“Local iwi Te Whanau a Apanui have called on New Zealanders everywhere to join them in defending their precious marine environment.
We are now uniting to respond to that call.”
With the ink barely dry on the agreement, the new Foreshore and Seabed legislation begins to take effect.
Oil drilling companies are rushing to take advantage.
With this new legislation, (as with the last), there is slim, to no chance, of any legal challenge from the affected iwi.
All commentators admit that the present legislation is little different from the Labour Party’s original law which also legislated against Maori legal rights to challenge the control of the F&S.
So why are the drilling companies acting much more aggressively under this legislation than under the previous F&S bill?
In 2004 after serious lobbying by mining and oil companies, in a shock move, the original Labour legislation was imposed on Labour’s Maori caucus and the public generally without any mandate, especially without any mandate from Maori.
(As has been admitted on various occasions, all the Labour Party Maori MPs, in line with majority Maori feeling, would have voted against the original legislation if Labour had freed them to vote with their conscience.)
Having no real mandate – To exploit the legislation to the full extent of the law, could have seen the mining and oil companies targeted by mass protest from Maori and their Pakeha supporters.
As it was, this mass anger particularly from Maori, was vented against the Labour Government, with 40,000 marching on the Beehive.
The big difference with the present legislation is that it has now comes with a mandate, missing from the original legislation, care of the Maori Party.
This mandate gives the mining and oil companies the confidence they need to proceed with their plans to exploit the Seabed and Foreshore.
Will Te Whanau Apanui and Greenpeace be able to mount the sort of mass protests necessary to stop this threat to our marine environment in the new political environment?
Admittedly, it will be harder.
But as has been shown over schedule 4, if Te Whanau Apanui and Greenpeace are successful and can rally the numbers, government and big business will get cold feet.
This is why as many of us as possible should support this initiative.
Get the message out.
Pass it on.