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Council and iwi agree on seabed bill opposition

7 July 2004

Kapiti Coast District Council and local iwi are united in urging the Government to abandon the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

Kapiti Mayor Alan Milne and nine councillors, supported by two local iwi representatives, reached a consensus at a workshop this week that a submission on the bill would propose it be withdrawn.

Councillors wanted to tell the Government of their concern that potential property rights would be extinguished by the bill.

They believed the implications of the Appeal Court decision that prompted the legislation needed to be followed through and there needed to be clarification of the status of customary title and its ramifications through the courts.

Councillors agreed foreshore access was hugely important to their entire community and believed all people should have access to it.

A perceived threat to public access to local beaches, however, was a red herring.

Councillor Alan Tristram believed the council's decision gave a clear message to Government that councils were worried about the morality of its actions.

Te Runanga a Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai operations manager Damian Parata said he was pleased he and Runanga chairman Jack Rikihana had been included in the council's workshop on the issue.

Councillors were concerned the bill would provoke extensive debates about the scale and nature of customary activities and pose unknown cost implications for the council and applicants.

Mr Milne was worried it could affect the council's ability to carry out essential works such as seawalls and stormwater discharge.

"The workshop was a very good example of cooperation between councillors and iwi being able to discuss matters of significant concern to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion," he said.

The Dominion Post
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2004

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