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?