Foreshore & seabed victory for nats and maori

by Jake Quinn

The review panel has concluded that the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act should be repealed and if the Prime Minister follows the advice his National Party and the Maori Party will both land major political victories.

The Maori Party was created to fight the Act and has always had at it’s heart the primary goal of destroying it, calling it “the single biggest land nationalisation statute enacted in New Zealand history”. The review of the legislation was the primary plank of their post-election support agreement with the new National government.

If/when the legislation is repealed and replaced with something more paletable the Maori Party will have achieved their primary aim and will be able to clearly articulate this to their constituents. They can say that they alone made the difference, that they righted the biggest wrong of Helen Clark’s fifth Labour government.

National on the other hand are in a position do what Labour were – for various reasons and many not of their making – never able to do. That is, to cut a deal that involves no restrictions to public beach access (creating little pakeha panic) and also gives Maori recompense for what they consider to have been large scale land title confiscation.

Meanwhile Labour is left on the side lines trying with a straight face to say “well done guys, can I get a high five in there too”.

National are now in the enviable position of not having an opposition whipping up fear from the cross benches. Labour has made it quite clear in recent months that the Act was a very difficult piece of legislation to have dealt with and Micheal Cullen considers how it played out to be one of his biggest regrets.

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