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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Foreshore ownership formula fiction

A Maori lawyer says the Government's proposal that there be no owner of coastal space is fundamentally dishonest.

Among the options for replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act is to replace the Crown title to land below the high tide mark with a new concept of public domain or takiwa takiwa iwi whanui.

Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says there are at least 42 laws managing the rights around coastal space which assume de facto ownership by the Crown.

She says the Government's position is immediately undermined by the mining licenses it has issued for coastal areas.

“Now if the Crown is saying they don’t own it and Maori don’t own it, when they discover minerals and there is royalties due, who is going to receive the royalties. If the Crown doesn’t own it, then they shouldn’t get it. If Maori don’t own it, we’re not going to get it, so who is going to get those royalties? Is China going to say ‘We have got a licence so we own it,’” Ms Sykes says.

The Government is holding at least 11 consultation hui on the foreshore and seabed proposal, starting in Marlborough on April 9.


The head of Te Ohu Kaimoana is calling for better accounting of what is taken by recreational fishers.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says if fisheries are to be managed sustainably, people need to know what is out there.

While customary and commercial fishers must account for what they catch, there is no requirement for recreational fishers to account for what they take ... even though for some species the total would be far more than the other two sectors combined.

“You can't really plan to have a healthy fishery in 10 years time if you don’t know what one sector is catching, and that’s the recreational sector, and there seems to be no political will or courage to find what they're taking,” Mr Tomoana says.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says politicians are afraid to go up against the large and well funded recreational fishing lobby.


The Kainga Whenua housing scheme is off to a slow start.

Chief advisor Maori, Tamati Olsen, says about 200 applications have been received for Housing New Zealand to guarantee Kiwibank loans build on multiply-owned Maori land, but none have yet been approved.

He says applying for kainga whenua money is arduous, with as many as eleven steps to go through.

“A lot of that is outside our control, the issues round multiply owned Maori land and licence to occupy, working between ourselves, Kiwibank, the Maori Land Court and local government to get all these things, it’s an arduous process,” Mr Olsen says.

Housing New Zealand is also selecting proposals for its Maori Demonstration Partnerships programme, which has a putea of $5.5 million in matching funding to back innovative housing projects put up by iwi of Maori trusts.


An expert on Maori law and resource management says the proposed rewrite of the Foreshore and Seabed Act puts an unfair onus on Maori to prove customary rights.

Auckland University law professor Ken Palmer says Maori have to prove they have a continuing interest in specific coastal areas through activities such as collecting shellfish.

He says it should be the Crown's responsibility to show Maori have abandoned their stake.

“The present act is not particularly attractive because it puts a huge challenge on Maori to prove their continuing existence with these particular coastal areas and it’s rather hard to do at the moment with other people using them and there’s a financial challenge of getting expert, getting lawyers, and of course trying to meet the Crown who have got endless funds on their side,” Professor Palmer says.

The Prime Minister's expectation there will be a relatively small number of claims could be way off the mark, as Maori will be keen to asset their ancestral relationships.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says the Government's takeover of Environment Canterbury is part of a deliberate strategy to dismantle regional government in New Zealand.

Parliament under urgency last night passed the law replacing of Canterbury's regional councilors with commissioners.

Mr Jones says environment and local government ministers Nick Smith and Rodney Hide are moving resource management back into central government.
He says the new act gives the minister power to make decisions above the new commissioners.

“Our fear is that these commissioners will be pressured by the minister to reward the users of the water which is predominantly the agricultural community who have not shown a lot of interest in cleaning up their act in terms of cleaning up our streams and rivers,” Mr Jones says.

He says just as Mr Hide has done in the Auckland super city, authority has been taken away from democratically elected local representatives


An East Coast mana tane roopu will be showing off its newly aquired horticultural skills at the region's first traditional Kai Festival at Whakarua park in Ruatoria on Saturday.

Event coordinator Rozanna Milner says the men's group formed through Ngati Porou Hauora encouraged members to share skills including fishing, hunting and eeling.

They also set up community gardens in Ruatoria, Tikitiki, Rangitukia and at Te Puia Hospital.

Rozanna Milner says seed funding for Saturday's festival comes from the sale of excess produce from the gardens, and the men have also formed a collective to supply a stall at the Gisborne farmers market.

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