Friday, June 18, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
by CLAIRE TREVETT - 15 June 2010
New Zealand Maori have won the right to seek customary foreshore and seabed title – which would bring benefits similar to freehold title rights – after reaching a historic accord with the Government.
The deal includes commercial development rights and veto over other developments.
Iwi leaders and the Maori Party emerged from talks with Prime Minister John Key yesterday to announce agreement on a proposal to replace the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act by the end of the year.
The deal is, in effect, the same as one the Government presented as its preferred option in April – the foreshore and seabed will be owned by no-one, but iwi can seek rights, including customary title.
Customary title was prevented by the 2004 act, which put the foreshore and seabed into Crown ownership.
The Maori Party welcomed the deal, which will achieve its goal of repealing the 2004 legislation, but made it clear the Government's refusal to consider other forms of ownership remained contentious.
The party and iwi leaders had sought a form of Maori ownership, and co-leader Tariana Turia said there was concern among Maori about what public domain meant.
"But we have been given an assurance that [customary title and customary rights] will be as sacrosanct as any other rights or title."
Co-leader Pita Sharples said significant property rights would flow from findings of customary title, which he described as a "full-blooded title" similar to fee simple, or freehold title.
The only new factor in the final package is an overarching recognition of the interest of hapu and iwi in the foreshore and seabed – dubbed "universal recognition" – which will require iwi involvement in conservation projects.
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said he hoped to introduce new legislation by August. He also moved to pre-empt any public backlash, saying reports that giving customary title would allow iwi to undertake such developments as hotel complexes on beaches were wrong and resource consent rules would apply as for any development.
Iwi Leaders Group representatives Mark Solomon and Tukoroirangi Morgan said yesterday that they were now largely satisfied, although they had not received everything they wanted. Mr Solomon, the Ngai Tahu chairman, agreed with Mr Key that only small tracts of the foreshore and seabed would meet the tests for customary title, but said iwi and hapu would have greater scope for other rights to be recognised.
The Government had also said iwi with customary rights would be able to benefit from non-Crown-owned minerals such as ironsands.
EXISTING LAW AND PROPOSED LAW
The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004
Foreshore and seabed owned by the Crown.
Iwi and hapu can negotiate a settlement with the Crown which includes rights ranging from continuing traditional practices to co-management and development rights.
No opportunity to seek customary title in court although those with links akin to customary title get higher level rights.
Test for highest level of rights requires continuous ownership, occupation and use of adjacent land since 1840.
Public access guaranteed.
Foreshore and seabed owned by no-one.
Iwi and hapu claim customary title through High Court or negotiations with the Crown.
Weaker test for customary title – no need to show continuous ownership, though occupation and use since 1840 still applies.
Customary title carries development rights for iwi provided they meet usual resource management rules.
Right to veto other developments or conservation projects.
If they fall short of full customary title can still have customary rights recognised such as traditional practices and sacred sites.
New "universal recognition" recognises longstanding mana of iwi over foreshore and seabed and gives role in conservation projects.
Public access guaranteed and fishing and navigation rights protected.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Fiji Village News - 14 June 2010
The Cakaudrove Province believes that the introduction of the village by-laws will help people understand the meaning of respect.
Chairman Emitai Boladuadua said before respect fades away, people must be educated and reminded of their roles when they are in a village.
Cakaudrove Provincial Council Chairman - Emitai Boladuadua
Boladuadua said villagers are often seen being rowdy which he believes must be eliminated.
There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen.
Meanwhile, the province of Ba has acknowledged the inclusion of the dress code in the draft village by-laws which is being deliberated on by the villagers of the province.
Chairman of Ba Provincial Council, Ratu Meli Saukuru said he believes that it is proper to dress up in a decent way when you approach or are in a village.
All 14 provinces are currently deliberating on the proposed village by laws and they are to hand in their submission before the 25th of this month.
- by TRACY WATKINS, Stuff.co.nz, and PETER WILSON and CHRIS ORMOND, NZPA
Stuff.co.nz News - 14 June 2010
Prime Minister John Key has announced plans to repeal the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act after an agreement was thrashed out with the Maori Party.
Co-leader Pita Sharples said it was a good day for the Maori Party after the two parties agreed on a raft of measures, including removing the foreshore and seabed from crown ownership.
It will instead become a public space though neither party has agreed what that should be called. Previously the government had proposed calling it "public domain".
Existing Maori and Pakeha private titles would continue unaffected as would public access and existing navigation and fishing rights.
Prime Minister John Key announced the agreement after talks today with the Maori Party and iwi leaders.
"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," he said at a press conference.
"I can report that the National government, the Maori Party and iwi leaders have agreed a common position on the foreshore and seabed issue."
Mr Key said a bill would be drafted and the Government hoped to introduce it to Parliament in August.
There will be a select committee process for public submissions, and the Government aims to pass the bill by the end of this year.
The new legislation is substantially the same solution the Government put forward earlier this year as its preferred option.
There have been additions, including the two-track regime for seeking customary rights and title and the establishment of universal recognition orders.
Customary title will cover development rights, and the right to veto development by others. Some mineral rights will be conferred.
The universal recognition orders will recognise the links an iwi has with the foreshore and seabed, but will not confer any rights.
Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia said they had fulfilled a long-standing promise to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which did not permit iwi to seek customary title through the courts.
"It is a great day for our party...by working with iwi leaders and the National Party we've been able to produce some significant advances," they said.
Iwi leaders, however, were less enthusiastic about the agreement.
They had wanted more, and said in a statement their "wish list" had not been delivered.
Mark Solomon, chairman of the Iwi Leaders Group, said the iwi representatives had worked hard to keep the dialogue with the Government open.
Tukoroirangi Morgan, chairman of Waikato Tainui, said agreement had been reached on "important matters of principle" that provided a strong foundation for further work.
Sonny Tau, chairman of Ngapuhi, said significant gains had been made and there was a need to keep moving forward.
Mr Key announced these decisions:
- The 2004 Act would be repealed and replaced with new legislation.
- The foreshore and seabed currently vested in Crown ownership would be replaced by a public space incapable of being owned;
- Existing Maori and Pakeha private titles would continue unaffected;
- Customary title and customary rights would be recognised through access to justice in a new High Court process or through direct negotiations with the Crown; and
- To establish customary title, iwi would need to meet a number of tests which would have applied if the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 had not been put in place.
Mr Key has previously said he thought very few iwi would be able to meet the criteria for seeking customary title.
He said today he still held that view.
Dr Sharples said that for those who had not been directly affected by the 2004 Act, nothing would change.