Free content by Fresh Content.net

Tuesday, March 22

Cabinet paper confirms foreshore bill discriminatory

Information obtained under the Official Information Act from the Ministry of Justice confirms that National's foreshore bill is discriminatory, said the Green Party today.

"Listen to the hikoi on the steps of Parliament, listen to your own advisors, this bill is discriminatory and it needs to go," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

The hikoi takutaimoana arrives at Parliament today and the concerns it raises will be welcomed by the Green Party.

"National's foreshore bill does nothing to change the status of the 12,500 existing private titles in the foreshore and seabed. This is unfair and creates a double standard which treats Maori rights as inferior.

"The cabinet paper we have received under the OIA confirms that the Government knows this bill creates a double standard and discriminates against Maori but they have done nothing to change it," added Mrs Turei.

"The Government needs to listen to Maori and the hikoi that is at Parliament today. We need a fair bill. We'd like to see public access protected and equitable treatment for everyone," said Mrs Turei.

Information obtained under the OIA shows that the Government has been advised that:

"In relation to the spatial definition of the shared marine space, the exclusion of private titles creates a double standard whereby pre-existing Maori rights (e.g. customary title) are within the shared marine space, while the rights of private title holders are left outside it. This approach continues the discriminatory effect of the 2004 Act.

The Ministry of Justice refused to release this information on the basis that it was legally privileged. It was only released after a complaint was made to the Ombudsmen. The original request for information was made in October 2010, the relevant excerpt of the cabinet paper was provided yesterday.

"It makes you wonder what other information on discrimination is in the material that the Government is still refusing to release.

"Our position has always been that Maori should have the right to go to Court to have their customary rights confirmed. We do not believe it