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Decision On Foreshore And Seabed In A Fortnight - Turia

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tariana Turia
Tariana Turia

Wellington, Oct 18 NZPA - Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a decision on Foreshore and Seabed legislation will be revealed in the next two weeks.

The Maori Party wants the legislation repealed and its party president Whatarangi Winiata yesterday said the government had agreed.

The controversial Act followed a 2003 Court of Appeal ruling in the Ngati Apa case that made it possible, in some instances, for Maori customary title to convert into freehold title.

That raised the possibility of parts of the foreshore and seabed coming under Maori control, and fears that public access to beaches could be restricted.

The previous government was not prepared to accept that position and legislated against the ruling, causing widespread unrest among Maori and the resignation from the Labour Party of Mrs Turia, who went on to form the Maori Party.

The National government appointed a panel to review the Act. It recommended its repeal and said interim legislation should be put in place until the politicians worked out a way to recognise Maori rights to coastal areas.

Mrs Turia told TV One political show Q and A today that progress was being made.

"We'll see within the next fortnight, but certainly it has progressed really really well... the public will know in two weeks whether that has happened."

Cabinet was yet to discuss the issue.

"I am really satisfied with the progress that we have made, and of course then we get down to the level of detail of what will be in any new piece of legislation, and the important thing about that is that the rights of all New Zealanders are protected including Maori."

Asked if Maori's right to take cases to court would be reinstated Mrs Turia said that had not been determined yet.

"Those kinds of details haven't been determined, but again we've had very strong representation from the Iwi Leadership Group on this matter as well, and they have been meeting with the government."

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