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Dr Muriel Newman

Tribal Control of New Zealand’s Coast

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If anyone was hoping the election would deliver some form of reprieve from the hundreds of overlapping claims for the foreshore and seabed, resulting from National’s disastrous Marine and Coastal Area Act, they will be sorely disappointed.

The only politician to campaign for a law change was Hone Harawira, leader of the Mana Party, and he wanted Maori control of the entire coastline: “I want people to know that a vote for me is to return the foreshore and seabed into Maori hands”.

The new head of the ruling Labour Party’s Maori caucus, Willie Jackson, claims the country has moved on from the foreshore and seabed debacle: “This waffle about foreshore and seabed is exactly that. I think most of our people don’t care – that’s why they voted against the Maori Party. What’s done is done, what’s gone is gone. We will never, ever do that foreshore and seabed stuff again.”

Hone Harawira’s response to these comments was derisory: “Now you’re a dirty low down skunk. You need a kick in the arse for saying that our people don’t care about the foreshore and seabed being stolen. We did then, we do now and we always will”.

Between them, tribal groups have lodged almost 600 claims under the Marine and Coastal Area Act, covering every square inch of New Zealand’s coastal marine area. That’s the distance between the average spring high tide waterline and the 12 nautical mile territorial limit. Included is the airspace above the area, the water, and the subsoil, bedrock and mineral wealth below.

Altogether, almost 10 million hectares of the country’s most precious natural resources is now under claim. That’s equivalent to more than a third of the land area of New Zealand.

This whole debacle was triggered by what is widely regarded as a rogue Court of Appeal decision in 2003. Although under common law the foreshore and seabed was owned by the Crown, the Court found that some customary title might still exist. They deemed that the Maori Land Court should hear the claims.

Although the Judges cautioned that the test for customary title was high and that such findings would be rare, their decision unleashed a flood of claims for the coast, some right out to the edge of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Worried that the Maori Land Court might award private title, leading to the progressive privatisation of New Zealand’s coastline, the Labour Government legislated for Crown ownership through their 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act – which left the door open for customary rights claims.

But Maori leaders complained that the bar for proving customary rights was set too high for claims to succeed. As a result, in their 2008 coalition deal with the Maori Party, National agreed to repeal the Act and replace it with a new law that lowered the bar.

National’s Marine and Coastal Area Act, which repealed Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed and opened up the coast for Maori control, contained a 6-year deadline for lodging claims – April 3rd 2017.

During those six years only forty or so claims were registered, including some that had been carried over from Labour’s 2004 law. But just before the deadline, an astounding 580 new claims were lodged!

The Marine and Coastal Area Act provides two separate pathways for resolving claims – direct Crown Engagement and through the High Court. Of those new claims, 380 were registered for direct “negotiation” with the Minister for Treaty Negotiations, and 200 were registered with the High Court.

A number of tribal groups are known to have ‘hedged their bets’ by applying through both pathways, but the details have not been released.

The cost of National’s new gravy train is expected to reach hundreds of millions of dollars and tie up the Courts for decades.

An $8.45 million appropriation in May’s Budget, from the $50 million Vote Treaty Negotiations, was specifically earmarked for financial assistance to claimant groups. Claimants who have lodged claims through the direct Crown engagement pathway can apply for taxpayer assistance ranging from $162,000 for simple claims to $412,000 for complex claims, while High Court applicants can apply for assistance ranging from $156,750 to $316,750.

According to the Ministry of Justice, as at the 18th of July, a total of 18 of the 200 claims lodged with the High Court had been approved for the upper funding limits, with a further 57 waiting for approval. There will no doubt be many more in the pipeline. No details are available regarding the Crown Engagement pathway.

While generous taxpayer funding is available for claimants, the deck has been stacked against those wanting to defend public ownership of the coast. Not only is no assistance available for anyone wishing to contest these opportunistic claims, but concerned parties must file a ‘Notice of Appearance’ and pay a $110 fee for each High Court claim they plan to oppose. 

That means any group wanting to oppose all of the claims – in the public interest – will incur over $20,000 in High Court registration fees alone. This, on top of the significant legal costs and other expenses that will be incurred, is a major deterrent.

In spite of the generosity of claimant funding, some Maori groups are complaining it is not enough.

Late last year, a dozen tribal groups lodged applications for an urgent Waitangi Tribunal inquiry into the Marine and Coastal Area Act, asserting that the funding for claimants was inadequate, and that the Act breached the principles of the Treaty. Some called for compensation for the loss of their customary rights.

While the Waitangi Tribunal’s Chief Judge Isaac decided against an urgent inquiry, a “priority” inquiry was granted to determine whether the Act is in breach of the Treaty, and whether claimant funding is adequate. Hearings are expected to commence in April next year, with the final report expected in early 2019.

With Annette Sykes and other counsel for the claimants advising that they will call for a halt in the whole claims resolution process, while the Waitangi Tribunal’s investigation is being undertaken, the Inquiry has the potential to substantially delay settlement procedures.

Since Waitangi Tribunal reports are not binding on the Crown, it will be interesting to see how Labour responds to this new inquiry. The last time the Tribunal issued a report on the foreshore and seabed it was 2004, and then Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen attacked them for producing an inaccurate report, that rejected the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.

The new Minister for Treaty Negotiations, Andrew Little, has a key role to play in the whole coastal claims process. It can be said that he has inherited a ‘hospital pass’ from his predecessor Christopher Finlayson – not only in the form of almost 400 claims to the coast that need to be resolved through direct negotiation, but also in the Crown’s failure to represent the public interest in agreements determined by direct negotiation.

So what are the chances of Maori gaining customary rights to the foreshore and seabed? At the heart of the matter is Section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Area Act, which states that to gain a Customary Marine Title over an area, a Maori group must prove that they “hold the specified area in accordance with tikanga” and “have exclusively used and occupied the area, without substantial interruption from 1840 to the present day”.

Those who can prove exclusive use and occupation, have much to gain. Claimants will receive rights akin to ownership, including the right to charge all commercial operators who use the area, to impose wahi tapu to restrict public access, to veto all resource consents and conservation activities in the area, and they gain possession of all non-nationalised minerals – including all royalties from existing mining operations, back-dated to when their application was first lodged.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Hugh Barr, the Secretary of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand, who explains why claiming the “exclusive” use of the coast is so difficult:

“When New Zealand became a British Colony in 1840, it adopted British common law, including Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed. Hence, from 1840 the public has generally had a right to access and use our foreshore and seabed. In many areas such as the Bay of Plenty, the East Coast, Mahia Peninsula and the Hawke’s Bay, the foreshore became the de facto road, as it was much easier to travel on than through the rugged inland forests. For example, livestock were driven along the foreshore between Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne because it was by far the easiest way to move sheep and cattle.

“Urban New Zealanders have flocked to our beaches whenever opportunity was provided. In the early 20th century, baches appeared all over the coast where fishing, boating, surfing, yachting, diving, swimming, or other relaxation activities were popular. Because New Zealand’s coast is so attractive, having a bach at the beach became the norm. City dwellers greatly outnumber locals during the holidays in many coastal areas including Northland, Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty, East Coast, and the Hawke’s Bay.

“This is why most of our mainland coast has never been ‘exclusively used and occupied’ by tribal groups since 1840, and why it is so hard for them to meet the requirements for Customary Marine Title.”

However, under the only direct Agreement negotiated by Minister Finlayson – without Court or public scrutiny – the East Coast tribe Ngati Pahauwera has been offered not only a Customary Marine Title over a 15km strip of the Hawke’s Bay coastline that was used as a public road, but also a Protected Customary Right to collect hangi stones – in an area that extends 22 kilometres offshore to the outer edge of the Territorial Sea!

From the information released by the Minister, the tribal evidence relied on was so flimsy as to make a mockery of the whole claims process.

For instance to satisfy that the area has been held in accordance with ‘tikanga’, the Minister relied on affidavits such as, “I have always known that the Ngati Pahauwera rohe moana is ours, and that we have always taken what we need when we need it.” And, “The sea, the seabed and foreshore and all the resources within them are part of who we are”.

When it comes to their claim that they “have exclusively used and occupied the area, without substantial interruption from 1840 to the present day”, history shows that in the early years, most of the land adjoining the claimed area was alienated to settlers, the foreshore was used as a public road, the area was reliant on coastal shipping, there was shipbuilding, shore-based whaling, and gravel extraction. There was also public fishing, surfing, swimming, and recreational boating.

In 1867, a Port was gazetted in the area, and there were even plans to establish a Harbour Board.

If the low standards of proof for the existence of customary rights applied by Chris Finlayson in the Ngati Pahauwera case are adopted by Andrew Little, the entire New Zealand coastline could end up under Maori control.

The new Minister should prioritise an immediate review of Chris Finlayson’s Ngati Pahauwera agreement – which has not, as yet, been signed. If left, that agreement would set a dangerous precedent that could result in most of the coastline falling into tribal hands.

When Labour and New Zealand First were last in office, Helen Clark and Winston Peters made a principled decision to ensure the foreshore and seabed remained in public hands.

New Zealand needs those parties to step up again – now.

It’s an important test – whether the new Labour-led Government is prepared to stand up for all New Zealanders, or whether it will take the easy way out and appease its Maori caucus. If so, title of our foreshore and seabed will pass into tribal control, and New Zealanders will be forever held hostage to their demands.  


Should claimants under the Marine and Coastal Area Act be granted customary rights to areas that are regularly used by the public?


*Poll comments are posted below.


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

Click to view x 120


Utter rubbish  Edward
Good leadership requires government to act for all New Zealanders. I can’t imagine anything more divisive than the direction this issue is taking. It comes down to a stark choice – a future of increasing harmony or a future of increasing tensions, and conflict. We all need to be equal under the Law. Jennifer
This racist crap makes my blood boil. Robert
No!! Absolutely not!! David
The coastline belongs to all New Zealanders Louise
Articles say it all. Edwin
We can’t trust them. Later they will remove public access or charge non-Maori visitors James
As has been stated many times before, the claimants are acting as an apartheid group, and are not taking the average kiwi into consideration. Most of us just want to be Kiwis and enjoy the country we live in . The chance that we will be forcibly removed from our own beaches really makes me angry. Lloyd
Now is the time for Andrew Little to show some balls and jump on this bulls–t big time. Listen to what the country is telling you Andrew and act accordingly.  Urban
How can any tribe Iwi or Hapu claim ownership, as they maraudered up and down the coast killing their own people at will, and taking over occupation. Wendy
Is there ever going to be and end to this raft of one sided claims so that we can just live as one people Paul
It should be that all kiwis can enjoy the beaches and oceans around our coastline! We should be more focused on creating reserves to ensure the survival of all our marine animals…for us all and for all the generations to come. Hallie
Of course not this is stupid the 20 m Queens chain is still the law and I will not be told by any Maori that I can’t go on to this piece of publicly owned land or sea bed. Andrew
Treacherous governance with absolutely no public mandate. Paul
All Kiwis have access now, I’d like to see it stay that way. Jon
Yet another travesty supported by the supremely racist Waitangi Tribunal! Dennis
For God’s sake politicians, kick this time wasting, money grabbing, Nation dividing fiasco into touch. Natures resources are for the benefit of ALL mankind, not exclusively pot-banging tribal Maori elite. Vic
Absolutely NOT!!! This whole foreshore and seabed affair is a grotesque farce conjured up to gain even more economic power and drive another wedge between Maori and ‘ the rest of us’ — this deceiving s.o.a.b. Finlayson has been a willing tool to make highly questionable decisions in favour of the Tribal Elite and we can be sure as hell that he was handsomely greased for that. And National stood by and softened up the legislation to control this unholy bullshit. Sure enough that hundreds od claims rained down on us just before the deadline . And that this nonsense is financed by the tax payer shows us the utter arrogance of the people who are responsible for all this. Michael
No never David
No! Now that the Treaty Claims are progressing towards settlement, and having been told for the second or third time it is full and final, Maoris are looking round for a means to extend their lucrative gravy train. That’s it BINGO! let’s start the whole process again with the foreshore and seabed and we can drag that out for the rest of this century, and bankrupt the country and charge every non Maori an entry fee to sit on the beach. Brilliant. I wonder if the Labour Government will pay the millions in fee subsidies for the Maori claimants to prepare their case for the Treaty. With an extra budget being prepared this month, to use all, and more than the budget surplus they have inherited, the country will be well down the tube within 12 months.  Chris
Absolutely no way. We will see how much sense the new Labour party has.  Athol
I hope this Gvt has more sense than the last Laura
Awake NZ Jo
New Zealand for all New Zealanders Keith
No, we are all one people and have equal rights not special treatment for one race that goes on for all eternity. Eric
Those socalled Maori should decide if they want to be New Zealander and have all the privlgeges and the duties or be a Maori and live without the privlieges. I do know a great number of people including Maori. Non of them agrees with those greedy so and so don’t know what to call them.  Johan
You need to air all these stupid claims to all kiwis, and I mean ALL kiwis, there are not many kiwis who read these columns. Get it out to the general public on prime television, that is if the people fronting these so called shows have the balls to talk about it! Bill
Now that that snake in the grass Chris Finlayson is out of the picture, some better quality decisions might (hopefully) be made ! Laurie
No way.  Ron
Absolutely not. This is one country for all not a ‘priveleged few to ensure they have ‘gravy train! Steve
If it is Labour and NZFirst’s policy to ensure the foreshore and seabed remains in public hands then the gutless, loudmouth Willie Jackson needs to get off his lazy backside and ensure the repeal the 2011 MACA law back to the 2004 one. Monica
Who is trying to be greedy John
The whole business is utter balderdash and should be relegated to the rubbish bin once and for all. Denis
Is it not time we all became NZers Barry
The more we give to these greedy buggers as so-called settlements, the more claims they will invent. It is a never ending gravy train going in one direction and we need politicians who have the backbone to say enuf is enuf. Carolyn
If the act was passed I think we would be on the brink of a Rhodesia style civil war without dought Wayne
Enough is enough! Dayal
Should a government be so imprudent and unwise to bring this about, I fear the consequences. There would be enormous backlash and fury and it could set racial harmony on a steep, downward slope. Barbara
Just pure greed. Arthur
Bugger this, we are heading fast into 2018 and to start going back 183 yeas is ludicrous and how stupid can one get. Peter’s is a complete failure, lied to his voter’s, only stood as a party candidate and got away holding power. What – with the likes of Finlayson and Peters etc Parliament sure beats the Mad Hatters tea Party. Robert
NO WAY! It should never have got to this stage in the first place. Hone’s attitude says it all. John
When New Zealand became a British Colony in 1841, through our true founding document Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/ Letters Patient which was ratified on 03-05-1841, the day New Zealand was born, we adopted British common law, including Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed. Hence, from 03-05-1841 the public has generally had a right to access and use our foreshore and seabed. Our above true founding document has been removed from public view to Archives repository where it will need to be ordered to be viewed, if it is known of. How corrupt is that in consideration the false founding document, the Treaty, has had a $7.2 million taxpayer funded room especially built for it in the National Library to fool the tax payers. George
The irony is I bet the money to lodge these claims come from the TAX payer out of previsous treaty seattlements?  Roger
This must never happen otherwise there will be many confrontational issues arise, let alone unbelievable amounts of money transferred. Bryan
NO! NO! NO!!! Raelene
Throw the whole thing out, the foreshore and seabed should belong to us all. Carolyn
It’s about time all this nonsense was stopped the forshore and seabed belongs to e everyone and how can you fight it when certain people get funded to claim and others have to pay to fight for our rights as an ordinary citizens  Peter
The changed Treaty will be a millstone forever and stop nz progressing. One people is NOT a partnership! David
New Zealand belongs to the public , includes the seabed and foreshore. No special group has a right!! Jeanette
NO, definitely not, our coastline in New Zealand is for ALL New Zealanders to not only enjoy but respect. Kate
Absolutely NOT. It is a travesty that NZ’s foreshore and seabed is controlled by anyone other than the Crown on behalf of all NZ citizens. That goes for ‘the wealthy owner’s of waterfront properties no matter how big who tend to consider it their own. Maureen
And surely it won’t happen now that we have a Government for All of New Zealand, all of these matters that are clearly biased to one section of New Zealanders will be stopped on the basis that everything is now for All New Zealanders. Sue
Definitely not. The coast belongs to all New Zealanders. Any attempt to give it Maori should be resisted. Who even had the temerity to suggest otherwise. We don’t want to fight the Maori wars again – but if we have to!! What nitwit thought that this would be a good idea – VERY divisive.  Don
Absolutely not. Like hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders I am totally sick of these spurious Maori claims. The Government needs to tell them to back off. This country will never be a happy place until this separatism stops Mike 
I sincerely hope this never happens Simon
ALL New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed needs to remain under the crown’s control. ALL kiwis should continue to have unrestricted access to the beaches and sea,to enjoy the benefits of sailing,fishing, diving, surfing Darryl
End apartheid in New Zealand now. We are all New Zealanders. Our ancestry should not matter. Kerry
We are one people- all of us must still be able to use our shores, as before. ross
Coastal Areas is like water it is for all people to use. Stop this nonsense it is only another way of trying to extract money from those who have worked for it. Ross
In 1840 sovereignty was handed to the Queen. When will the foolishness stop ? Maurice
They should have no more rights than anyone else….. Roy
Not ever. Mark
Time all this nonsense stopped and the Areas designated as not belonging to any one culture but New Zealand as a whole Laurel
No area should be able to be claimed by a minority racist group. Where is new Zealand common sense. This divisive nonsense must be stopped. Graeme
No control of any coastline at all Murray
Definitely not !!!!!!!!!!! Michael
Definately not David
The coastal area belongs to all NZ not Maori. Graeme
When is this farce going to stop. Anyone would think that the claimants were indigenous.. Dave
Racist  Greg
Lets hope the current Government will have more sense over this matter than the Maori “bum kissing’ attitude of the National Party..The Helen Clarke stance over the Foreshore & Seabed seemed fairer to “everybody”.. WE MUST STOP GREEDY MAORI. William
no Alan
There may be a few fully legitimate claims that need to be heard and if those areas are currently being regularly used or inhabited by the public, then perhaps ‘special provisions’ could be awarded but NOT ownership! For the majority of the band-wagon claimants that are NOT legitimate, quash them once and for all!  Lazza
Clearly, the moari party don’t hold a knife to the governments throat, like they did to the national government. Best the thing to do is to retain all marine and costal areas under crown ownership and control. But then, politicians will do as they damn well please, what suits their agenda, and to hell with what the citizens of the country thinks or wants. Neil
That’s not the way the law states it. Andrew
We are all New Zealanders Peter
NO!NO!NO! THESE RACIST MOARI need to pull their collective heads out of their collective bum-holes. We either all live here together with one set of rules or we can go back to civil war and finish the job the British started. Enough MOARI RACISM. Shut up or feck off. Mark
Definitely not. Kerin
Foreshore & seabed belong to all New Zealanders, which are all the Maori people who are New Zealanders with Maori hertage, we are all emingrants to this counrty Geoff
When is the minefield of ownership be cleared and, together with fresh water, taken out of the hands of ownership by any individual or racial grouping. All citizens should contribute to its preservation and well-being, but no one should own it! Michael
Absolutely not Ron
Foreshore and seabed must remain in Crown ownership with equal access for all. Dennis
I can’t believe anyone thinks New Zealand is a Democracy anymore. To treat people differently, to give them special rights and privileges because of the colour of their skin is called RACISM. We don’t want it in our country. Hobson told the Maoris that they would have equal rights with all other British citizens, and they agreed to that, and that is what we should get back to: EQUALITY. Joyce
—-and APARTHEID in NZ continues on unabated. Geoff
Enough already we need the resorces for Health.  Leigh
I thoroughly supported the Foreshore and Seabed Act and was disgusted that it was so vehemently opposed by Maori, and later made weak by a National Government [anything for power]. I do hope Andrew Little understands that all sovereign coastal countries world-wide own their foreshore and seabed to at least 12 miles offshore: it is part of their being. Rochelle
It belongs to all New Zealanders Ken
Absolutely NOT. Personally I cannot stand anything that these greedy iwi goons want and come up with. They are giving Maori a very bad name. Our idiot Governments over the last 20 years have given them every encouragement to come back for more and more. My Scottish grand parents were ripped off by the woolen mill owners in the 1890’s and while I am sorry this happened I have no intention of suing them for what they did 120 years ago. The Greedy Maori Iwi and that stupidly incompetent Waitangi Tribunal should grow up and stop growing back 170 years to the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 for these grievances that have been more than sufficiently compensated for. Colin
If tribal groups are given special rights in this area then we risk a serious division in society’. The country would be divided into 2 sectors with potentially disastrous consequences for national unity.  Brian
ALL Kiwis should have open use to coastal areas. Ned 
The Act is a shambles, both in its conception and its implementation: it exemplifies racist, separatist politics at its worst. John Key presided over this mess, in order to curry favour with the loathsome Maori Party, because of his animus at Winston Peters; and his henchman, Finlayson, was only too willing to side with the Maori claimants, contrary to his duty to act even-handedly. One could not dream up a better example of a travesty of justice. It’s now up to the new government (and I particularly mean the NZF MPs) to put a stop to this toxic nonsense.  Graham
Do I not have “customary rights”too? Peter
Of course not, maori never at any time new what was under the water or under the land. T now lay claim to everything is preposterous.. This will certainly be a challenge to the new government. The coalition team sold their souls to each other to get power, There is no reason to think they wont do the same with maori over the foreshore and seabed. Ray
This situation is a disgrace and Chris Finlayson should be condemned for his part in promoting racial tension and hatred between Maori and the majority of NZealanders. Mary
And tears were shed when National lost the treasury benches !! Only hope of curing the racist disease that National established, will be to get the message through to NZ First that this is their chance to emerge as a shining light. Start by inundating NZ First MPs [not just Winston] with emails, reminding them why they received enough support to make it into Parliament.. A.G.R.
This question, while valid, is far too truncated. We should be saying no to all tribal coastal rights – we are New Zealanders and this is our country. It is not for one small (15% of part white) group to hold all rights. We are getting to heavily into apartheid like policy and this needs to stop. Rivers, streams and lakes (with the exception of Lake Taupo) should also remain in common ownership. Finlayson has been a blight on New Zealand but I can’t see our current Government having the b….s to make the decision to protect our rights as Helen and the last Labour Government did.  Alastair
By definition, these areas haven’t been used exclusively – As John Key promised! Fiona 
Never ever, we should all share the resources of this beautiful country Gerard
No – absolutely not! – this all stems from the Partnership Myth which needs to be exposed as the lie that it is and have a stake driven through its’ heart once and for all! We all have equality under the Law, which means we all have the right to enjoy the bounties our country has to offer, regardless of race, colour or creed. Any supposed “rights” they think they have vanished long ago,along with their ancestors who only ever occupied land until they were tossed off it by a militarily stronger tribe – they did not “own” land in the way that we perceive the meaning of ownership in the present day. If this minority Government does not grow a set and deal to these racist brown parasites in the manner that they should, there will be trouble, given the high value that all NZ’ers place on OUR beaches, fishing areas, bush and coastline in general – they will be out on their ear next Election – if they last that long! As for Hone Harawira – a little gratitude for the technological benefits that our Western civilisation has freely bestowed upon him and his Stone Age culture would not go amiss – without which he and his ilk would quite likely not exist today. I hope Andrew Little can somehow reinstate the 2004 Act and restore some sanity to the whole sorry business – this racist crap needs to be stopped now! Scott 
The coastal areas under discussion should always remain under the control and ownership of the Crown for all New Zealanders to enjoy. The present situation is racist and would ensure that we be a country embracing apartheid. Charles
Was hoping Labour woulld stand up to this silly nonsense that is going on in our country can’t have a section of our community trying to rob us of our heritage  Russell
Granting customary rights could potentially be very dangerous. Who wants a coastline patrolled by custodians who can charge what ever they want to gain access for a days fishing? Ido
The seabed and foreshore belongs to all NZers, not just one culture/race Alan
It’s absolutely ludicrous, unbelievable it was ever contemplated. There should be NO customary rights. NZ for ALL New Zealanders Graeme
Finlayson is a traitor  Margaret 
There should be no special privileges granted to any group . These people that are claiming special rights are more European than they are Maori so how can they justify special rights just because they have some Maori blood which in a lot of cases is very little .They are as big a joke as the so called Maori Allblacks , where they even have to rope in blue eyed and blond hair players . If we don’t stop this rubbish this country will turn into an absolute racial and financial mess . Jock
This nonsense has to stop and our MP’s have to be made accountable. When Maori Signed the Treaty they agreed to be governed by British Law tha has not changed. Henry
Very few if any areas have been exclusively used and occupied by tribal groups as required by the relevant legislation Les
Absolutely not. We are being defrauded big time by politicians who are rewriting our history. It should never ever have come to what is happening now. Chris Finlayson should hang his head in shame (treason comes to mind) and so should the National Party which changed the law to allow it all. Helen
What has happened to the comment ONE COUNTRY ONE PEOPLE ???? The Marine and COASTAL AREA belongs to ALL NZers. N r Yate
Finlayson must be regarded as a NZ traitor Laurie
The NZ Coastline and ocean belongs to all the citizens of NZ. We all should have free access to and private enjoyment of our beaches and the sea Pierre
Not on your nelly! Maggie
I want to enjoy the beaches, when where and how I wish to as a public domain free from any claimant control. Hugh
Claimants relying on imagined facts should be treated as perjurers and penalised.  Anon 
They should have no more rights than the rest of New Zealanders Colin
Never!!..the seashore and seabed belong to ALL New Zealanders..not just one section..if that ever happens you will see large areas under total maori control and we..the rest of New Zealand wont be able to access it at all….Never.. Ray
ALL NZ citizens should hold the same rights. All Ocean/Sea boundaries should be accessible freely to all NZ citizens without any restrictions from non-Gov.t representatives/claimants. Nick
Claims shouldn’t be granted to any areas of our coastline. The Crown is the only rightful owner, regardless of what the law currently says. Terry
Labour and nz first should abolish the so called waitangi treaty because if they dont national will have the bunch of gready half caste up there backside so far you wont even see there soles of there feet, not only that but the amount of tax payer money that has been given to this group would have given our health system a shot in the arm that it realy needs now and in the future Richard
Ridiculous. Finlayson was weak. He didn’t negotiate anything with Maori. He just ceded to their demands. Pete
Absolutely not. This piece of National generated crap legislation must be wiped from the books and this nonsense removed from the records. This is even more evidence that Finlayson should be investigated for corruption. It’s also becoming very obvious why John Key scuttled out the back door in such a hurray.And he gets a knighthhood for it. It’s enough to make you vomit. Folks, if we don’t get binding referenda as the law of the country very soon we will just continue to skid down the sickly slopes of socialism to complete chaos. There was a time when politicians had some integrity but not any more. They are all very busy looking after themselves and we the people come a very distant second. Educate yourselves. See how the Swiss run their country. If we had a similar system none of the garbage that is going on in our political system would exist because we the people would have the last word on what becomes the law of the country. And with this new shower of water melons running the country we ain’t seen nothing yet. We may not recognise this country in 3 years time, that’s if Winny doesn’t blow the whole deal up first. Ronmac
Never Richard
Andrew Little, as the new Minister, must get the seabed and foreshore returned to Crown ownership for every citizen of New Zealand to use and enjoy. Members of the public want the beaches and foreshore to remain a public space for us all to enjoy. To give them to Maori will cause a revolution. Ernest
Lawyers for Maori litigants will be t pains to make their case. If this goes through, New it will be an unmitigated disaster for democracy and the rule of law.  John
For gosh sakes this whole thing should kicked! Ian
They should not get any rights, customary or otherwise, that all other kiwis do not get. Brenda
It’s wrong that a small group (of Maori) can deny the majority of the population the use of and access to our coastlands and seabed. I’s also wrong that those who wish to challenge claimants’ claims have to fund themselves while Maori claimants get well-funded – and then they say that’s not enough! Iwi = “I want it” (meaning “more”). Laurence
Peters has already walked away from his his promise to abolish Maori seats do lets see what he does with this issue!! Nev
It is very hard to comprehend the insanity of the claims! Henry
They should not be allowed to claim any of the foreshore or seabed. Steve
Never, Never, Never. We are one People, We are all equal. Rod
I assume that the claimants are Maori. Well stuff the lot of them. I have customary rights as well, cause I was born here also. What a load of shit this all is. This is 2017, not 1887. Put it to bed Jacinda. Graham
Customary rights should be for all of us Annette
Outrageous idea Jenny
No! This entire nonsense should be halted immediately. It is racist, divisive and the bewildering plethora of “claims” are not likely to all receive full consideration. And, even if they do, will NEVER be satisfactorily resolved due to the overlapping interests of the claimants. In the meantime, unless common sense and democracy are allowed to prevail, a great deal of public concern and dissent will be generated, and at what cost to taxpayers? Andrew Little and the Labour Party must sort this shambles out as a matter of urgency. It’s a sad fact that New Zealand finds itself in this ridiculous situation principally due to the short sighted and, IMHO, stupid behaviour of the previous National led administration.  Les
No…end of story. Brian
National have caused all this drama. Come back Helen warts and all Tom
I urge ALL NZealanders to email Andrew Little before we loose OUR coastline to GREEDY maoris/iwi. Cindy
Maori need to stop putting their hand out. Kevin
The Seabed and Foreshore belongs to ALL New Zealanders.. John
So todays maori want to claim exclusive use of the coast and seabed on a fictitious basis such as continued use. Then they should be able to prove they have the same % of maori blood as did the original holders. Frank
Absolutely not. Weak politicians are racially dividing New Zealand society. Future generations will pay the cost. Sam
The problem with customary rights is that they do not preclude future claims for exclusive ownership and exclusion for non customary rights holders. Alan
If New Zealand wants a civil war granting customary right might just be the trigger to start it. Ian
At a minimum the test of “exclusive use” should be applied – and the test should be literal and factual – not wobbly and grey. Mark
No.it’s tribal theft against the interests of all NZ citizens. Any complicit politician or lawyer is breaching their duties of office.  John
All such claims should be dismissed as this is one country and Maori were not the first people here Tom
I like many other Born and Bred New Zealanders are getting heartily fed up with New Zealand becoming a THEM & US Country…..seems for One Race that have forgotten that IF it was not for many of us they would not have what they already have –New Zealand belongs to US ” Kiwis.”  Marylin
Equal rights for all NZs Brian
This whole charade makes a mockery of the rights of New Zealanders to freely access & travel along our beaches and foreshore John
Winston Peters and Jacinda ( successor to Helen Clark ) should have the guts to reinstate the Foreshore and Seabed Act. After all Winston supported it last time. Wah
This Marine and Coastal Act grew like a boil under the last Government it has to stop. Bruce
Very disappointed by the NZ First party that no mention in the coalition agreement with Labour of anything Maori that was their bottom line. The whole Maori issues including the Maori language will be introduced in schools as a permanent subject, another word they are ramming the whole Maori culture down our throat, The only hope we had that Winston’s party will stop this nonsense, it seems that we were misled on this hugely important issue, What will the future hold for the next three years and beyond for all NZ taxpayer is increased and further burden produced by the Maoti gravy train. Frank
No – No – No – NO – NO – NO – NO -,do you get the message Ardern? Carl
No. National gave away NZ to Maori with both hands to hold on to the Treasury benches. The Labour coalition must hold its nerve and push back on this and other land grabs.  Kevin 
Again low %age Maori breeds are attempting to perpetuate the gains of the Treaty gravy train, paid for by taxpayers .Politicians bought by fear of losing power!  Alan
Ridiculous David
We are all New Zealanders and decision should be of benefit to all. There have been some idiot decisions made of late so please don’t make any more. John
As we are one people there is no valid reason to accept this provision that Maori have “a Custormery Right”. This division will eventually split this country wide apart, and if our Politicians have any moral backbone they will dismiss this as being unfair to the majority of New Zealanders. Brian
Definitely not! Trevor
This whole subject is a joke – but cannot hope for sane response from our friends on the left! Rob
Where would it all end… fishermen, jetskiers, sunbathers paying for access…  Pete
This will take many years to finalise, if at all. Compliance with both parts of Section 58 will be had to prove in most cases, so just let the claimants waste their dollars and senses RICHard
The entire foreshore and seabed should be in crown ownership except where it is already in private ownership. If the foreshore and seabed finishes up in Maori hands, then New Zealand becomes a fully fledged apartheid regime, except when it comes to paying the bills, the rest of New Zealand will be made to pay. A brief scan of what has happened so far and the legislation created at the hands of Chris Finlayson, will reveal the disastrous situation that follows all such appallingly botched hotch potch legislation. The country will then follow the path of other regimes where British Law has been abandoned in favour of returning countries to the rule of the natives. The legal fraternity stands to gain decades of massive windfalls at our expense and New Zealand faces a future of progressive degradation and mayhem. Dianna
Just another attempt at divisiveness. Govt should reassert ownership by the Crown. Graham
There were never any ownerships of our waterways before the people called Maori arrived it was used by every one. It was the national party that wanted maori to have ownership. Ian
It is greed and greed alone that is motivating the Maori activists Barry
Here is the biggest test whether the new Labour government is in the interests of all New Zealanders or an elite racial minority. Robin
There should be no customary rights to all coastal land whether or not it is regularly used by the public. Ron
Why should they have special rights. Jimmy
ALL New Zealanders should have free access to the foreshore and seabed. It should not be “OWNED” BY ANYONE Pat
The guiding principle is quite simple: one people, one law. Peter
Unqualified Racial division again? IAN
It would be racism at its worst Bruce
Definitely NO. We are all New Zealanders and Maori should stop trying to create an apartheid system. Arthur
Customary rights should not be granted to areas regularly used by the public under any circumstances.  Peter
This crap has the makings of the next NZ wars. If these claims succeed in any number there will be fighting on OUR beaches and people will be killed. Alan
NO! We Are One, We Are One, We are One. Bruce
How does this affect Marine Reserves, will maori be able to fish/gather in those? Rhonda
We are meant to be a people of %u2018One Nation%u2019 – as time goes on, and with repeated racist rants and claims like this with Maori subsidized by the taxpayer to make these hundreds of claims we are perpetuating an increasingly divisive identity political society based on Race – this has to stop! Hylton
No F………….. way Ian
Breach of British law that was guarenteed by treaty Terry
And a big big NO, so tribalisim rears its ugly head again,the long white cloud is fast becoming the long part brown cloud, we will soon be living in raupo huts and wearing grass skirts,and having the neighbours for dinner. James
Why should these greedy people wish to control our coasts?? because they want $$$$ for granting access. Any move to grant this outrage will lead to disorder and civil disobedience on a scale never seen in NZ. Andrew
Its time iwi regarded themselves as New Zealanders – just like the rest of us! … with equal rights for all! Donald
No way. The seashore is for everyone and is not part of the Treaty of Waitangi. This new minister must not go soft like the previous one but make sure Maori have no exclusive right to the seashore and seabed. This is just another way of Maori activists claiming something that extract money from. Frank
Most people are alseep to this proposal which is hugely divisive.  Roger
Who has the balls to stop this Maori bullshit! All claims should be ripped up up and this stupidity must stop. If Maoris think they own the seabed, I suggest that they occupy it for at least 24 hours … enough time for full tide to come and go out a couple of times. That should solve this problem and let decent citizens get on with our lives and save the millions of dollars that these losers are costing the nation. Des
There are no chosen people in NZ so the claimants should try becoming New Zealanders and give up being the “I wanta tribes” titles. The other point is we need strong government to be able to say NO to ridiculous claims. Elizabeth
This racist nonsense must be defeated. The ‘tribal elite benefitting from this are nothing more than a protection racket. Their continued influence is an outrage. David 
Absolutely NO. For one thing, I am so glad that Finlayson has gone, although I think his influence will still be there. It’s still the old gravy train. It’s a real shambles and sorry state for the people of New Zealand. This should never have come to pass. The law passed by Helen Clark, was to my mind, the only great thing she did, whereas the worst thing John Key has did was to cancel that law, for which I hope he will always regret. As a NZ citizen attending the hearing against the claims, it was just another debacle as anyone against the repeal was treated with contempt and actually ignored, as I was when addressing the panel. What a legacy to leave to future generations, and we are so concerned about climate change. Wake up people. Audrey
Just one more conn job Collin
Absolutely no way. TIM
One Country one people ALL treated exactly the same. One rule for all ! Andrew
If the politicians, of any shade, see potential votes in pursuing this fiasco follow it they will. After all being in power is what being a politician is all about and it does not really matter if the decisions made are for the benefit of the country as a whole. It is time that the wallies in the beehive worked for the whole of New Zealand not just the very vociferous minority. Tony
No. But this has all come about thanks to devious, weak and misleading National Party policies and principles under Bill English and John Key through their disregarding of National’s very own policies and principles. Corrupt politicians? John Key arranged & assigned many million NZ dollars to The Clinton Foundation to feed what now appears to be Hillary Clinton’s and by association the Democrats massive corrupt financial bank. How close was John Key to Hillary & Obama to surprisingly resigned when Hillary lost her Presidential race?  Stuart
This is stupid it belongs to all Kiwis Dave
Absolutely bizarre that NZ as a non racist whole now faces another generation of claims settlements and angst as a consequence of a NATIONAL govmnt! Dick
Time to acknowledge the fact the maori were not the first people living in this land and have no more claim to it than later immigrants. At least the later immigrants gave the maori a treaty not what the Maori gave the former inhabitants . A spear in the guts and a hangi grave. Peter
No one owns our coastline It belongs to all New Zealanders and customary rights is bollocks when discussing our Coast line and beaches. Kevin
There are no people that have an exclusively Maori bloodline. Findlayson started a lolly scramble for those with some Maori ancestry and they are participating in it regardless of the history of the areas concerned. They have nothing to loose and everthing to gain  Arthur 
NO NO NO NO Carolyn
We are now reaching a disaster point Maori are going to take control of our Rights as to use our beaches & foreshore.what a mess the National Party rty have created  Ian
Its everyones right to use our coastlines for recreational uses, having one body dictate that is stupid and only leads to fighting for resources. Kevin 
Absolutely not. Those arrogant twats should stay on their Maraes and do something useful like reducing the Maori prison population and teaching their men that violence is unacceptable. JON
…Finlayson hopefully will be sent to the ‘garbage hole’ of History….a traitor in full swing NO MORE…. Andrew Little has this moment in hHstory to repair the damage administered by the named traitor…!!! Christopher
Bugger that! Jim 
We simply cannot allow our country to fall into this racially divisive mess.  Hugh
One law One nation More cash for the judicial folk Property rights are under attack in this great country of ours The globalist web of global control iaka Agenda 21 – along with Technocracy is incrementally stealing our freedoms Please Kiwis check out and research this creeping evil before it is to late!! The seabed and foreshore is one such tentacle Ross
Absolutely not! Customary title is only for areas that are not used by anyone else – and there are none of those left in NZ!  Murray
It is incredible if Maori can gain the right to coastal areas used by other people. That’s not how the law was ‘sold’ to everyone.  Paul
I feel so angry about what is going on. The public is being abused by politicians left, right and centre! Jenny
The coast belongs to us all. The Government should be ensuring it is not privatised. Instead they are bending over backwards to give it to Maori. Disgusting really. Michael
National deserved to lose the election for the double-crossing they did over the coast. They are ensuring the whole area goes into tribal control – unless Labour remember how important public ownership used to be for them! Bert