Foreshore and seabed information   |   Indigenous peoples' rights

Government must ditch discriminatory law

13 March 2005

The Government should take note of a UN body describing the Foreshore and Seabed Act as "discriminatory" by repealing it, the Green Party says.

"New Zealand's international reputation is now sullied because of this Government's indecent haste to disenfranchise Maori," Green Maori Affairs Spokesperson Metiria Turei said. "The Government has passed into law racist legislation that has now been criticised, not just by thousands of New Zealanders but also by the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination."

Ms Turei said the Government should repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act and reinstate the opportunity to seek customary title of the foreshore and seabed in accordance with the Court of Appeal decision.

"Repealing the legislation is the only honourable step the Government can take to restore the community's faith in the Government. We already know that the Act infringes te Tiriti o Waitangi and the rule of law. Now it seems it might also infringe the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, of which New Zealand is a signatory."

Ms Turei said the UN committee's decision was the latest nail in the coffin of the legislation.

"The Government said that Crown ownership would protect the ecological values of the coast and prevent sale of this precious resource. But the Government's consideration of an application for a Chinese ironsand company to mine 3617 square kilometres of the seabed shows that crown ownership was always intended to allow the coast to be sold off to the highest bidder.

"The Government has risked our marine environment, discriminated against Maori and failed the whole community with this stupid legislation. If the Government won't listen to its own people, maybe it'll listen to the international community that has now also condemned this legislation."

Metiria Turei

'Race', 'Privilege', and 'The Treaty'   |   Peace Movement Aotearoa