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we are running a Citizens Initiated Referendum against
Nationalís Marine & Coastal Area Act
17 July 2011
Muriel Newman and I, the co-founders of the Coastal Coalition,
are leading a Citizens Initiated Referendum (CIR) on the
question ďShould the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011be replaced
by legislation that restores Crown ownership of the foreshore
and seabed?Ē The question has two parts - repealing
the Act, and replacing it with a new Act that restores Crown
ownership of the foreshore and seabed.
first step is to circulate a petition, and have at least
400,000 (10%) of voters sign it. If we can do this in the year
allowed, then Government will then hold a non-binding
to the Act:
foreshore and seabed is very large, containing all seabed out
to 12 nautical miles (22.6 km). This is New Zealandís
territorial sea. The total area of the territorial sea is over
100,000 square kilometres, equal to 35% of New Zealandís
land area. It includes all our harbours and sounds. The total
length of the foreshore is some 20,000 km.
most countries, including New Zealand until 2003, the
foreshore and seabed is considered a public common, with all
the community as guardians and beneficiaries. In 2003 the
Court of Appeal judges decided that foreshore and seabed was
just like dry land, and so could be claimed by iwi, thus
driving iwi to make claims.
who argue the foreshore and seabed are just like dry land
donít appear to understand Maori traditions. Continuous
fires of occupation, ahi
kaa, are necessary to assert iwi ownership on dry land.
These are not possible on the foreshore or seabed. The god of
the sea, Tangaroa, is different from the gods of the land,
showing that, to Maori, the sea is a different jurisdiction.
address this threatened break-up and privatisation of New
Zealandís hitherto Crown (public) ownership of the foreshore
and seabed, the Labour Government passed the 2004 Foreshore
and Seabed Act to confirm Crown ownership, while recognising
iwi mana. See my book ďThe
Gathering Storm over the Foreshore and SeabedĒ
(October 2010), for more information.
Finlaysonís confiscatory Marine and Coastal Area Act needs
June 2010, Prime Minister John Key gave the go-ahead for Chris
Finlaysonís Act, which privatises our Crown-owned foreshore
and seabed racially to iwi groups. Finlayson kept secret that
the vast majority (77%) of public submitters, from the
preceding April public consultation, opposed repeal of
Labourís 2004 Act.
also kept secret that an even greater 91% of submitters
opposed privatisation of the foreshore and seabed racially to
Maori tribal groups. This information was held secret until
late October 2010, seven months after the consultation. Its
release was only because of a Coastal Coalition Official
Information request, and after Finlaysonís Bill had been
introduced to Parliament. This epitomises Finlaysonís
perversion of the democratic process for his own political
a list MP, has been defeated on both occasions when he stood
in an electorate seat. He is very close to iwi, who paid him
large fees as a lawyer to pursue their claims against the
are many reasons why Finlaysonís Marine and Coastal Area Act
must be repealed. It clearly does not guarantee free public
access over the beaches, in spite of Nationalís claims. An
iwi group can declare wahi tapu areas, from which the public
is prohibited, anywhere where the group is awarded ownership.
Finlaysonís Act even encourages wahi tapu to be declared
over good fishing places, so as to exclude non-iwi anglers.
Patrols will be carried out by iwi wardens. Fines of up to
$5,000 can be imposed on any member of the public travelling
through wahi tapu areas.
tribal groups who gain customary title receive sole
exploitation rights to their areas, including exclusive rights
to new aquaculture developments, vetoes on some
infrastructure, and rights to exploit minerals, including
trillions of dollars worth of marine iron-sands.
do not have to go to court to gain customary title. They can
negotiate secretly with the Minister, and then have whatever
is agreed ratified by an Act of Parliament. So there is no
need for proof, only that the Government has a majority in
Parliament to pass the Act. The public cannot appeal against
any corruption of this process.
Zealandís territorial sea was extended from three to twelve
nautical miles (22.2 km) only in 1977. So even in the highly
unlikely event that tribal ownership existed in 1840, it would
have stretched out only three nautical miles, one quarter of
its present area.
thieving and racist Act finally passed by a mere four votes.
Had only two Government MPs changed their vote, it would have
failed. Coastal Coalition supporters e-mailed all National MPs
and Peter Dunne often to ensure they understood what the
public would lose. However, neither the 58 National MPs nor
Peter Dunne heeded their arguments. So the Act passed, and the
MPs meekly followed Finlaysonís orders.
Labour, ACT and Green MPs voted against the Act. New Zealand
First also strongly opposes it, and played a central role in
helping Labour pass the original 2004 Act.
National does not get voted back as the government, then the
chances of the Coastal Coalitionís CIR being implemented
will be greatly improved. So your Election Day vote is as
important as the referendum.
claims are being lodged:
four iwi groups have announced foreshore and seabed claims
under Finlaysonís Act. These claims include the coastal
icons Ninety Mile Beach, and the Kaipara Harbour. The Coastal
Coalition will list these and further announced claims on our
has cynically postponed addressing these claims until after
the Election. It is almost certain he will approve them if
National is re-elected.
need your help for the Petition:
the 400,000 petition signatures is a daunting logistical task.
This is why we urge all the tens of thousands who signed up to
support the Coastal Coalition, to help us as much as possible.
And please ask all others who donít want the foreshore and
seabed racially privatised. Please register your interest on
our website www.CoastalCoalition.co.nz
forms are available for download from the Coastal Coalition
website. We would greatly appreciate your help in gathering
signatures. There will be additional updated information on
our website about the petition, the Act and other relevant
Marine and Coastal Area Act is just one case of Nationalís
legislation favouring iwi and Maori. These are the result of
incessant demands by iwi for dictatorial powers over the rest
of the community. The recently released Waitangi Tribunalís
Wai 262 ďFlora and FaunaĒ claim report accelerates this
trend. The Tribunal proposes ďco-managementĒ of public
conservation lands by iwi, and ďco-managementĒ of the
nation with twenty Government departments.
are un-elected Iwi committees and councillors on the Auckland
Council, and other local bodies. National has given in to
Maori Party demands for a constitutional review, that will
undermine New Zealandís traditional democracy by proposing
greater powers for un-elected iwi groups.
says he is ďimpressedĒ with the ďIwi Leaders GroupĒ.
They are smooth talkers and appear able to twist him round
their little finger. He is too inexperienced,
and totally dependent on Christopher Finlayson to resist iwi
demands, thereby turning non-iwi New Zealanders into second
are some of the many reasons why Nationalís Marine and
Coastal Area Act needs to be repealed. Please help us, the
Coastal Coalition, with our CIR, and help restore the
foreshore and seabed to full Crown ownership, so that we can
all be guardians and beneficiaries of this important area,
instead of just iwi.
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