Most parties support most clauses of MaCA

 Politics is usually reported as black and white with differences highlighted and areas of agreement ignored.

If you’d listened to yesterday’s debate on the Marine and Coastal Areas legislation and read stories about it you’d think that only National and the Maori Party supported any of it.  But Audrey Young reports that most parties support most of the bill’s clauses:


All parties, and Hone Harawira support the repeal of Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed 2004 Act.

All parties support the right of Iwi to go to court – Harawira doesn’t because he thinks they already own the area in contention.

National and United Future support the proposed test; the Maori Party thinks the test should be easier; Labour thinks the test should be left to courts; Act and Green want it left to the courts and Harawira opposes this clause.

National, the Maori Party and UF, support allowing Iwi to negotiate directly with government instead of going to court; Labour agrees but want the decision ratified by the courts not parliament; the Green Party supports this but under tests outlined by the courts and Harawira opposes it.

All parties and Harawiara support the ban of sales of areas under customary title.

All agree that public access to these areas should be guaranteed.

National, the Maori Party, UF, Act and Labour don’t want to do anything about the 12,500 private titles that include parts of the foreshore and seabed. The Greens want these titles treated the same way as customary title (ie public access and no sale) and Harawira wants them all under Maori title.

National, the Maori Party and UF support the MaCA Bill, the other three parties and Harawira oppose it.

The most vehement opposition from outside parliament is from people who think they’ll lose access to beaches.

Legislation doesn’t apply to beaches – it applies to the foreshore and seabed, the bit from the high tide mark to the 12 mile limit – and everyone in parliament agrees that public access should be guaranteed.

So why all the fuss when most parties agree on most clauses and public access will be guaranteed by all of them?

28 Responses to Most parties support most clauses of MaCA

  1. Inventory2 says:

    Excellent post Ele. It was interesting to hear even some of those who opposed certain clauses yesterday describe the Coastal Coalition’s rhetoric as over the top.

  2. Tired Farmer says:

    Not so long ago at a National Party meeting at Gore, Bill English defended the Govt’s stance re the MaCA debacle, saying they needed the Maori Party support to stay in power.

    On reading the Maori Parties latest publication, “Keeping our promise, Maori Party Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana Bill) Feb 2011
    it is surprising that instead the Nat’s have not carried out their original proposal, to abolish the Maori seats.

  3. robertguyton says:

    What a ripper of a comment Tired Farmer. I admire your honesty.

  4. homepaddock says:

    I wasn’t at that meeting but suspect Tired Farmer misunderstood Bill.

    National didn’t have to enter into coalition with the Maori Party but did so for several reasons, one of which was, in the spirit of MMP to broaden the government, another was to reduce the need to rely on Act for every piece of legislation.

    Entering a coaltion requires both concensus and compromise. Agreeing not to abolish the Maori seats and to repeal the Foreshore & Seabed Act was part of the deal.

    That’s what happens with MMP – a party can’t implement all its policies when it’s in a coalition. It will have some policies it will stand firm on in coalition negotiations and some it has to give way on.

  5. robertguyton says:

    You misunderstood Bill, Tired Farmer, apparently.
    Actually, we all misunderstood him, when we heard him on the tape recording from the infamous ‘cocktail party’ where he and his fellow MPs discussed the things they would need to do to get elected – misunderstandings all round. There’s a lot of it about, apparently.

  6. Gooner says:

    Ele, I’ve read this and IV2’s take on it over @ his place.

    A simple question: Do you think it is right for someone to be able to object to development on land in the coastal and marine area purely because of their race?

    Or do you think that is wrong?

  7. Sally says:

    As H L Mencken said
    “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” and

    “Looking for an honest politician is like looking for an ethical burglar.”

  8. homepaddock says:

    Gooner – Yes that would be wrong and that’s not what the MaCA does.

    It’s not giving anyone rights because of race but because all people should have the right to go to court.

  9. Sally says:

    Murial Newman who I believe does her homework says “…National has ruled out the need for iwi to have to prove their ‘claims’ in a court of law, instead allowing deals to transfer millions if not billions of dollars worth of public assets to private corporations through secret negotiations with a friendly Minister.”

    IMHO National Party supporters are doing our country a huge disservice .

  10. Gooner says:

    No, you’re wrong Ele. The MaCA allwos Maori within the coastal and marine area to object on special grounds, but Europeans owning the same land within the same area are not able to do.

    As Tariana Turia says: The new bill acknowledges that ALL coastal iwi have connections to the coast. Their mana tuku iho (inherent authority) entitles them to protect their wahi tapu and to be consulted on conservation and resource-management issues.

    They have these entitlements because of their race. No other reason. Eurpoeans do not have this right.

    Another question: Do you think it is right for a common law test, whether it be for customary title or whatever, to be codified, and restricted by legislation, while at the same allowing for direct claims under that test to be solved by politicians.

    Or do you think that is the domain of our courts?

  11. Sally says:

    “The bill repeals the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act and restores to Maori the right to seek customary title to parts of the coastline through the High Court or BY NEGIOTIATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT.” ODT 17-3-11. (Capitals my emphasis)

    Hilary Calvert – “Those people who threaten and cajole the public now will continue to do so when this bill becomes law,” she said.

    As Albert Einstein said “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” And I am afraid that is what is happening in this country today from those we would expect to know better.

  12. homepaddock says:

    Sally – going to court hasn’t been ruled out. Iwi have the choice of going to court or dealing directly with a Minister then it goes before parliament so it’s in the open.

    Gooner – Customary title comes because Maori are the the people who happened to get to NZ first. The test required under the bill of continuous use is very tough which is why some Maori oppose it – they think it’s too tough.

    If Labour hadn’t panicked with the 2004 Act(and National is partly to blame for causing that panic) it would all have been left to the courts. That would be my preference but I don’t oppose direct negotiation with the Minister providing it goes before parliament so it’s public.

  13. Gooner says:

    Customary title comes because Maori are the the people who happened to get to NZ first. The test required under the bill of continuous use is very tough which is why some Maori oppose it – they think it’s too tough.

    I am astonished to read this response. It is totally wrong.

    We have a system that uses separation of powers as a checks and balance on parliamentary sovereignty. This check and balance has been totally removed by this Bill, which codifies the test, and allows for Maori to circumvent the courts to negotiate directly with the A-G. As Hilary Calvert says, why don’t we just remove the courts totally and give Iwi their own title? That’s effectively what you are suggesting. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    There is plenty of historical evidence that suggests Maori were not here first. Te Tiriti provides the basis of customary title, not some archaic “we were here first” argument.

    This Bill is wrong, wrong, wrong. And National Party stalwarts such as yourself and Veteran over at No Minister should be seeing right through this. It’s sad to me that you are not.

    As Tariana says herself “This bill takes us a step forward. It is not all that the Maori Party hoped for…It doesn’t settle the issues but it keeps them alive.”

    Hardly the enduring and certain solution Mr Finlayson is suggesting.

  14. homepaddock says:

    Gooner – you are right, I was wrong about being here first. That is in dispute and irrelevant.

    I was trying to differentiate between what you see as a right predicated on race and what I see as a right given to people because they’re people and anyone else who could make the same claim would have the same right. It’s just that Maori happen to be the only ones who can.

  15. Sally says:

    Ele the Bill has too many flaws. The future well being of our country is at stake if this Bill proceeds.

    John Key and Finlayson have no mandate to repeal Crown ownership of our coast.

    “If we create rights for some New Zealanders and not others, then we start down a very sure and slippery slope to anarchy,” says leader Peter Dunne. (July 28, 2003)

  16. homepaddock says:

    Sally – customary title isn’t ownership and the right to go to court is one everyone should have – not restoring that right to Maori would be treating them differently and unfairly.

  17. Sally says:

    Sorry Ele you are not listening to the concerns many thinking people have with this disingenuous Bill. As Atrout says at NBR this morning “Race relations will deteriorate substantially along with the quality of life for those who are given race based privilege.” Apparently Atrout has seen first hand the results in North America of what conflicted (IMHO) Finlayson is basing his Bill on.

    The Bill must not proceed and become law.

    Please tell me why it is so urgent for Key & Finlayson to have the Bill passed.

  18. Tired Farmer says:

    Ali,you fight the good fight for National,but as you tend to shoot yourself in the foot, I am glad that conscription to serve in the ranks with you is (not yet?)mandatory!

  19. Tired Farmer says:

    My apologies Ele, for calling you Ali, must have been because I had mentioned your tenacity to fight in Nationals defence.

  20. robertguyton says:

    “Please tell me why it is so urgent for Key & Finlayson to have the Bill passed.”

    Your question is to Ele I know, but if I may have a go at it.

    National desperately need the Maori Party as a coalition partner – the Maori Party desperately need to reward their Maori elite backers with access to the riches of the Takutai Moana and it all has to be done before the election. Hone had to go and has.
    How’s that?
    * Hat tip Tired Farmer

  21. Gooner says:

    customary title isn’t ownership and the right to go to court is one everyone should have – not restoring that right to Maori would be treating them differently and unfairly.

    No, customary title isn’t ownership, it’s better than that.

    If one owns a fee simple (commonly caleld freehold) title, upon the death of the last remaining survivor, the land reverts to the crown.

    But with maori customary title, there cannot ever be the situation where there is no survivor, because an iwi or hapu member can be the “survivor”. So the land can never revert to the crown. This is a right no other landowner in NZ gets, and is based on race.

  22. homepaddock says:

    Sally – Why is it urgent? When you reach a point in a discussion where you’ve got as much common ground as you’re going to get there’s no point in delaying further.

    Gooner – You can sell a property with a freehold title, you can’t sell a cutomary title.

  23. Sally says:

    Robert I believe you are correct. But here is another take from Lucia Maria at CR who says:

    “National are doing this not to stay in power, but in order to enrich the in-crowd. We’d need very good investigative journalists to root out exactly who will benefit how. I bet only the in-crowd knows right now and they aren’t talking.”

    Food for thought? Yes!

    Sadly what this country and its MSM lack are good investigative journalists.

  24. robertguyton says:

    Like you Sally, I ‘follow the money’ – it usually leads to something unpleasant.

  25. Richard says:

    Firstly, Robert, please tell me- who are the Maori elite?

  26. Richard says:

    And this from Moana Jackson on customary title- no slug on these issues:
    “However that “Maori customary title” is not the title exercised by Iwi and Hapu prior to 1840. Neither is it the full and exclusive title guaranteed in the Treaty of Waitangi. Rather it is a limited bundle of rights subject ultimately to the presumed authority of the Crown to define their limit and extent. They are necessarily subordinate rights. For example they are less than those that might be held by a Pakeha person with land contiguous to the foreshore and seabed. Indeed the Crown has stated several times that while they are a “property interest” they are something less than a freehold title. That is not only discriminatory but a blatant redefinition of tino rangatiratanga and any accepted understanding of mana tuku iho.”
    That is one of the gripes Maori have

  27. robertguyton says:

    Richard – clue: they are not found at the flaxroot.

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