9 Sep 2010

Foreshore bill's test too high, says iwi leader

4:58 pm on 9 September 2010

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill sets too high a test for Maori to win back their customary rights to foreshore and seabed, says a Far North iwi leader.

Haami Piripi from Te Runanga o Te Rarawa says Far North tribes have been trying for more than 50 years to get recognition of their rights to Ninety Mile Beach.

He says the bill contains no provisions for iwi to get funding for legal aid or other sources for research, litigation or negotiation.

He says Maori can gain little but bragging rights if they win a customary rights claim, but the bill provides a mechanism for councils and port companies to gain fee simple title to reclaimed land - which has been created by the destruction of customary interests.

A Tauranga moana iwi leader has also criticised the bill, saying it will not help his people get back their customary rights to the foreshore and seabed.

Colin Bidois says the region's iwi now have two Waitangi Tribunal reports spelling out how the confiscations of the 1860s and later had impoverished them and damaged their connection to the land.

But the injustice of that raupatu is not addressed, he says, in the bill agreed on between the National and Maori parties.