A constitutional scholar says vesting the foreshore and seabed in the Treaty of Waitangi could be the way to resolve the dispute between the Crown and Maori.
The Government and the Iwi Leaders Forum are at odds over how to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
Waatea News reports the Attorney General proposes that the coastal zone be considered a public domain rather than being in Crown ownership, and the forum proposes that the Treaty partners share ownership.
A former director of the Treaty of Waitangi policy unit, lawyer Alex Frame, says that's close to an idea he put in 2004 to a select committee considering the then-bill, where the Treaty itself becomes the owner.
He told Waatea News that such legal fictions are the way bodies such as universities are given powers to enforce their rights, and they could allow balanced coastal management.