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12 July 2004
& Other Sea-Related Legislative Committee
SUBMISSION ON THE FORESHORE & SEABED BILL
This submission is presented on
behalf of the Pacific Institute of Resource Management. The Institute is an
Incorporated Society concerned with environmental and social justice issues.
It publishes the "Pacific Ecologist" journal.
The Institute understands the
Government’s desire to clarify the general status of and the rights that
may exist in the foreshore and seabed. There are no easy answers to these
problems of legal definition. The
attempt to resolve these issues by vesting ownership of the foreshore and
seabed in the Crown and dealing with other rights from this absolute
position while apparently expedient, transgresses obligations that arise
from the Treaty of Waitangi and international human rights conventions to
is a signatory. The
Institute therefore opposes the Bill and urges the Government to seek other
means of resolution.
The Waitangi Tribunal report on
foreshore and seabed policy has found that the policy now couched in the
Foreshore and Seabed Bill was in breach of Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty of
Waitangi, without justification for these to be overridden. The Tribunal
also found that there was a disregard for the Treaty principles of active
protection of Maori interests, equity and options and that there was
limitation of the principle of redress. These findings of a statutory body
with access to expert counsel and nearly three decades of experience are of
themselves sufficient to demand abandonment of the Bill.
Clauses 8 to 10 inclusive of the
Bill which effectively remove the present rights to declaration of the
status of Maori customary rights transgress international conventions that
protect the right of access to and protection of the law and the right to
own property and not be deprived of it. The effective expropriation of
property rights by this Bill, in applying only to Maori, breaches the right
to freedom from racial discrimination. If
this Bill were to be enacted in the face of the Waitangi Tribunal’s
considered opinion and the manifest disapproval of a large body of Maori, it
would unquestionably break the convention that no decision directly related
to the rights and interests of indigenous people is to be taken without
their informed consent.
The Bill is fundamentally unjust in
creating certainty for the Government and third parties at the expense of
indigenous title. The benefits arising from declaration of ancestral
connection and customary rights in Parts 3 and 4 of the Bill are vague,
restricted by other Acts and by limitations on scale, extent and frequency.
This is grossly inadequate recompense for the loss of access to property
rights. The onus of proving
ancestral connection or customary rights is excessive. The proposal that
customary rights can only be as defined and limited by the Government is
frankly insulting to a Treaty partner.
The Bill ignores not only matters of
equity between Treaty partners, but also between different iwi and hapu.
Inequity follows from a history of past settlements that have either led to
Government acquisition by formal deeds and purchases as opposed to the
Bill’s acquisition by declaration, or to cooperative agreements for the
management of territory.
The Institute also has concerns
regarding Government ownership itself, despite the provisions to prevent
alienation. The active participation of the Crown in a globalised market
that exploits people and resources makes the sale of foreshore and seabed a
distinct possibility either as a commercial imperative or in accordance with
international treaty obligations.
Lastly, the Institute believes that
the Bill, rather than providing a just and lasting solution will lead to
persistent grievances and their attendant legal actions and social
disruption. We urge the
abandonment of the Bill and, as recommended by the Waitangi tribunal, a
reopening of dialogue between the Crown and Maori, aiming for a negotiated
agreement that respects the Treaty of Waitangi and international conventions
while providing for access and inalienability related to the foreshore and
seabed that most New Zealanders would wish.
By proceeding with this Bill the Government will miss an opportunity
to find amore agreeable and just solution to the foreshore and seabed issue
to ensure a peaceful and co-operative future.
The Pacific Institute of Resource
Management would welcome the opportunity to make an oral
presentation to the Select Committee.
Pacific Institute of Resource Management.
29 July 2004
FORESHORE & SEABED SELECT COMMITTEE HEARING
The lack of any environmental ethic or
philosophy in the government’s foreshore/seabed bill is disturbing. At a basic
level this shows lack of appreciation of traditional Maori tikanga relating to
marine resources and the marine environment. It’s disturbing also considering
the huge problems we humans face these days with severe ecological problems such
as climate change, over-fishing, and pollution of natural resources, water, sea,
air etc. These matters threaten the
survival of societies globally relatively intact later this century and survival
of people in the next centuries.
Considering these very serious matters -
beneath the gloss and glitter of today’s world - and to help mend the rift
growing in Aotearoa/New Zealand over the foreshore and seabed bill, we support
infusing any further developments or legislation regarding the foreshore and
seabed with concepts - leading to practices - incorporating Maori respect and
stewardship of the environment - as held by traditional Maori tikanga.
Angeline Greensill expresses these
concepts and practices graphically in her article in Pacific Ecologist, double
issue 7/8 autumn winter 2004 - pp 55-59. She comments how her iwi “rest and
restore and restore degraded places, impose rahui and plant kai. By carrying
out these practices we ensure that current generations and those about to be
born are provided for and equipped with the knowledge and skills required to
carry out their roles as tangata manaaki when we have ceased to physically
exist. We allow strangers to drive
through our land to the beach to enjoy its healing qualities and to experience
a peace often lacking in the urban spaces they normally occupy.”
Angeline also refers to her iwi’s repugnance for the local
council’s practise of discharging waste-water and storm water into Tangaroa
with impunity and comments on how the Kohanga Reo pre-school children have to
spend their time continuously cleaning up after people who have no idea how to
interact with the moana in a responsible and respectful way.
As custodians of the coast Angeline and her people care for the
environment in a fundamental way.
Maori traditional tikanga - National
It is the Institute’s understanding
that such care and stewardship for the environment through traditional Maori
tikanga is a national treasure, which the government should be fostering, and
educating all of our people about.
Maori ecological knowledge - for example
customary marine tenure, and many other exercises
- are a treasury of wise practices that should be being developed into a
moral code with social institutions to maintain them.
This is proposed by Jim Williams, Pukenga lecturer in Te Tumu,
- see issue 2 of Pacific Ecologist, winter 2002.
He says: “Good
conservation, requires more than just knowledge and sound practise.”
Among some of the many wise practices he
reports are: “In traditional
times, we are told the harvest of most resources focussed on not the larger, but
the mid-size individuals. Not only did the first fish caught go back to
propitiate takaroa, so did many an oversize species, not actually being
As Dr Williams says: “In order to
survive, human society must maximise all available knowledge, emotionally
involve the people and educate new generations in the traditions.”
The Bill is basically racist, so must be
rejected. It allows private ownership of foreshore property and sovereignty for
those already holding such title - but disallows Maori, who hold communal title
to have sovereignty over their land. It is insupportable for the Crown to think
it will decide what customary rights are and seek to redefine iwi or hapu
according to some corporate model. Education of all the people of Aotearoa is
the key to undoing racism, discrimination and lack of respect for the Treaty of
Waitangi, and Waitangi Tribunal rulings; and education is the key to lack of
respect or knowledge on the need to care for the environment on which we all
depend fundamentally to sustain our lives and communities.
Institute of Resource Management