Foreshore and seabed information   |   Foreshore and seabed review and repeal

Prime Minister's announcement on
Foreshore and Seabed Act repeal

14 June 2010

Speaking notes from Post Cabinet Press Conference on Foreshore and Seabed

As you all know, this morning I met the Maori Party leadership and Iwi Leaders Group to discuss the foreshore and seabed issue.

The desire to find an alternative to the Foreshore and Seabed legislation Act was an important part of our Confidence and Supply agreement with the Maori Party. It has been my view as Prime Minister that it's important for the nation to settle these issues so it does not remain as a weeping sore that would have to be addressed at some stage by a future government.

I particularly want to thank the Iwi Leaders Group, and the Maori Party, for the constructive and pragmatic way they have approached these negotiations. I also want to thank the many thousands of New Zealanders who have been involved in the consultation process over the past few months.

I can report that the National government, the Maori Party, and iwi leaders, have agreed a common position on the foreshore and seabed issue.

Today Cabinet has in agreement with the Maori Party made the following decisions:

    - The 2004 Act will be repealed and replaced with new legislation;

    - The foreshore and seabed area currently vested in Crown ownership will be replaced by a public space which is incapable of being owned in a fee simple sense;

      - existing Maori and Pakeha private titles would continue unaffected

      - this is the proposal that to date has been labelled 'public domain'

      - the name may change but the essence of the proposal is the same

    - Customary title and customary rights will be recognised through access to justice in a new High Court process or through direct negotiations with the Crown

    - To establish customary title, mandated iwi will need to meet a number of tests. The test for customary rights and for customary title under a replacement regime will be the same as in the consultation document. The Government is satisfied that the test as articulated in the consultation document reflects the position we think the Courts would have come to if the previous government had not imposed the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

      - Public access, and existing navigation and fishing rights will be protected.

Drafting will commence on a bill which we hope to introduce in August. Over coming weeks we will seek to build support from other political parties.

There will be a select committee process to allow further public submissions, with a view to a replacement Act being put in place by the end of this year.

John Key

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