Michael Cullen has done a mea culpa and admitted Labour got the Foreshore and Seabed Act wrong.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris FInlayson has responded graciously with an acknowledgement on the importance of a non-partisan approach:
“I agree completely with Dr Cullen’s sentiment that the review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act needs to be approached in a non-partisan way, and that the issue should not be used as a political football.
“I welcome his assurance that the Labour Party will engage constructively with the review. Our goal is to reach the best possible outcome for Maori and all the people of New Zealand, and it is important that the voices of all parties in Parliament are heard.”
I am pleased he’s done that because it’s the right thing to do and because National didn’t get its stance on the issue right either.
The issue is one of property rights and the case should have been heard in court. If the result found in the Maori’s favour it wouldn’t have meant anyone was barred from beaches, but it would have meant the legal owners would have been owed compensation for any compromise of or interference with their property rights.
This is an issue farmers ought to have a lot of sympathy for because similar principles are involved in access to and through farmland.