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Dr Muriel Newman

Dr Muriel Newman

Last Chance to Oppose Coastal Claims

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Bill English’s decision to resign last week was the right one. Winning the election but losing government would have been a devastating blow. Once over the shock of the new reality, he would have realised his heart was not in a three year battle for Government, having already served the country for 28 years as a Minister of Finance, Deputy PM, and Prime Minister.

We thank Bill English for the significant contribution he has made to public affairs in New Zealand and wish him well in the future.

The National Party’s future is now in the hands of one of four contenders: Judith Collins, Simon Bridges, Amy Adams, and Mark Mitchell – although Steven Joyce has not ruled himself out.

The vote will be held by a secret ballot of their 56 MP Caucus on February 27th. If one candidate does not receive the required 29 votes, the lowest-polling candidate will drop out and another vote taken until a winner can be declared.

The election of a new leader is a critical decision, which is why so many Party members and supporters  are lobbying National’s MPs to share their views on who they believe should be the new leader. It gives ‘new’ National an opportunity to return to its roots as a party of principle, freedom and personal responsibility.

Attention is also turning to others who may follow Mr English out of Parliament. High on that list is former Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson, who was responsible for the disastrous Marine and Coastal Area Act

If new National is to regain its spine, it needs to end its association with this ill-fated law and return to the racial equality principles it once advocated.

The 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. 

Let me explain.

Section 58 of the Act contains the test for a customary title. Under (1)(a) an applicant group must have held their claimed area in accordance with “tikanga”, which is defined as “Maori customary values and practices”. In effect, this can mean anything the tribal group wants it to mean, so that’s an easy test for claimants to meet.

Clause (1)(b)(i) however, states that in relation to their claimed area, the applicant group must have “exclusively used and occupied it from 1840 to the present day without substantial interruption”.

Yet the exact meaning of exclusively is not defined in the Act.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘exclusively’ means “to the exclusion of others”. If a Judge was to apply such a literal definition, then the only claims that would succeed are for areas that are used by the tribal group and no-one else – apart from those involved in fishing and navigation, which are permitted activities under Section 59(3).

Given that the foreshore and seabed was considered to be publicly owned under common law from 1840 until just recently, there would be very few coastal areas where tribal groups would have been able to continually chase the public away.

However, if a liberal determination was applied – such as that made by the former Minister Chris Finlayson in Ngati Pahauwera’s Crown Engagement case, then tribal groups could well end up controlling a majority of New Zealand’s coastline.

Ngati Pahauwera from the northern Hawke’s Bay lodged a claim in 2011 for an area of coastline around Mohaka, alleging they had held it exclusively and continuously from 1840 to the present day.

However, it turns out that the area had been used as a public road for over 100 years.

Research carried out by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ), which quotes newspaper reports on the challenges faced by travellers, drovers, and even the postman, states: “Because of the steep papa cliffs the only way by land for drovers and travellers to get from Napier to Wairoa and beyond was along the coast of the area that is now being claimed by Ngati Pahauwera. That is exactly what all people did – from the early days of settlement from 1840 and before, until the inland road was built between Napier and Gisborne via Wairoa in the 1930s.”

Yet, in his Letter of Determination offering a Customary Marine Title to Ngati Pahauwera, Minister Finlayson ignored 100 years of history, when he stated: “I am satisfied that the combined historical and contemporary third party activities are not of sufficient intensity and scale to amount to a substantial interruption of any exclusive use and occupation that Ngati Pahauwera are able to establish.”

He accepted Ngati Pahauwera’s assertion that because they did not exclude third parties who abided by their tikanga from their claimed area, in effect their occupation was ‘exclusive’: “Ngati Pahauwera evidence asserts that third parties are not excluded provided they abide by Ngati Pahauwera tikanga.”

If the High Court was to use a similar liberal interpretation of ‘exclusive’, as applied by the former Minister, it is entirely possible that most claims to the coast would succeed.

Is that what National really wanted, when they passed the law? Is that what new National wants?

The Court of Appeal Judges in the 2003 Ngati Apa case that triggered the whole foreshore and seabed controversy certainly didn’t expect that sort of outcome.

In their decision, that customary title in the foreshore and seabed might still exist, they explained, “It is generally accepted that few mainland pockets of customary land remain in New Zealand… In the past, claims to property in areas of foreshore and seabed seem to have identified relatively discrete areas comprising shellfish sandbanks, reefs, closely-held harbours or estuaries, and tidal areas or fishing holes where particular fish species were gathered.”

They further stated that tribal groups must have held such areas to the exclusion of all others: “…whether they have ever exercised rights of property to the exclusion of others… is the essence. They must prove exclusive use.”

So while they believed some customary title might still exist, they also explained that to qualify, claimants would have to have excluded everyone else.

And there’s the dilemma. Unless Parliament amends the law as a matter of urgency, to provide a definition of ‘exclusive’ for the Court to use, a Judge will to make that determination. If they came down on the side of the Judges of the Court of Appeal and ruled that exclusive use means to the exclusion of all others, then only claims to remote areas of the coastline would be likely to succeed.

If, however, a Judge ruled along the lines of the former Minister – that as long as third parties using claimed areas have abided by the tikanga of tribal applicants, they will not have interrupted the tribe’s exclusive use and occupation of the claimed area – then a majority of the of the 200 applications to the High Court are likely to succeed.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Dr Hugh Barr, the Secretary of CORANZ, has many other concerns about the Act, especially the use of wahi tapu to prevent public access:

“A major risk to coastal recreation is the creation of wahi tapu or so-called sacred areas, where the public is excluded, both on the beach and out to sea. In areas where the public is excluded, they are subject to fines of up to $5,000 for every trespass. The law also allows the areas to be patrolled by the tribal group, and fisheries rangers.

“No wahi tapu have been granted so far. But most of the claimants appear to want them. This is the sort of power some tribal groups dream about – locking the public, including other tribes, out of their formerly publicly owned beaches and coastal areas.

“Wahi Tapu areas are of great concern to CORANZ because, they are an extreme way of keeping the public out of coastal areas, that will severely disadvantage all recreational users, including those engaged in surfing , sailing, boating, diving, swimming, fishing, walking, picnicking, and so on.”

Other concerns about the Act include funding. As it stands, tribal applicants can receive over $300,000 in taxpayers’ money to help prepare High Court claims that could deprive taxpayers of their rights to the coast. In comparison, anyone wanting to oppose the claims has to pay the Court a $110 filing fee for each claim. This means over $22,000 is needed in filing fees alone by any group wanting to oppose all 200 High Court claims – on top of funding their legal representation.

It’s an ironic situation where those who stand to benefit from legal actions are given free legal representation, while those who defend the public interest, get nothing. 

Does new National think that’s fair?

Putting concerns about the Act to one side, we have become aware, during our research, that tribal applicants are arguing that the absence of any strong opposition to their claims is indicative of public support. To counter this deception we have been encouraging as many people as possible to register Notices of Appearance and pay the $110 filing fee per claim so they can engage in the process and oppose the claims.

But, if you, or anyone you know, is considering engaging in the claims process, please remember that the close-off date for registering Notices of Appearance is next Monday, the 26th of February.  (According to the High Court, Notices of Appearance will still be accepted after that date but a $200 late fee will be applied – on top of the filing fee – and the application, which are likely be opposed by the claimant groups, could be rejected.)

Since the public is largely unaware that their local beaches have been claimed, or that a deadline for opposing the claims has been imposed, we – along with many NZCPR readers – have written to the responsible Ministers asking for the cut-off date to be extended and widely advertised, and for the details of the High Court claims to be published on Government websites.

I would now like to report that our voices have been heard! Today the High Court published a list of all of the claims HERE . While the actual applications also need to be posted – so the public can see exactly what is being claimed (you can see them on our website HERE) – and the deadline needs to be extended and advertised – at least it’s a start!

As you may be aware the NZCPR has been fundraising to enable CORANZ to file Notices of Appearance for all 200 High Court claims. This has now been done.

But in the interest of having as many groups as possible opposing all of the claims, I have just managed to convince a landowners’ advocacy group to expand their appeal from the 14 or so claims that cover their district, to the 200 claims that cover the whole country.

I have also made a commitment to them that the NZCPR will try to raise the $20,000 extra that they will need to cover the extra cost of filing.

So, I would now like to ask anyone who is concerned about the claims process, but is not in a position to lodge a Notice of Appearance themselves, to consider contributing to our new fundraiser to assist the landowners’ group in lodging Notices of Appearance on all 200 claims – you can help by clicking HERE

Their involvement means that every tribal claim will now have at least two national lobby groups opposing them – one defending the rights of recreational users of the coast and the other standing up for public and landowner rights more generally.

And with regards to the extremely serious problems with the Act, I wonder if any of National’s leadership candidates will be prepared to work with the new Government to amend their law to prevent the possibility of the whole coast going under tribal control? If so, let’s hope they are the one who is elected!


Should Labour withdraw taxpayer funding to tribal groups claiming the coast?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


This is a joke. Findlayson the traitor is a moron. How does the claimants have all the time and expertise to prepare such large detailed claims. Its certainly a GRAVY train. We all have to cope each day to pay the system our taxes so the government can rip us off and provide free funding to Maori Joe
One law for all. End Apartheid in New Zealand now. Kerry
Of course should never have had funding in the first place, the next demand will be the moon? James
Of course they should but they won’t.We have a giveaway Government not a takeaway.Its not PC to criticise Maori but the fact is they are succeeding in making huge gains of control and heaven help this country when they gain Coastal controls .Their own record of caring for their lands,their children,their morals etc makes decent people rile. Don
Shame on National Party for letting this happen Lesley
Bloody Oath. Clark
It is appalling to see the drift into racial discrimination in this country. all should be equal. No special rights.  Bernd
If New Zealand carries on the path of support for one cultural group over al other then we are well down the track of apartheid. Allan
Yes Labour should with draw funding from this poison law for the health of New Zealand society as soon as possible. Although I am not confident they will anytime soon. National, particularly Finlayson needs to be held account.  Sam
Just how foolish have the Nats been ? Maurice
Fairness is just that ! John
The law has always been staked in Maori favour, and they are the manority race Barry
Such funding is a slap in the face for all NZers who have lived and worked and enjoyed the sea since our birth.Racial discrimination is becoming ugly. Judith
Absolutely. This situation whereby tax payer funds are available to the applicants is wrong on every level Laurie
“One people” must be our warcry. Nothing less. Laurie
Most definitely, Labour should stop all funding immediately and get this bill off the agenda forthwith. Everyone should now send Andrew Little emails reflecting this consensus of opinion . His email address is: andrew.little@parliament.govt.nz  Frank
one law for all NZers Barry
That is discrimination, prevalent towards Maoridom these days. David
Give the F*****rs Nothing Graham
It is simply a form of apartied Warren
Stop the nonsense now. Dene
Kiwi not iwi Ron
That would be a start, but it won’t stop wealthy, non-taxpaying, Maori entities. Better to provide funding to those wishing to maintain the status quo. Trevor
Obviously the seabed and foreshore of new Zealand belongs to all new Zealanders John
All NZ’s should be able to access the Coastline of THEIR Country.No One group should have the power to close them off! Joan
Yes,emphatically! I’m sick and tired of this constant racial inequality. John
It will be their downfall if they fail to do this Grace
The coast around New Zealand belongs to us all Linda
Absolutely, but they will not because of their M%u0101ori caucus. Winston is missing in action (again!). Chris Finlayson sold Aucklanders down the drain with the Maunga Authority – public access will not change he stated – yeah right. It would be great if a party took the closing of road access to court for determination. Martin
Of course Simon
It stinks Ray
Why is the money that they have received for so called wrongs not being used, why should taxpayers continue the lolly scramble Marylin
Of Course. What happened to one people. Peter
It should but they won’t want to upset the Maori at this stage. Andrew
Their greed knows no bounds Peter
I think Chris Finlayson should get off the boat. What damage he has caused. Deborah
Absobloodylutely. David
with all maori seats now held by labour, this is unlikely. it is scandalous that our press band media have been silent on this issue. the people should be told that what is happening to the access to Auckland” mount Eden and mount Victoria will spread to our beaches  Irvine
New Zealand is being black mailed by Maori claims to the coastline. Clinton
Maori do not have any more right than any other group to use of the coast. Eward
I am sick of the gravy train Elaine
DEFINITELY – YES! It’s way past time to end this fiasco. STOP ALL MAORI CLAIMS AND BRING JUSTICE BACK TO THIS NATION. Most claims are deceitful and based on a rewrite of the treaty to again, again and again. How many times do we have to put up with this treachery? Government must finish this once, for all time and tell maori – ENOUGH, ENOUGH, AND ENOUGH! Chris Finlayson has set the stage for major problems and if this evil law does not get thrown out, the worst could very well happen, civil war.GOD DEFEND NZ AGAINST CORRUPTION AND DISHONEST CLAIMS. CM
These claims and the tax payer funding for tribal claimants contravenes principles of the Treaty of Waitangi where all NZ Citizens have equal rights. This is one more step backward toward Civil War in our Nation (Maori tribe vs Maori tribe vs Non-Maori tribe). Unfortunately, I am certain the war of words will escalate into bloodshed. Despite seeing it all over the World, we still fail to understand that this is how terrorist factions get a foothold into a Country. It is much harder or maybe impossible to eradicate terrorism when our Politicians and Judiciary continue to foster race based policies. Martin
It is an outright injustice to all other NZers  Russell
This is a total rort for tax payers to be required to fund this type demand. This has to stop to avoid total distortion of any fair process. Bill
Yes we are all Kiwis we are told so ??? So one group can put in claims what about the rest of us KIWIS have we got no right to CLAIM Barry 
If Helen Clark is the mentor of the now ‘Tooth fairy’ PM, why doesn’t she go back to Labour’s 2004 Foreshore & Seabed Act which is the fairest way. And where is Winston Peters(NZF) on all this racism when he will be Acting PM and even now? Monica
Why is this topic not on the News. This is a very important issue and seems strange that the Nations News and Journalists aren’t covering this topic, or are they not allowed to bring it to the public’s notice. Bill
Both groups involved should find their own funding or both should be paid by the taxpayer. There should be no bias or favouritism. Margaret
It is evident that the current funding arrangement is a miscarriage of justice and has become a vast pool of taxpayer money just waiting to be tapped by tribal lawyers. Peter 
No one person or group should Owen the coast. It should belong to all New Zealanders Richard
Absolutely’. Let’s hope Labour’s principles? come to the fore and they act for ALL New Zealanders regardless of race, ethnicity etc etc. The current funding is a travesty of justice – defies belief. An absolute joke. Fiona
As usual the Maori seem to get all the financial help they need at a cost to the taxpayers of this country while the rest of New Zealanders have to pay their own way to fight all these so called claims. Digby
They should be paid out of claims received so far Chris
What happened to user pays. White New Zealanders have to pay so why shouldn’t brown ones Murray
This needs to be pn prime time national TV, why is it soo hush hush, no one can stand up and speak anymore as to fear of being called racist. Simon
Of course – aren’t we all ‘spose to be equal? Robin
To prevent Maori having an unfair advantage when going through the legal process. Mary
It makes me feel sick to read how lopsided our Democratic country has become, how UN-Democratic. Joyce
For sure, if the Maori’s want to claim any land they should be made to pay $110 out of their own pockets instead of having the Government bankrolling it. If that were to happen I think that they would soon lose interest when they know it will have to come out of their own pocket. Ralph
It is a farce Laurel
If they have a solid claim they should fund it themselves knowing they will probably win. If they have not, I bet they won’t risk their money and withdraw. Eric
This whole exersize is a disaster and is the reason why National lost my vote……..this and other race based disasters. Good to hear that Findlayson is scuttling away like Key to avoid the crap they have created. THere is a huge stench of corruption hanging over this whole sorry process but we must remember that Finlayson cannot create an act such as this and get it through parliament to become law all on his own. It would have to be approved by cabinet so what were the other cabinet members doing to allow this abomination through the process. Dumb complacent KIWIS never asked the hard questions while this was going on so in a way we get what we deserve. But, if all those cabinet members who voted this through, had actually acted in the best interests of all New Zealanders this legislation would never have got past its first reading. We need to be demanding from New National an explanation of what was the rationele behind this decision because on the face of it, it just does not stack up.. Its also another example of if we had binding referendum it would not have got anywhere. Ronmac
Pf course they should or pay for those who want to dispute the claims. Fairs fair and the present system is grossly unfair to those that oppose the Maori claims to the coast. Colin
Enough of this political soft touch to pander a few activists to snare a few votes. Mike
The funding should never have been instituted in the first place. National has a lot to answer for. Richard
Far too much ‘racial privilege’ when we are ‘all equal under the law! William
If we are to be fair to all involved, then both promoters and objectors must be granted taxpayer funding. If this is not done then those not being funded are placed in a grossly disadvantaged situation. Brian
This is a travisty of natural justice and could lead to huge fights both between tribes as we have seen already and the majority of new zealanders Ian
The coast belongs to ALL of us. STOP this dreadful apartheid. Suzanne
Supporting tribal groups is clearly racist. Our coastline belongs to the Crown ie all New Zealanders not just a group within the country. Tony
Most definitely I do not care which political party, ethnicity or race you claim ancestry to, this proposed Act is fundamentally flawed and has the potential to be hugely divisive for the entire country. If it becomes law many people from all walks of life who participate in marine activity will be severely disadvantaged, recreational users, such as swimming, surfing , sailing, boating, diving, fishing, walking, barbequing and picnicking. The funding is discriminatory, tribal applicants can receive considerable amount of taxpayers money to help prepare High Court claims that could deprive taxpayers of their rights to the coast. At the opposite side of the argument anyone wanting to oppose the claims has to pay the Court a $110 filing fee for each claim. It’s an ironic situation where those who stand to benefit from legal actions are given free legal representation, while those groups or individuals who defend the public interest, receive no such support? We have already seen what can happen when the supposedly custodians of Mt Victoria in Devonport, chose rightly or wrongly to ban cars, there was no discussion, no consultation, if the Marine and Coastal Area Act comes into force, this could become a regular occurrence throughout the country. Where’s Winston when you want him?  Robert
The Treaty of Waitangi was an instrument for its time and is now irrelevant as there are no longer any pure Maori to make claims under the Treaty.  John
NZ’s equivalent of apartheid must be stopped. Peter
ToW claim settlement funds should adequately cover this. Andy
Absoeffinutely; belongs to everyone not the apartheid movement Zoran
The claims by maori are disgusting. It is nearing time for a revolution by the people of NZ. Weare loosing our freedom fast. Barry
It should be a level playing field. Rhonda
Buying votes Jim
right away. should never have been allowed to happen. racism is alive and multiplying at a frightening pace Isnt it ironic the ones who call everything racist are the racists.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Anthony
Laws favouring one “racial” group over others have NO place in modern society! TOBY
The whole claims rort should be abandoned. All of the claimants and their lawyers and supporters should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves as regards these claims. Maori are the biggest racist group in this country. Mike 
Absolutely! Where is the fairness in funding those demanding ownership of the entire coastline of N.Z. whilst those opposing them must fund themselves? Sylvia
Why should I, the tax payer, pay, so greedy maoris can make claims. Oh also, if I want to oppose any claims, it is going to cost ME to do it. National and Findlayson have a lot to answer for.  Neil
Most certainly. They could use that cash to fund some other clamouring spongers. This funding arrangement is so manifestly unjust. That one group gets funding and the other does not, purely on race based grounds is appalling. Where is the human rights commissioner in this matter? Huh!!! Dianna
The whole system is a ripoff and gives in to the endless gimme, gimme, gimme of the Maoris. Chris
Withdraw the funding for the claimants or offer the same to the appellants. Jens
I object to tribal applicants receiving $300,000 of taxpayers money to help prepare high court claims. This could deprive taxpayers of their right to the coast Mary
Maori can lay claim to the coastline and get funding by the NZ Tax payer for their respective legal costs. Those that oppose the claims have to pay out of their own finances $200.00 to object each claim.That is reverse racism.  Wayne
Yes Nev kath
All New Zealanders own New Zealand, coast-line and all Bryan
Who said racism is not alive & well in NZ!! Ron
I’ve always wondered what Finlayson got out of his association with the Maori tribes. Doug
Absolutely … it’s a no brainer!! Maddi
Would be somewhat hypocritical to not do so considering their previous stance on the Foreshore and Seabed Act Barrie
We are one nation and need to be united as one people with respect to ownership of all public/crown land. Brian
Of course they should, but that’s about as likely as hell freezing over. Maggie
Utterly and totally !!!!! The huge NZ MAJORITY have had enough of this type of rort . When is any government or Minister going to have the guts to say “NO”. Alan
It’s gone on to long they want everything .Dave
Taxpayer funding to groups claiming the coast represents institutionalised discrimination. Jack
Selective Funding to racist groups is insupportable.   Anon
Once again National got it wrong.  Barry
Just another Gravy Train. Rioard
This is discriminatory. Why should one group (Maori) get court costs to put through claims against another group (all other NZers). And then the disadvantaged group (all other NZers) have to pay to oppose the claims in court. And Finlayson agreeing payment to Maori lawyers from Government taxpayers funds to uphold the Maori claims, the other group (all NZers) have to pay the costs again out of their own tax paid pockets. Great!!! Judy
Unless they want to start a reversed apartheid war in NZ they must treat all Nzers equal  Brian
Do we live in a democracy? Alan
The Coastline is for everyone ! Terry
We have done enough!! Frank
There was never any justification for that or for the extent of the maoris’ claims to begin with esp. considering the sheer greed & exclusivity of these claims – they are obscene! Frank
Absolutely David
Absolutely. Let them use some of the $ millions from the treaty handouts !! Maurice
An equal footing is all that is required. if the ‘tribes’ are to get funding, then so should any opposing group, otherwise the current situation should be considered racist. Peter
It is totally RACIST Allen
There is no Treaty. During wi Parata v Bishop of Wellington Supreme Court hearing, High Court Judge, Prendergast, ruled the Treaty “a simple nullity” in 1877 and this judgement still stands. Our true founding document is the Royal Charter/Letters Patent of 25-08-1839 which extended the borders of New South Wales (NSW) to encompass “all of the islands of New Zealand”. Second Royal Charter/Letters Patient of 16-11-1840, ratified on 03-05-1841, the day New Zealand was born, gave us our first constitution, separated us from NSW to become an independent British colony, English law only (therefore English language is official) and own Courts to oversee English law only. There is no mention of the Treaty in either Charter. George
Too darn right they should! The gummint should not favour one side of any dichotomy. Auntie Podes
Not likely! John 
Surely the tribal groups are rich enough now from the Waitangi Tribunal billions in compensation, to not need financial help? roy
The beaches/coastline BELONGS TO ALL N.Zealanders NOT just afew GREEDY IWI/MAORIS.We are SUPPOSED to be ONE PEOPLE according to labour Cindy
Absolutely degusting that a Government can use OUR tax money to pay for their so called claims. Harry
Absolutely ! James
Why is the Government paying Tribal groups at all. Too easy to forget this funding is that compulsory confiscated from the real productive sector and in this case most often used on extending and enabling self serving bureaucracy and its thinly disguised hospitality. Time that tribal groups stood on their own feet or disbanded. Government needs to TAKE OWNERSHIP of the coast, treat all persons and Groups as Equal before the law and stop fiscal enabling Apartheid bias Richard
It is grossly unfair that Maori should have funding to take public land away from us. Christine
Let the tribal groups pay for all their own costs. . Darryl
It is totally racist to allow Maori to make claims without it costing them a brass razoo. What about non-Maori having the same rights? Kerry
We are a democracy and no tax funding should be make available to any group who desires to make something enjoyed by many into an exclusive money-making screw for an arrogant few and enable them to laud it over everyone else. They are presently denied nothing except exclusive ownership. They are asked to share same as all other tax-paying citizens.  Sue
Absolutely! – this nonsense should not be happening in the first place. This is a golden opportunity for a reconstituted National party to restore much of the trust and credibility that was lost as a result of Findlaysons’ pandering to a racist minority – (aided and abetted by many of his Party colleagues). Labour would also be doing themselves a large favour by withdrawing taxpayer funding and working in unity with National in turning this whole sorry mess around. They would then be seen as a Government that is prepared to work together with all concerned parties in bringing about a fair and just outcome for the Nation as a whole. An opportunity not to be lost! Scott 
But I won’t be holding my breath! Janet
If tribal groups wish to have apartheid separation, rather than a Nation of one people, they should do it on their own resources. Ross
Yes, but given Jacinda’s raport with Maori, most unlikely. ron
This is more racial bias Gareth
Definitely Trevor
Tribal fraud of taxpayer’s funds has gone far enough enriching iwi who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it!! Bud JonesQSM
If one party is unfairly favored then surely the whole process can be declared void.? Carl
If claims are being funded, the those against should also be funded john
The Government should care for the coastline on behalf of all of us. No one should own it or rivers and streams. Arthur
As a tax payer I & my family do not wish already wealthy Maori iwi to receive more funds to assist in further division of land on a racial basis. Alan
Unless they do this would have to be yet another divisive racially influenced decision which is a disgrace to New Zealand and AGAINST the basic principles of the Treaty of Waitangi of being ‘one people’ Hylton
One way financing is inequitable Sidney
Absolutely. It may be part of the reason why so many claims overlap and therefore can’t be bonafide. They get a grant to cover their application regardless. It’s a good and easy source of income, for our coffers.  Steve
Findlayson, is a traitor to his employers. The taxpayer. Denis
Maori coastal claims have been distorted far beyond any relevance. Monty
Of course it should! NO public funding should ever be awarded on the basis of race! That is racism and that is illegal! The problem is, as always, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, which warps and corrupts ethics and morality. If democracy is the dictatorship of the majority, then pc is the dictatorship of the minority. The overthrow of the rule of the majority by a minority has been an historical struggle – indeed it is the history of Europe, the USA and elsewhere. And it still is today. What is it that oppressed people all over the world long for? Is it a) Democracy or b) Political correctness? Wake up and stand up for democracy New Zealand!!  Bob
The present situation is racist to the extreme, and should be put right immediately by the present government. It is totally wrong that Maori claimants can get government funding for their claims, whereas anyone wishing to oppose the claims has to fund the costs themselves. To be sure, it would be great if the “new” National Party leader could work on this issue with the government in the cause of fairness and equality before the law. Laurence
As Maori get their claims process paid for by me against my wishes I might add, yes they should, at least then the playing field would be more even Carolyn
Absolutely. why should they get help and not those opposing their greedy takeover of the coastline that belongs to all new zealanders. Chris Finlayson is a twat. PETER
But they wouldn’t dare. They will carry on appeasing Maori pressure groups in order to curry favour with them to the detriment of the overall population. Barbara
Why should the tax payer fund these claims I hope that Andrew Little cancels all these claims and places all the coast line under crown ownership. Ken
There are no origional maori’s left and as a one people country there should be no preferences made. Do not amend the LAW. Ian
Never had I seen such a onesided rule as the one put forward. It does not serve the interests of all New Zealanders, but only antagonizes maoris and others. Dennis
They should never had any funding in the first place with the many millions they have received Why should we not get some help to fight all these idiot claimed that should not been able to proceed in the first place The beaches water and sea bed belong to everyone and the governments job is to protect them from any nonsence Peter 
Absolutely NOT! The Coast of New Zealand belongs to ALL New Zealanders. Fay
No Basis for any claims Peter
They are undeserving of public support Harvey
It’s a matter is racism..not being Maori then I get no support, yeah right, go figure people. Racism for sure. Audrey
The new religion called Maori is well on the way to takeover of NZ Allan
The Treaty of Waitangi stated that “We are now one people” when referring to the population of New Zealand, post Treaty signing. That means if one group get financial assistance for the beach claims, then ALL groups should get the same amount of financial help.  Ernest
It is extremely dangerous for a tribe or a clan to “own” anything. Understand reason and secure private property rights is the only just way. To base law on Human Rights, a collective term of convenience is also dangerous and destructive – anything goes. This is how the core of Western values is being undermined. Don
Without doubt. The government at worst should create a level playing field. In reality this whole matter should not have become an issue in the first place. We are all caretakers of our foreshore regardless of race. Chris
There has to be a level playing field for both the Maori tribes and those wishing to appose their claims Keith
This is an outrage. Findlayson needs to be sacked over this issue. David
Everyone regardless of race must be treated the same John
All citizens should be entitled to the same funding, if indeed funding of such claims and rebuttals should be funded at all. How could anyone think that it is just that persons, who currently have right of access and use of foreshore and sea, should be required to contribute to the costs of a party that is seeking to remove those rights, and not at least receive the same monetary considerations. The act should tossed along with Mr Finlayson!  Michael
The coast line is owned by all Newzealanders even Helen Clark was behind that move – Beth
It is a no brainer. This is as silly as buying a terrorist a gun and asking him to shoot you Lloyd
If Iwi want to claim, they pay their own way. Better still repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act in its entireity and revert to the old Act whereby nobody owns either. Peter
No, leave the funding in place, but make the same level of funding to any entity opposing any application; that would result in a fair process. Peter
Absolutely yes, but I doubt if any member of this government have the balls to stand up to a defeated group of money grabbing Maori’s who were not the first people of this country and accordingly should be stamped on and put back in their place Tom
The funding is not only contrary to natural justice, but is undemocratic and the Government is applying funds that come from taxpayers who may (or may not) be opposed to the application(s). Ian
National are an utter disgrace for allowing this to happen in the first place. These claims are all based on rewritten history and bear no resemblance to reality. National should sort this out this mess they created. Let’s hope Labour sees it for what it is and does it but I won’t hold my breath. Helen
Why should the groups get money, but not the tax payer Geoff
None of the tribal claims under the Waitangi Tribunal should have been financed by the taxpayer – NONE! The 1840 Treaty confirmed one thing… In return for ceding sovereignty, ALL settlers (NZ tribes and British) gained the protection, rights, and responsibilities of citizens of the crown, under One Law and One Nation… Nothing in the document suggested ‘partnership’ or ‘special treatment’ for any resident or group, residing in our country… Les
If what one reads and hears is true it appears that the tribes are rolling in money.So they can pay there own way. John
You can`t rely on judges, they can run with the hares and hunt with the hounds after a wee whisper from the Attorney general and the PM. Politics in NZ Stink. Now that English has gone will the truth over Brash now come out? Robert
One law for all, our coast is our heritage. no organization or group should be allowed ownership of it .  Rex
Why should the Govt be paying for there claims whenthey are trying torip us of with there whim  Russell
Another racist distinction being applied to tax paying public. Mark
Payment of tribal groups exorbitant “expenses” while charging those who oppose the claims skews what is already a flawed judicial process  Les
One law for all! why should one minor group get special treatment. Who are Maori?. what is the difference between Tribes and IWI>? Don
There should be no taxpayer money used on claiming the coast line in New Zealand. The Government should control the coast line for the people. Why should one group people ( Maori ) control the coast line in NZ. Leave things as they are for all the people of New Zealand to enjoy. Robert
All Iwi have been given sufficient funds by the taxpayer already so ther is no financial need to fund claims which are beneficial only to a minority of the population. Gary
As you point out, how can it be fair that those who stand to benefit from their claims are publicly funded, while those who oppose them are not? Colin
Equality of treatment – everyone else has to pay for their own legal defence or prosecution. Treat maori as equals. Michelle
Absolutely, What a rort! Brenda
Most definitely. This whole “Claims” process is a total waste of time and money. To be unified this country needs to go forward as one people. This continual scrapping by Maori must stop. Graeme
Another example of one sided democracy in allocating substantial tax payers monies in to Maori iwi to place their claims but everyone else that opposes it has to pay out of their own pocket. Jacinda & Labour…show your opposition by withdrawing the funding for their claims.  Mike 
The Maori claims are a claim not a defence. Free legal representation is granted to all those opposed to a claim … such as the Crown claiming that joe bloggs is a thief… joe bloggs is granted free legal representation, and the Crown pays for its own. The Maori claims should be paid for by Maori. The defense of the status quo should be granted free legal representation. Robbie
Absolutely. Many tribes have already received massive settlement payouts as a result of their verbose political motivation against weak (vote catching) politicians. Result: Very successful. “So lets go for more – they are weak negotiators!”  Stuart
Fund all parties or none! Pete
I am totally disgusted with this Rex
By funding them it looks like the Gov.t of NZ is behaving like the paedophile offering lollies to the small child in order to get its own way. Nick
Absolutely, withdraw funding. Maori get a free ride while the rest of us are excluded. While they’re at it withdraw Maori and religious business ventures currently operating in a tax free market. Commercial enterprises should always be excluded from this rort. John
The whole process needs to be stopped NOW. Andrew
Funding to all Maori groups should be withdrawn and used more wisely! Murray
This is New Zealand and we are all equal in the eyes of the law and until the treaty Terry
Charge Finlayson and Keys with treason Win
What a mess Chris Findlayson has inflicted on us. Surely Labour will see how unfair it all is and stop it. Jan
Blatantly unfair. You would make the claim anyway knowing all was paid. Who are these people who dream these schemes up and then cover them up from the electorate.  Brian
They should do but they haven’t got the guts to do it Ian
Who in their right mind, could ever have offered such ludicrous funding in the first place … No one … but then Chris Finlayson was never in his right mind. He is responsible for the Maori mess that this country is in. Des
Do we live in a democracy or not – that is the question! Rob
The playing field is stacked too far in their favour and therefore penalising other New Zealanders’ attempts to make legitimate claims Robyn
….the ‘tribes’ money grabbing should be deemed a criminal offence…NO FUNDING……….EVER AGAIN…!!! CHowes
YES, YES, YES, why should these people use our tax payers money to fund there ridiculous and selfish, stupid claims. Will our new considerate government stand by and see our traditional rights taken away! William
racist-Like apartheid in South Africa Donal
Finlayson is an egghead who had a significant conflict of interest in this matter and, coupled with his acid tongue and payback to those who opposed his ideas he was responsible for this mess. It is totally unfair, unreasonable and undemocratic and everyone should be on the same footing with all aspects of NZ life Mike
Funding for all “tribal initiatives” should be removed for all tribes that have received “waitangi arrangement settlements”.  Andrew
Why should they get it for free when I have to pay and who are they? Stephen O Regan is more Irish than Maori  Arthur 
Of course this racially biased funding should cease, but Hell will freeze over first: Labour are firmly in the Maoris’ pockets. Graham
Funding should definitely be withdrawn you cannot favour one section of society over another because of race. It is a disgrace. Jenna
Absolutely!! NZers have all had a gutsful of this increasing race-based bias eroding the fabric of our democratic society. Tony
One NZ for All. Marc
It’s an absolute mystery why NZ is so hellbent on supporting APARTHEID in this country. Geoff
The tussle has to be on a level playing field. There is the danger of festering racism, Looking into the future would access be then allowed only upon payment and with all its implications ? Nick
It is inherently wrong of the government to fund the claimants case to ownership of public lands and place the penalty of funding the opposition to these claims on the public. Robert
what is this? Graeme
The Beaches were here when the Maori arrived they were put here by nature and should be available for all New Zealanders to enjoy, not one sector. What a waste of taxpayers money.  Gayle
Unequivocally yes! Shouldn’t even have to think about it. Kerin
Why would we be paying to fund the tribal groups totally unfair!!!!!! Like everything else in this country they think they are owed!!!! Sue
The coastal areas belong to ALL New Zealanders!!!! No-one has a rightfull claim on such areas, EVER Vigdis
We the taxpayers, and fellow NZrs, should not pay, in perpetuity, for Maori grievances – real or imagined. Or support spurious ownership claims. Jo
They get enough money from the government allready Jimmy 
There is no reason whatsoever for govt to fund tribal groups claiming the coast. Frank
Must be fair and evenly costed to every voter Hugh
Any funding of future Maori claims against the NZ government should be funded from the already made tribal settlements. Colin
Let’s have a level playing field on this issue for a change Terry
this should never have been funded in the first place ; all monies should be paid back to the crown , and all these sort of farcical actions should be funded by the maori trusts and busnesses ,as they are now very wealthy, and again are milking the tax payers monies , allowed to happen by weak governance . Roy
Of course (but they won’t…). John
This is a ridiculous situation that National allowed Findlayson to set up. Along with unelected Maori representation on local bodies these are the worst undemocratic moves any government of the last 100 or so years have made. Fix them both National or wallow in opposition for decades. Michael
Stop the gravy train for greedy Maori groups Kevin
This whole act should be thrown. out no public money should have been Alloocated by Finlayson The sneaky b………….d Ian
Absolutely taxpayer funding should be withdrawn. Claimants can fund their cases themselves. Public funding should not be involved at all when they are trying to seize our coast. It’s a disgraceful state of affairs. Daniel
I’m not sure that Labour will want to withdraw funding, but they should be asked, because the situation as it stands is unjust! Andrew
National should never have passed that damned law. The whole thing is diabolical. I only hope Judith Collins becomes National’s leader then she can start to sort things out. Brian
Nobody should be funded to try to steal our foreshore and seabed. They should have to pay for the legal costs of the claims themselves.   Mary
All claimant funding should be withdrawn. And National need to get off their high horse and sort out the mess they created with this dreadful law. Nick