It’s no big deal when there’s no beach

The missus is chiding Alf for failing to record the Government’s decision to review the Foreshore and Seabed legislation – the stuff that got people hot and bothered a few years back when the Clark Government passed it into law.

A slip-up?

Not necessarily. Alf can’t imagine Eketahuna folk being at all interested, since we have no foreshores or seabeds in our immediate vicinity.

But if constituents are bursting to read all about it, the terms of reference and members of the Government’s ministerial panel to review the Foreshore and Seabed Act were announced yesterday by Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson.

The PM and Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia welcomed the review.

The review by an expert Ministerial panel will investigate whether the Foreshore and Seabed Act is the best way to address Maori customary rights, and balance these with all New Zealanders’ rights to access beaches.
“The National-led Government recognises the concerns of the Maori Party around the Foreshore and Seabed Act,” says Mr Key. “Likewise, the Maori Party recognises the public interest and concern of all New Zealanders to ensure that their usage of the foreshore and seabed is protected.”

Then there’s a heap of hoopla about the government taking pride in delivering on this part of the Confidence and Supply agreement between the Nats and the Maori Party, and about an enduring and constructive relationship between the two parties, and about the issue going back to the foundations of the Maori Party.

And dear old Tariana Turia says –

“We want to put right an injustice that should never have happened, but we do not want to create another injustice for anyone else. We have said the Act should be repealed, and we are certainly open to hear what the panel might recommend about the best way forward for the country.”

Alf’s only twinge was induced by the make-up of the three-person Ministerial panel.

It will be chaired by former High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Justice Edward Taihakurei Durie.

The other members are barrister Richard Boast, an Associate Professor at Victoria University specialising in property law and Maori legal issues, and Hana O’Regan, an educationalist specialising in Maori culture and identity.

Seems to Alf the deck’s been stacked, ethnically speaking.

The panel will provide a written report to Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson by 30 June

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