There hasn’t been a lot of focus on this in the media, but it is huge for the government. From Friday’s Waatea News:
National hui rejects Foreshore Act offer
Iwi leaders have rejected the Government’s proposed reform for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
About 100 iwi representatives met in Auckland this afternoon to discuss a plan to be taken to Cabinet next week to replace Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed with a regime where no one is considered to own it.
There would be a process for Maori Maori customary rights to be recognised, including a right to use and develop areas within the confines of existing legislation.
Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon says what’s offered falls far short of what iwi are seeking.
‘We did put a proposal and the proposal was the foreshore be vested, not a title, that it be vested equally in the treaty partners on behalf of all New Zealanders, that it be vested as a taonga tuku iho, in other words that it’s inalienable, it can never be sold. The Crown flatly rejected that concept,’ Mr Solomon says.
The Crown has indicated it wants the issue settled by the end of the year, or it is off the table and the existing legislation remains in force.
A stable settlement of the foreshore and seabed issue is in the best interests of the country, and something we should all hope for, no matter which flavour of government can bring it about. National’s proposals do offer some concessions, but are still mostly symbolic. And it looks like they are not enough. It’s hard to see them being accepted by Maori after this development. That means the issue remains a ticking time bomb for Key. Either he has to make good his threat to retain the status quo and sever the last thread binding the Maori Party to his punitive government, or he has to back down and offer further concessions and enrage his core Iwi/Kiwi constituency. Either way there’s trouble ahead.