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Harawira Outlines `Tupuna Title' Foreshore And Seabed Plan

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Wellington, Feb 16 NZPA - A plan to settle the Foreshore and Seabed issue was outlined in Parliament today by Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, who said his party's caucus approved it last week.

The Government is working with iwi leaders to find a replacement for the existing Foreshore and Seabed Act, which it has said it will repeal when alternative legislation is worked out.

The Act put all the foreshore and seabed in Crown ownership, avoiding the possibility that some Maori customary title might be turned into freehold title through the courts.

It caused outrage among Maori and was the catalyst for the formation of the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira said the basis for a "new deal" was the notion of tupuna title.

"It basically says that if the whole world already knows that Maori people were here first, then let's stop being ridiculous by making Maori go to court to prove it," he said.

"If the Government can assume ownership of the foreshore and seabed with one piece of legislation, they can just as easily give it back to Maori with another."

Mr Harawira said there would be a clause in the legislation ensuring Maori could never sell the foreshore and seabed.

"That fits with the Maori world view that we don't own land as a commodity, but rather we hold it as a taonga for future generations," he said.

"It will also put an end to all that rubbish about Maori only wanting it so we can sell it."

Mr Harawira said the legislation would guarantee full access to all New Zealanders, but Maori would have to be able to protect seafood stocks, promote conservation and control behaviour.

He said "technocrats" were pointing out problems in the plan, but they were not insurmountable.

"The vision is the important thing, and if we can buy into that, the rest will be easy."

The Government is not commenting on its negotiations with iwi leaders, although it says progress is being made.

The Maori Party, which has a support agreement with the Government, is an important player in finding a solution.

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