"The foreshore and seabed is to be removed from Crown ownership and any "uninvestigated" Maori customary title extinguished by the last Labour Government's contentious Foreshore and Seabed Act will be restored, under proposals just announced.
A discussion document released today outlines the Government's proposals for what should replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act once it is repealed.
It says the Government believes it is time for a new approach to ownership.
"Instead of identifying an owner, the new legislation would explicitly provide that no one can own the foreshore and seabed. It will be declared to be a public domain."First thought - maori own it - if that belief is given up we may as well roll over entirely.
"The public domain proposal would see New Zealanders' rights and interests recognised, rather than being concerned with ownership.
The Government also proposed to restore the right to go to court to establish customary title as a form of recognition to parts of the foreshore and seabed, where this could be proved.
This would see the courts apply common law principles derived from Canada's experience of customary title and Maori tikanga.
But while Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia welcomed the Government's commitment to repealing the act today, she suggested that Maori might "struggle" with its proposals.
"I encourage our people, who might be struggling with those proposals, to seek guidance from their hapu, to return home to those hapu who have, for generation after generation, cared for te takutai moana on behalf of us all.
"Our priority is repeal - we promised our people we'd get it so that's our main objective. Beyond repeal is to get the best deal for our mokopuna," Mrs Turia said.That line is a real worry. Repeal is just repeal, not a solution. Just getting a repeal is important but no where near enough and if getting a repeal is the big win and the maori party promote themselves because of that, then we need another maori party in parliment.
She hoped that repealing the act would bring an end to the "mamae, hurt and injustices our people have had to endure", she said.We will see if the hurts and injustices are soothed by this.