10 Dec 2010

Labour alternative means nothing to Maori - iwi

10:01 am on 10 December 2010

A South Island iwi says the Labour Party's plan to create an alternative to the Marine and Coastal Area Bill means nothing to Maori.

Labour has pulled its support for the legislation, leaving the Government with a majority of two votes to pass it.

An alternative plan proposed by Labour would guarantee free public access in law, while allowing Maori to take all aspects of their claims to customary rights and title to court.

The court would set the threshold of proof of ownership.

Ngati Tama Mana Whenua ki te tau ihu chairman Fred Te Miha says the alternative still means Maori would have to prove their customary title.

He says there should not be any foreshore and seabed legislation at all.

Change of tack welcomed by Jackson

Maori lawyer Moana Jackson is welcoming Labour's decision to drop its support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

But he says the alternative suggested by leader Phil Goff amounts to no real change.

Waatea News reports Mr Goff has suggested going back to the position that prevailed before the Foreshore and Seabed Act, as long as any land that goes under customary title can't be sold and there is guaranteed public access.

Mr Jackson says that's the basic discriminatory aspect of the 2004 Act.