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Call for tidal energy delay until foreshore issue sorted out

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Wellington, April 14 NZPA - Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is backing calls for a tidal energy project to be put on hold until ownership of the foreshore and seabed is sorted out

Mr Harawira's comments follow a call from one of the hapu in his electorate, Te Uri o Hau of Ngati Whatua, for Attorney-General Chris Finlayson to place a moratorium on Crest Energy's planned $600 million tidal flow electricity project in the Kaipara Harbour.

The Government is consulting over plans to repeal the foreshore law and prefers to legislate that no one owns it.

Under the proposal the Government would retain control of coastal areas, but Maori could test their claim to limited customary title in the courts and through negotiation with the Crown.

Mr Harawira is among those who believe the entire foreshore and seabed should be vested in some of customary title and is unhappy that the energy project could advance ahead of settling the issue of foreshore ownership.

"Why the heck should someone in the United Kingdom and Singapore get the right to plough the foreshore and seabed here in Aotearoa before the issues of tangata whenua over that foreshore and seabed are sorted?" Mr Harawira said.

"It seems there's one standard for how foreigners and Pakeha directors are treated and another for iwi and hapu who never relented their rights to the foreshore and seabed.

"We're not going to take much more of this - the Government needs to wake up and hop on the right waka."

If Crest Energy got the green light to proceed with the project then that would be the equivalent of giving the company ownership of the seabed in that area.

Mr Harawira intends to talk to Mr Finlayson about the issue when Parliament resumes next week.

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