By: David Fox
An unfortunate political arrangement drives the proposed Marine and Coastal Act Bill.
There are a lot of issues and matters that upset each and every one of us, but most we let slide by.
The Select Committee
I had never felt sufficiently moved to appear before a select committee before but in this instance felt compelled to do so. I appeared before the Maori Select Committee to submit against the proposed Bill – a political arrangement by National and the Maori Party to retain political power without regard for the long term consequences for New Zealanders and future generations of Kiwis.
I stated that I was far from impressed by the structure, the legalese and wording of the proposed Bill, but even more importantly by my concerns regarding the potentially severe, adverse economic and social effects on all New Zealanders – money for some, inequality for others.
The imprecise and frighteningly interpretative nature of the Bill appears designed to give Maori ownership of the seabed without this being abundantly clear to all New Zealanders. It should be unacceptable for such a vague piece of legislation to be passed by Parliament – it may take years of litigation to determine what the words in the Act actually mean and unfortunately legal arguments are based on the written word, not on what Parliament’s very mixed and obscure intentions may have been.
The Fisheries Act deals with the allocation of fish stocks while the Treaty of Waitangi settlements have dealt with land claims. The seabed covering New Zealand’s economic zone with ALL of its potential wealth should be available for the economic benefit of ALL Kiwis.
The criteria for customary claims to succeed appear to be so loose that most claims would be unable to withstand Court scrutiny. The Bill appears to propose that most customary claims will be settled between the political parties of the day and thus any Court overview avoided.
It is clear that Kiwi’s admire and relate to many aspects of Maori culture and are keen to see Maori prosper, but that this should be achieved in a more positive way by assistance with such things as health, education and housing.
One of my fundamental moral views is that everyone should be treated fairly and equally and to this effect I believe the assets and profits of New Zealand’s economic zone should be owned by the government for ALL New Zealanders. I think that John Key will be letting the nation down and creating a diabolical never ending litigious circus, with all its uncertainties for future generations, just so National can merely gain political power at this point in time.
I encourage you to take a stand on this issue.