4 Nov 2009

Greens warn any foreshore changes may hurt small groups

8:09 pm on 4 November 2009

The Green Party is warning that any new foreshore and seabed settlement must not override the interests of smaller iwi, hapu and whanau groups.

Co-leader Metiria Turei told Waatea News the Maori Party is to be congratulated for getting the Government to consider repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Attorney General and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson have prepared a ministerial review of the controversial law, and Cabinet has opted to have more consultation on a possible replacement.

Ms Turei says she is not confident the Maori Party can protect small iwi who cannot afford to pursue their interests through the courts.

She says says smaller groups often turn up at select committee hearings to beg the politicians to protect their rights.

No victory yet - Jones

Labour Maori MP Shane Jones says a declaration of victory over the foreshore and seabed is premature.

Mr Jones, speaking to Waatea News, says the Maori Party has been raising unrealistic expectations among supporters about what is possible.

He says Ngati Porou has shown a negotiated approach to coastal rights under the existing Act is possible.

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says while good progress is being made on replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, National will not be rushing any legislation.

She told Waatea News that under the leadership of Chris Finlayson a lot of work has been done with the Maori Party, the iwi leadership group, and other interested parties.