six days of hearings. The country's second largest iwi, Ngati Porou, has decided it would not take part in the hearings. Chairman Api Mahuika said the decision reflected the view that the best way forward was to continue to engage directly with the Crown. 'While some may choose to speculate about the merits of this decision, we believe that this is the best way forward for Ngati Porou as we endeavour to protect the rights and interests we have been exercising ... since before [the treaty]."
NZ Herald Saturday January 24, 2004
Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Government received an old-fashioned telling-off during a powhiri at the annual Ratana Church celebrations yesterday... Helen Clark... said the complex, difficult and often distressing foreshore and seabed issues had put the nation "on a steep learning curve". The Government's proposal announced last month did not involve "extinguishment", but an enhancement of customary rights through new procedures, she said... Helen Clark said that no claim under the Treaty would be affected by the regime being proposed. "What we want is a win-win, respecting customary rights and the public's right of access. And I think with goodwill we can get there."
Government policy gives Maori 'real power'
NZ Herald Friday January 30, 2004
Maori holders of customary rights under the Government's foreshore policy will have real power over others, Solicitor-General Terence Arnold, QC, argued at a Waitangi Tribunal hearing yesterday. Mr Arnold was trying to persuade sceptical lawyers acting for Maori groups that the policy gave power to customary rights holders including, in some circumstances, a veto over others' proposed activities... Under the policy Maori groups will be able to have the court recognise a traditional customary use right on a new type of "customary title" and have a say over other activities that might interfere with that right... The Government is still thrashing out the criteria that will need to be met before a group can gain customary title. The law will declare the foreshore and seabed to be vested in "the public domain" with public access rights guaranteed. The Waitangi Tribunal is trying to decide if the policy is consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi and will seek to complete its report by the end of next month, before legislation is presented to Parliament... Judge Carrie Wainwright asked how it would be possible to run the process "if the apparent ill-will to the policy by Maori continued".[...]
NZ Herald Thursday March 04, 2004
Attorney-General Margaret Wilson said yesterday that "Maori already have customary title over the whole coastline". The Opposition was astonished by her statement but she claimed later there was nothing new in it. She later appeared ambivalent about whether the Government would stick with the term "customary title" in the legislation being prepared on the foreshore and seabed. Margaret Wilson made the statement about customary title in Parliament during questions about the foreshore and seabed policy, released last December. She said the Opposition was confusing customary title and customary rights, and that the whole issue was about customary rights. [...]
NZ Herald Saturday March 06, 2004
The Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Government breached the Treaty of Waitangi in a rushed development of foreshore and seabed policy and recommends that it stop everything and consult Maori better. ... The report is due to be publicly released on Monday morning... it recommends that claims to the foreshore be allowed to run their course in the Maori Land Court. It also calls for consistency in Government policy, saying if title of rivers and especially lakes have been offered to Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa, the same could be done with the foreshore. And it commended the co-management of Okahu Bay in Auckland between Ngati Whatua and Auckland City Council. The tribunal's findings are not binding... The report says that the Government policy breaches the Treaty of Waitangi by denying Maori access to the court to establish property rights...It says that not until the Maori Land Court has investigated the extent of customary rights can the issue of inalienability be addressed.
Foreshore plans create new grievances: report
NZ Herald Monday March 08, 2004
The Waitangi Tribunal has issued a report following urgent hearings in January to consider claims that the Government's foreshore and seabed policy breached the Treaty of Waitangi. The policy was a response to a Court of Appeal decision last June which held that the Maori Land Court had the potential to issue freehold title over the foreshore and seabed. The Government's proposals were announced in December. Under new laws, it plans to extinguish the possibility that the Maori Land Court could grant exclusive title and guarantee public access to the foreshore. But it provides a new role for the Maori Land Court. It provides for whanau, hapu and iwi to register an ancestral connection or "customary title" with particular areas, the right to have particular customary-use rights registered against the customary title, and great rights to take part in a new 16-region management regime.
The following are abridged extracts from the report:
"The Crown told us that, 'In brief, the Government's policy seeks to establish a comprehensive, clear and integrated framework which provides enhanced recognition of customary interests of whanau, hapu and iwi in foreshore and seabed, at the same time confirming that foreshore and seabed belongs to and is in principle accessible by all New Zealanders'.
"We have closely examined the policy and the Crown's claims for it. We have been unable to agree with any of the Crown's assertions about the benefits that will accrue to Maori. On the other hand, it does seem the policy will deliver significant benefits to others - reinstatement of (effectively) Crown ownership, elimination of the risk that Maori may have competing rights, and the ability of the Crown to regulate everything.
"As we see it, this is what the policy does:
* It removes the ability of Maori to go to the High Court and the Maori Land Court for definition and declaration of their legal rights in the foreshore and seabed.
* In removing the means by which the rights would be declared, it effectively removes the rights themselves, whatever their number and quality.
* It removes property rights. Whether the rights are few or many, big or small, taking them away amounts to expropriation.
* It does not guarantee compensation. This contradicts the presumption at law that there shall be no expropriation without compensation.
* It understates the number and quality of rights we think are likely to be declared by, in particular, the Maori Land Court under its act. We think the Maori Land Court would declare that customary property rights exist, and at least sometimes these would be vested as a fee simple title.
* In place of the property rights that would be declared by the courts, the policy will enact a regime that recognises lesser and fewer Maori rights.
* It creates a situation of extreme uncertainty over what the legal effect of the recognition of Maori rights under the policy will be. They will certainly not be ownership rights. They will not even be property rights, in the sense they will not give rise to an ability to sue. They may confer priority in competing applications to use a resource in respect of which a use right is held, but it is not clear whether this would amount to a power of veto.
* It is therefore not clear, not comprehensive (many important areas remain incomplete), and gives rise to at least as many uncertainties as the process for recognition of customary rights in the courts.
* It describes a process that is supposed to deliver enhanced participation of Maori in decision-making affecting the coastal marine area, but which we think will fail, because it proceeds on a naive view of the difficulties of obtaining agreement between Maori and other stakeholders on the changes necessary to achieve the required level of Maori participation.
* It exchanges property rights for the opportunity to participate in an administrative process: if, as we fear, the process does not deliver for Maori, they will get very little (possibly nothing) in return for lost property rights."
BREACHES & PREJUDICE
The tribunal found the policy breached article 2 and 3 of the treaty and it identified three areas in which it believed the breaches gave rise to "serious prejudice":
1. The rule of law is a fundamental tenet of the citizenship guaranteed by article 3. Removing its protection from Maori only, cutting off their access to the courts and effectively expropriating their property rights, puts them in a class different from and inferior to all other citizens.
2. Shifting the burden of certainty about Maori property rights in the foreshore and seabed from the Crown to Maori, so Maori are delivered for an unknown period to a position of complete uncertainty about where they stand, undermines their bargaining power.
3. In cutting off the path for Maori to obtain property rights in the foreshore and seabed, the policy takes away opportunity and mana, and in their place offers fewer and lesser rights. There is no guarantee to pay compensation for the lost rights."
"We note that the preference of claimant counsel was for us to recommend only the course proposed in option 1 below - namely that the Government should now agree to abandon its policy and engage with Maori in negotiating on the appropriate way forward. We strongly recommend that course but we have chosen as well to put forward a range of suggestions so whatever course the Government chooses, it is aware there are opportunities to enhance its performance in treaty terms."
Option one: The longer conversation: "Maori really want the process to begin again. They want the opportunity to sit down with Government and properly explore the options genuinely available."
Option two: Do nothing: "The risks of letting the courts' jurisdictions take their course are not unacceptable, given the strong and legitimate Maori interest in preserving the status quo. If real problems emerge from court decisions, such that others' interest may be jeopardised in a way that is not regarded as tenable, those issues can be addressed when and if they arise."
Option three: Provide for access and inalienability: "Maori do understand the anxiety non-Maori have about the availability of access to the beach. Maori are realistic. They do not believe any system will deliver to them exclusive possession of the beaches. Most do not even want it. There is room to manoeuvre around that issue."
Option four: Improve the courts' tool kit: "It was submitted to us that there may be difficulties with the range of instruments available to the High Court and the Maori Land Court when they come to consider customary title [under the present regime]. It could be left on the basis that the court simply makes a declaration about the nature and scope of the customary interests comprised in the title, and the declaration itself would come to be recognised as giving rise to a property interest."
Option five: Protect the mana: Sir Hugh Kawharu outlined to the tribunal how Okahu Bay is managed between Ngati Whatua and Auckland City Council under the Orakei Reserves Act. This, it was submitted, satisfies the Government's principles of access, regulation, protection and certainty without the need to vest legal ownership in either the Crown or the "people of New Zealand" and allows the mana of Ngati Whatua to "stand tall, intact, and protected".
Option six: Be consistent: "The tribunal refers to 'the apparent inconsistency' in the Government's preparedness to recognise the ownership interest of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa peoples in the bed of their lakes, and its unpreparedness to vest any kind of title in foreshore and seabed in coastal peoples."
|COMMENT: A warning to
Pakeha politicians. Any attempt to diminish Maori
customary (or "tipuna") rights and title to the foreshore and seabed
be reciprocated. TWM has already given a
(08.03.04) And another. (01.08.04)
And another. (20.08.04) And another. (12.01.05) And another. (18.05.05)
|Judge's ruling defies Government on
NZ Herald Friday March 12, 2004
A judge has cleared the way for a big Maori coastal claim to go ahead despite Government plans to stop courts granting title to the foreshore and seabed... In an oral judgment delivered in the Maori Land Court in Gisborne on Tuesday, Judge Caren Wickliffe indicated that she wanted the court to proceed with a hearing...Te Runanga o Ngati Porou claimant lawyer Matanuku Mahuika and several other treaty lawyers yesterday said the court was simply doing its job. Judge Wickliffe called the 11 applicant groups who lodged claims in the Tairawhiti region together for the judicial conference... Judge Wickliffe also rejected the Crown's argument that a stay was justified because of the Government's plans to draw up legislation preventing the land court issuing a freehold title... East Coast iwi have some of the strongest foreshore and seabed claims. The largest, lodged by the runanga, asserts ownership of up to 90 per cent of land next to the foreshore from Gisborne to Cape Runaway... The Government has conceded that but for its intervention, a number of these claims would have resulted in freehold title being awarded. [...]
Treaty debate 'hurting economy'
NZ Herald Friday March 26, 2004
Debate on Treaty of Waitangi issues such as the foreshore and seabed may affect economic growth, says a Treasury paper on risks to the economy... It said growth could be "adversely affected" by treaty debates on public access to the foreshore and seabed, extending the Queen's Chain, access across private land to those areas, and Maori participation in the management of natural resources. The emergence of the paper comes at a crucial time for the Government as it grapples with the final details of the foreshore and seabed legislation, a possible inquiry into the treaty and a stunning poll reversal following National leader Don Brash's attack on race-based policies... The paper reveals Treasury's concern back in October about perceptions - particularly from overseas - of treaty debates and their impact on economic development.
The report said people could perceive New Zealand's property rights were "less secure" and that may delay or stop potential development of oceans and allocation of water for hydro power and irrigation projects. "The size of the impact on growth is uncertain but could potentially be quite large." Mr Key said Treasury was clearly indicating that the treaty and its present application could have significant impacts on growth. "In particular, they are highlighting that the ambiguity of its application could severely limit foreign investment in New Zealand.". [...]
NZ Herald Monday April 26, 2004
A hikoi protesting against proposed foreshore and seabed legislation will not force the Government to make changes, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today. "If anything it drives it the other way because people have had a gutsful of the extreme language and the extreme rhetoric," Miss Clark told Newstalk ZB radio this morning.
The hikoi has police permission to march over the Auckland Harbour Bridge at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars and massive disruption to motorists... The bridge march organiser for the hikoi, Pita Sharples, said the march would take place on Tuesday. [...]
COMMENT: The hikoi is for publicity purposes. Environmental warfare is another thing entirely. Until Pakeha realise that all are being manipulated by secretive foreign commercial-political interests, the conclusion to this particular end-game is predictable. (26.04.04)
will not meet
|Ngai Tahu head writes open letter against
STUFF Wednesday, 05 May 2004
Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon says he would like to be involved in talks aimed at establishing a new Maori party. In an open letter published in major newspapers today, Mr Solomon said the Government's Foreshore and Seabed Bill had undermined the rule of law, interfered with judicial independence and breached human rights... Yesterday Mr Solomon said Prime Minister Helen Clark's comments that those organising the seabed and foreshore hikoi were "haters and wreckers" were childish. "If there's one thing that Kiwis understand, it's the concept of a fair deal. No other group in New Zealand would stand for this kind of treatment - so you will understand why Maori will not accept it either." [...]
PM's back to the wall
STUFF Wednesday, 05 May 2004
Scoop Monday, 10 May 2004 Press Release: Christian World Service
New Zealand aid and development agency, Christian World Service, supports Maori in their bid for a just resolution on the foreshore and seabed issue. "The hikoi was a clear and uncompromising message to all New Zealanders from Maori," said Jonathan Fletcher. "The dispersal of the hikoi cannot be the end of debate on the Foreshore and Seabed. Maori have expressed their opposition to the Bill and it is up to all of us to ensure that a just solution is found." The hikoi demonstrated the widespread opposition amongst Maori to the Foreshore and Seabed legislation and Maori anger at the way the Government is once again using parliamentary process to strip iwi and hapu of their rights and resources...
The legislation appears to confiscate both access and the right of iwi and hapu to exercise their traditional responsibilities over these resources. It will require them to prove that they have exercised this practice "substantially uninterrupted since 1840". "It is not a fair expectation when so much of the land adjacent to the foreshore and seabed has been taken from iwi and hapu, and when they have been denied their sovereignty," he added. "Neither is it right that the government provide open access to the foreshore and seabed by committing a new injustice to Maori."
Maori party in seven weeks
NZ Herald Monday May 24, 2004
A new Maori party - bolstered by support from Maoridom's elite and by a surge in support in a new poll - will be launched in July. Co-leader Tariana Turia said the Maori Party would be launched on July 11, the day after the Te Tai Hauauru byelection. Mrs Turia made the announcement after commanding almost unanimous support at a hui attended by around 250 of the country's Maori academic, commercial and cultural leaders and supporters at Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland yesterday. Mrs Turia, who resigned from Labour over its handling of the foreshore and seabed issue, was clearly buoyed by TVNZ Marae-DigiPoll results released yesterday showing that 65 per cent of Maori voters supported her resignation. She had double the support of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere... The hui also voted to approve Dr Pita Sharples as co-leader and Professor Whatarangi Winiata as party president. Mrs Turia said that although not all of the 65 leaders invited to the hui had attended, she was confident the gathering had the mandate to make appointments and decisions. In the coming month the party leadership would appoint a working group to develop policy. Lawyer Donna Hall was already working on a constitution. Mrs Turia said party policy outlines and a draft constitution would be in place by the byelection. [...]
COMMENT: For more news on The Maori Party - go to this page.
Backpedal on seabed law
NZ Herald 09.10.2004
The government may change plans to vest the foreshore and seabed in full Crown ownership and give itself a trustee role instead. A number of options involving trusteeship, put to the select committee examining the proposed law, are being seriously explored. Under most of those options, the Crown would not extinguish Maori customary title in order to assert its ownership, but would act as a trustee managing the coast until claims were resolved. Under some proposals the trusteeship could be permanent, but would expressly accommodate custodial titles and could involve joint trusteeship with Maori. Variations to the proposals are also under consideration...
Government refutes Maori UN race complaints See above.
NZ Herald 11.10.2004
The Government has met a United Nation's committee's "please explain" command over the foreshore bill by claiming it has a track record of dealing with Maori claims in good faith. It has strongly rejected allegations by several iwi that its MPs and other officials are fuelling racial hatred against Maori and appealing to racial intolerance. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested a report on the bill by the Government last month. It followed requests for the committee to invoke its early warning procedures by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, the Treaty Tribes Coalition and the Taranaki Maori Trust Board. The groups claimed the bill was the most serious example of racial discrimination against Maori in the last 160 years. They said it was in serious breach of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and that New Zealand had a lack of adequate procedures to challenge racial discrimination. CERD is considering the Government's defence, which it released after gaining the committee's approval... The Government also noted the bill could yet "well be altered" by Parliament or the select committee reviewing it.
NZ Herald 25.10.2004
Labour's small coalition partner, the Progressive Party, is set to have a major rethink of its position on the troublesome Foreshore and Seabed Bill. And the Government may also face the embarrassment of having the divided select committee that heard hundreds of submissions on the bill delivering no report, but individual party statements instead. Deputy Progressive leader Matt Robson is attracted to the concept of the Crown holding "trusteeship" over the foreshore and seabed rather than Crown ownership... The trustee concept is also being examined at the 11th hour by members of Labour's Maori caucus... "Trusteeship" would leave open the possibility that some Maori could claim ownership rights - customary title - in the High Court while overriding legislation would guarantee navigation and access. Any foreshore and seabed not claimed under customary ownership would be held in trust by the Crown... The trusteeship concept was promoted to the committee by Auckland University Emeritus Professor Jock Brookfield.
COMMENT: Which part of "Tino rangatiratanga" does Pakeha government not understand?
Foreshore fight will not end when law passed, say iwi
NZ Herald 17.11.2004
The fight over the foreshore and seabed won't end when the Government's amended legislation goes through this week, Ngati Tama spokesman John Mitchell said today. Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen officially released changes to the contentious Foreshore and Seabed Bill in a deal confirmed with New Zealand First. The bill, which passed its second reading this morning, will underline that the foreshore and seabed is owned by the Crown in perpetuity. Dr Mitchell and other top of the south iwi leaders said today that the latest events were no surprise and the fight against the legislation could go on for years. [...]
Foreshore bill passes after marathon session
NZ Herald 19.11.2004
Tariana Turia called it the death of democracy while Nanaia Mahuta opted to vote for it, saying the Government wanted to get things right and "we've all got to start somewhere". The Foreshore and Seabed Bill, the most controversial law the Government has introduced this parliamentary term, passed its final reading yesterday after a marathon session under urgency. [...]
COMMENT: Transcript of Tariana's speech - click here.
The Foreshore and Seabed Act: Sad End to a Sorry Spectacle
Scoop Friday, 19 November 2004 by Ewan Morris
It should not be surprising that it has ended like this: that the government’s inept response to last year’s Court of Appeal decision on the foreshore and seabed should have ended with the ramming through under urgency of one of the most controversial Bills of recent times. No reasonable person could conclude that it was anything other than a travesty of democracy for such an important piece of legislation to be given such inadequate consideration by Parliament, with MPs having to digest and vote on 67 pages of amendments in the space of just two days.
This abuse of democratic process is of a piece with the way in which the government has acted ever since the Court of Appeal decision in June last year. All New Zealanders, regardless of their views about Maori foreshore and seabed rights, should feel sad about this. Michael Cullen is right when he says that this issue has been a test of New Zealand’s nationhood. Unfortunately, it is a test that we have largely failed. We have failed because we have been unable to have a genuine conversation aimed at finding a solution that both Maori and non-Maori can live with...
The passage of the Foreshore and Seabed Act is not really the end of this saga. The legacy of the last 18 months will no doubt be a lingering sense of injustice among many New Zealanders, both Maori and non-Maori. It has never been the case, as Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have repeatedly claimed, that only small groups of extremists on either side are unhappy with the government’s policy. Now, however, the genuine extremists may start coming out of the woodwork, fuelling dissension and bitterness. We must not allow that to happen. It is time now to learn from the mistakes of the past year and a half, and to start thinking about how the injustices that have just been enacted can be put right.
COMMENT: A reminder - since inception, illegal Pakeha governments have used and continue to use force to impose their will over Tangata Whenua. That's a precedent that can be invoked to change the Pakeha power structures and control systems that keep them impotent, frustrated and impoverished.
For TWM, enactment of the above Bill has removed any residual constraint on its future activities. Asserting Indigenous sovereignty (tino rangatiratanga) by means of environmental-weather modification is the "name of the game". Pakeha govt's tactic of "consultation with Tangata Whenua" has been exposed as a time-wasting farce. There are more efficacious and dynamic alternatives available. (21.11.04)
UN report blasts foreshore ruling
NZ Herald 13.03.05
A damning report from the United Nations has condemned the Foreshore and Seabed legislation as discriminatory against Maori. The report, which was released this weekend by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, states that the legislation discriminates against Maori by extinguishing the possibility of establishing Maori customary title over the foreshore and seabed, and by its failure to provide a guaranteed right of redress. The report states that this is despite the Government's obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It is the result of a submission by the country's third-largest iwi organisation, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues last year. The iwi, which has been uncharacteristically vocal on the issue, claimed the Government has shown a "flagrant disregard" for Maori human rights by proposing the bill. It did so with the support of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, which includes Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Hauraki iwi. Ngai Tahu former deputy kaiwhakahaere Edward Ellison, who was part of the team that presented the submissions to the United Nations, said the report was a major victory for the iwi and Maori. [...]
Claim to test seabed and foreshore law
SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2005
New Zealand's first claim under the seabed and foreshore law has been lodged in the Maori Land Court. The case, being taken by the small eastern Bay of Plenty iwi Whakatohea, has triggered talk of further friction between parliament and the judiciary. The iwi is claiming a customary rights order under the act, which came into effect in November and requires proof of "substantially uninterrupted" Maori practices or use since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. The claim covers 40km between Te Horo, near Whakatane, east to Te Rangi, near Torere. If the case is won, the iwi has no plans to limit access to the beach, but wants the Crown to recognise its historical rights.
Constitutional lawyer Mai Chen said the claim was being watched closely by iwi throughout New Zealand. "This is a very important test case...Whakatohea elder Claude Edwards, who lodged the claim with the support of others, including neighbouring iwi, said the Crown had opened "a can of worms" when it implemented the law. "They should have let things lie as they were," Edwards said. The iwi's barrister, Tim Castle, said the claim was not intended to be confrontational, but simply allow guardianship to be recognised, as intended under the law... [...]
UN may rule on Seabed Act row
NZ Herald 31.03.05
The Human Rights Commission has received a confidential complaint about the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act. If the complainant fails to gain redress, the appeal process may move to the United Nations. The commission has refused to disclose any details about the complaint. Under the act, the Crown has assumed ownership of the foreshore and seabed and all its resources, which is regarded by Maori as a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. [...]
UN to check whether foreshore law breaches Maori rights
NZ Herald 14.11.05The Government is bracing itself for embarrassment ahead of a probe by a United Nations expert coming to check whether new foreshore laws have breached Maori rights. The request by Rodolfo Stavenhagen to be invited to New Zealand followed Government criticism of a report on the issue by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Prime Minister Helen Clark described the committee's process as "most unsatisfactory", and downplayed the body's status... Professor Stavenhagen, a Mexican researcher who reports to the UN Commission on Human Rights, arrives this week. He will attend four hui, including a major one at Parihaka at the weekend, where he can expect to hear severe criticism of the Government... Professor Stavenhagen has angered Governments where he has scrutinised their conduct and recommended reform...The committee report, following a complaint by Ngai Tahu, the Taranaki Maori Trust Board and Treaty Tribes, criticised the haste in enacting the foreshore and seabed legislation and the lack of consideration given to alternative plans. It found the legislation racially discriminatory, saying it extinguished the possibility of establishing Maori customary rights, yet failed to provide guaranteed redress.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, who will be at Parihaka and will meet Professor Stavenhagen separately, said: "The Government is embarrassed that he has come, first and foremost because they ridiculed the report. "Now they are going to have to front up and it's going to be very interesting to hear what they have to say." The legislation was an international embarrassment, she said. [...]
An international expert and advocate of indigenous people met with Maori at Parihaka Marae in Taranaki on Saturday to listen to concerns over the controversial Foreshore and Seabed legislation United Nations special rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen is here to investigate human rights issue to safe guard the rights of indigenous people. It's almost a year since the labour government brought in its foreshore and seabed legislation. For Maori the visit of this UN expert in human rights gives them hope their fight for ownership may not be over.
"The government has been dishonest and dismissive in their response and call the decision of the foreshore and seabed a minor decision trying to discredit the rapporteur," says Moana Jackson, organiser of the weekend hui. They say his independent status will be a better platform to look at the claim that the legislation discriminates against Maori. While Stavenhagen describes his visit as a fact finding mission to investigate the human rights of Maori, many at the hui say the foreshore and seabed was the catalyst. "The foreshore and seabed act which has come to the attention of the committee of elimination of racism and discrimination, it has received some information about the act," Stavenhagen says.[...]
Maori find support with UN
The United Nation's indigenous human rights investigator has promised Maori he will consider a wide range of grievances during his time in this country. The special rapporteur is visiting after the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled the Foreshore and Seabed Act appears to discriminate against Maori. But at Taranaki's Parihaka Pa on Sunday Rodolfo Stavenhagen emphasised his mandate has a much broader reach. Stavenhagen has pledged Maori a fair hearing and says they can consider him their voice in the UN. Ngai Tahu has vowed never to give up on overturning the Foreshore and Seabed Act, ahead of a meeting with a indigenous human rights investigator. The visit by Stavenhagen comes after a UN Committee ruled that the Act appears to discriminate against Maori. Ngai Tahu is part of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, which sought the UN ruling, and its runanga chairman Mark Solomon says they want the law repealed.
Stavenhagen will attend the second of four nationwide hui at Omaka Marae in Blenheim on Sunday. He met with Taranaki Maori at Parihaka Pa on Saturday.
Maori denied rights, UN man told
NZ Herald 21.11.05
A United Nations human rights official has been told Maori have been systematically blocked from self-determination. UN special rapporteur Rudolfo Stavenhagen attended a hui at visibly impoverished Parihaka - the Taranaki pa of 1860s passive resistance and spiritual leaders Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi - on Saturday. He attended another arranged by Ngai Tahu in Christchurch yesterday.
That situation - based on the on-going resistance to Maori organising politically, economically and socially as Maori - was epitomised by widespread socio-economic disparities, health care and educational disadvantages and the loss of taonga such as the language, Professor Stavenhagen heard...
Mr Mikaere said the seabed act saw land confiscation, the hallmark of colonialism, become a "contemporary reality".
"In 1870, the Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court had said: 'I cannot contemplate without uneasiness the evil consequences which might ensue from judicially declaring that the foreshore of the colony will be vested absolutely in the natives if they can prove certain acts of ownership, especially when I consider how readily they may prove such and how impossible it is to contradict them.' " Mr Mikaere said the "evil consequences" were the rights protected under international law, yet last year those rights were extinguished. "Why? Underneath the raft of Crown rhetoric - the need for certainty, the ability to regulate, and public rights - is the lasting fear of these same 'evil consequences' - Maori exercising customary authority - possessing actual decision-making capacity."
Ngati Kahungunu spokesman Moana Jackson criticised the lack of time given to iwi by Government officials, who organised the programme, to meet the visitor. Professor Stavenhagen would hear about the substantial inequities and inequalities Maori continued to endure and the "continued denial and misrepresentation of our rights and authority". With Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahungunu sought the UN man's support for the need to constitutional change.
In Christchurch Fred Te Miha, speaking for the eight Te Tau Ihu iwi from the top of the South Island who initiated the foreshore case in the courts, said the tribes had spent years going through all the proper legal channels, only to be told within two days of the foreshore decision that the Crown would legislate the rights away. This was a typical experience.
Wellington School of Medicine lecturer in Maori health Tim Rochford said Maori still died about 10 years earlier than their non-Maori cohort. The argument there was something wrong with Maori did not hold up because other indigenous peoples experienced the same health problems, despite genetic and cultural differences. Colonisation was the only common link, he said.[...]
* In 1969, the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination came into force. By 1990, it had been ratified or acceded to by 128 countries - more than three-quarters of the UN membership.
* To engage in no act of racial discrimination against individuals, groups or institutions, and to ensure public authorities and institutions do likewise.
* Not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by persons or organisations.
* To review government, national and local policies and to amend or repeal laws which create or perpetuate racial discrimination.
* To prohibit racial discrimination by persons and organisations.
* To encourage integrationist or multi-racial organisations, and to discourage anything tending to strengthen racial division.
One law for all races' risky says expert
NZ Herald 21.11.05
The "one law for all" philosophy is a recipe for making race relations in New Zealand worse, says a United Nations human rights expert sent here to investigate. Professor Rudolfo Stavenhagen is investigating the Foreshore and Seabed Act for the UN Human Rights Commission after the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled the act discriminatory. Professor Stavenhagen said ethnic and cultural diversity was a fact of life that "should not, that cannot be ignored" when it came to policy. "When politicians play the race card it's not always for the best of objectives. It's a vote-getting ploy or it may hide special interests and so forth. "There is a general debate, even in the human rights community and I've seen it in many countries, where ... even human rights defenders, say 'Well, let's not make a "difference" any more. So much harm has been done because of race-related issues. "Let's simply say we're all citizens of this country and some are perhaps underprivileged or disadvantaged and let's have policies addressed to the poor or the needy or the homeless and so forth, regardless of what race or what ethnicity or what culture they come from'.
"Unfortunately, as we know, it doesn't work out that way because if there are disparities in health services and housing and employment and income and access to education, it's not because of ethnicity but because certain groups - indigenous peoples or racial or cultural minorities - have had a long history of having been the victims of discrimination or colonisation or oppression or apartheid or exploitation or segregation or whatever.
"And then saying 'Well, this is all over now so let's forget about the difference' is not really politically feasible and it's sociologically not correct because people demand rights quae [as] peoples particularly when they have been oppressed and excluded as peoples from mainstream society or from political participation." The "one law for all" argument assumed the playing field was level, but "not everybody has the same opportunities at birth ... So if states do not take that into account when they formulate their policies I think things may actually tend to become worse, rather than better."
Professor Stavenhagen said he hoped the findings he made would carry weight, but said the UN only had the power to recommend, not enforce. Each country had to resolve in its own way the human rights issues confronting it, but there were nevertheless international standards. Asked if he was concerned about Prime Minister Helen Clark's dismissal of the committee as one which sat on "outer UN system", he said it was one of several major UN committees "right at the centre, at the core of human rights issues".
UN set to criticise NZ on race and rights
NZ Herald 25.11.05
New Zealand will probably be criticised by the United Nations on race relations issues and human rights breaches, UN special investigator Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen said today. Prof Stavenhagen, UN human rights and race relations expert, has been visiting the country from November 16 to 25 at the invitation of the Government and has attended four hui, among other meetings, to listen and report on the status of human rights for Maori as an indigenous people. He said there was widespread concern that the gap in social and economic conditions of Maori was growing larger and an increasing proportion of Maori were being left behind. However, Prof Stavenhagen said Maori living standards in general had improved and were more satisfactory than that of indigenous peoples in poorer countries. He presents his final report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in April. His recommendations are not binding on New Zealand. [...]
UN envoy paints grim picture of Maori rights
STUFF SATURDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2005
More political fallout is expected after a United Nations expert on human rights found gaps between Maori and Pakeha were not being closed fast enough. UN special rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen painted a grim picture of Maori rights yesterday, based on nine days of meetings with Maori and government officials. It follows a finding by the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in response to a complaint from Maori, that the Foreshore and Seabed Act is discriminatory. The Government has been dismissive of that report and of the committee's relevance. Prime Minister Helen Clark described the process that led to the criticism of the legislation as "most unsatisfactory" and the committee as sitting on the "outer UN system". Professor Stavenhagen, from Mexico, said the law was particularly troubling for Maori and he hoped the Government would address those concerns when it appeared before the committee next month.
There was also widespread concern that more Maori were being "left behind" socially and economically.
He said Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen, during a debriefing on Thursday, acknowledged the gaps between Maori and Pakeha were a concern but believed they would be closed in about 20 years. Professor Stavenhagen did not think it should take that long. "If these issues are recognised as being of the highest importance nationally, then...measures may be taken to try to lower the time frame in order to achieve the closing of the gap in perhaps less time."... Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said it was time for problems of power inequality, which she said had led to "patronising and paternalistic" solutions for Maori, to be wiped out. "We Maori will design our own solutions and our people, with the full support of the Maori Party, are prepared and willing to do that right now. If we need assistance, we will determine who we will get it from, and how we will use it." [...]
Sharples to fight on foreshore
www.sundaystartimes.co.nz SUNDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2005
The Maori Party believes it can get the numbers to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Co-leader Pita Sharples said the party planned to put forward a private members bill to repeal the act, which placed the foreshore and seabed in Crown ownership, and believed it could get enough support in parliament to pass the bill. Sharples said the National Party had given an indication of tentative support. Some National MPs wanted to discuss concerns about land alienation and access, but those were issues that could be worked through, Sharples said... National's Maori affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee said National was "not happy" with the Foreshore and Seabed Act, but would wait to see the private member's bill before committing to support it... The Greens would support the act's repeal, said Maori issues spokeswoman Metiria Turei. "Labour made a big mistake, and they will keep paying for it until they accept that what they did was wrong." Act leader Rodney Hide said his party would also support the act's repeal on the principle that it breached private property rights. NZ First deputy leader Peter Brown said NZ First would almost certainly join Labour and the Progressives in opposing the private member's bill, making 58 votes against a repeal. National's 48 votes, the Greens' six, the Maori Party's four and Act's two votes add up to 60 votes in support of repealing the act, and the Maori Party would need to secure just one more vote in the 121-seat parliament to repeal it. If United Future maintains its previous opposition to the foreshore and seabed legislation and its three MPs support the act's repeal, the legislation would be overturned. Sharples said the Maori Party planned to discuss the bill with United Future shortly. He said another possibility was that Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta - who came very close to voting against the legislation last time - could be won over to back its repeal. [...]
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