I see that repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act is finally a foregone conclusion. There’s going to be some dithering about what to put in its place but there shouldn’t be.
Instead the Act should be repealed, nothing should be put in place and Maori should get their day in court. I’m not alone in this opinion either, just last year Tariana Turia made it very clear in a joint release with Pita Sharples that the big issue was confiscation without legal redress.
‘The confiscation of customary rights in the foreshore and seabed was certainly the catalyst for the formation of the Maori Party, out of the almost total opposition among tangata whenua to the actions of the Crown,’ said Dr Sharples.
‘But it was the denial of due process, Labour’s overthrow of the rule of law, that infuriated tangata whenua and others who saw what was happening,’ said Mrs Turia.
I couldn’t agree more. This also puts me in the odd position of agreeing with the Act party who said at the time:
The bill discriminates against Maori, by removing the right that the Court of Appeal has found, that Maori have to seek a declaration from the courts that the seabed and foreshore is Maori land.
But the truth is I’m struggling to believe that National will be able to replace the current legislation with anything meaningfully better. That’s because I don’t believe that repealing the act and giving Maori their day in court is something National can do while maintaining their base.
Just as you can’t be a little bit pregnant you can’t be a little bit denied your day in court.
Given the Maori party was created to get that right back and has swallowed all sorts of political rats to do so, there better be more than a token gesture from National if the Maori Party wants to retain the little mana it has left.