Category: Maori Issues
The Marine and Coastal Area Act is flawed in many respects, but especially in its failure to define a critical legal test. As it stands, unless the law is amended, it will be Judges rather than Parliament that determines whether Maori interests will own some of the coastal marine area or most of it.
The Marine and Coastal Area Act should be closed down, but instead it remains a privatisation threat to our coast. My Association, the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand, has been concerned about attempts to privatise New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed since 2004.
Over the years Waitangi Day has changed from being a celebration of the birth of our nation, when two peoples were united as one, to becoming a grievance day for tribal activists pursuing their Maori sovereignty agenda.
Decades of pronouncements, proposals, plans, policies, and programmes aimed at reviving Te Reo Māori have acted like an accumulation of grime on the edifice of the language. These accretions need to be cleared away, to get a more detailed impression of the state of the language and its prospects for survival – if indeed there are any.
Earlier this month a public wharf on Matakana Island, off the Tauranga Coast, was blockaded with barbed wire and fence posts. A sign placed at the front of the Panepane wharf said, “Bugga Off.”
A rahui was placed on Cable Bay after a drowning. A man and his family playing touch rugby on the beach were told by a local to ''Clear off…You can't swim here, you can't fish here, you can't play on the beach, so get out of here".
Earlier this month, a gift shop owner on Waiheke Island was called a racist, for selling golliwogs. The situation has been described as “Political correctness gone mad”.
In New Zealand, freedom of speech is enshrined as one of our fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights Act of 1990. By comparison with a great many other countries, New Zealand stacks up pretty well.
The ability to challenge ideas in a free and unfettered manner – even at the risk of offending others – is the foundation of liberty. Yet these days, the pressure within New Zealand society not to offend others, is increasing. For those who call a spade a spade, their fundamental right to free speech is now under real threat.
As you and your family head off to the coast this summer, you might want to consider how long it will be before Maori tribal groups are dictating access rights to your favourite beach. Few holidaymakers will realise that ownership of the beach they are visiting is under claim.