25 Mar 2011

Maori will revisit foreshore issue in future - Turia

4:32 pm on 25 March 2011

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori will one day revisit the foreshore and seabed issue despite the passing of legislation replacing the 2004 law.

Parliament passed the Marine and Coastal Area Bill by 63 votes to 56 on Thursday, with the support of the National, Maori and United Future parties.

Mrs Turia says it is clear that many Maori are concerned about the test for customary title introduced in the bill, which requires iwi and hapu to prove continuous and uninterrupted use of coastal areas.

She says the Maori Party will watch how that plays out when the first court case under the new law is heard.

However, Mrs Turia says the Maori Party will not re-visit the legislation at this point.

She told Morning Report the new legislation was not a victory but a step forward, and iwi now need to take their claims to court to establish if the threshold for them is too high.

Mrs Turia said New Zealanders in general have been fearful about the legislation, when they have no need to be.

Little difference expected

A Maori leader involved in the start of the foreshore and seabed dispute believes the passing of the replacement law will make little difference.

The issue has its roots in a court case taken by the Rangitane runanga in Marlborough, over rights to aquaculture.

Richard Bradley, runanga chief executive at the time and the current chair of the customary fisheries forum, told Morning Report he does not think it will change the ability for Maori to settle their claims.

Mr Bradley said the new legislation also sets up tests which iwi and hapu have to meet, but the same tests are not required of the Crown.

Bill a betrayal - Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Marine and Coastal Area Bill is betrayal of the rights of all New Zealanders.

He says it is delusional to suggest that customary title will not became a transferable right, because that is what title means.

Mr Peters says New Zealand First will campaign to restore the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act.