Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hypocritical and racist

The High Court has confirmed Ngati Tama's title over the Wakapuaka estuary near Nelson. National MP Nick Smith is livid, claiming that this shows that the government's promise that Maori would not be able to gain freehold title to the foreshore and seabed was worthless. Except that this case has nothing to do with the Foreshore and Seabed Act, or with the precedent of Ngati Apa v Attorney-General. Ngati Tama's claim of ownership is not based on customary title, but on freehold title awarded in the 1880's and upheld three (now four) times by the courts since then. Some of the original documents have now apparently been lost, but this doesn't mean they don't own it, anymore than the government losing the original survey data would undermine title to your house.

Smith's longstanding refusal to accept to this fact and his repeated attempts to have the title revoked (he has been pushing it since he was Conservation Minister back in 1999) reveal the true attitudes behind National's stance on the foreshore and seabed issue. Rich, white people are allowed to own beaches. Brown people are not. This is not about equality under the law; rather it is about enforced inequality on the basis of race. There's no other way to say it: National's position on the foreshore and seabed is hypocritical and racist.


How can you say National's position is racist when you link to one of your posts in which you quote Bill English articulating National's position as:

" of the foreshore were privately owned and [National] would not seek to expropriate those property rights."

Surely this is political points scoring - like when Nick Smith (I think) bailed up (I think) Sandra Lee as minister of local government for a payout by Local Government New Zealand (for which the minister bears absolutely no resposibility).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 12/24/2006 10:41:00 AM

Graeme: because Smith's repeated statements on this issue show that there is an implicit "except for Maori" on the end of it.

Smith's opposition to Ngati Tama's owning their beach goes back a long way - he opposed it in 1999 when he was still Minister of Conservation, and he's basically been the driving force behind repeated government attempts to dispossess them through the courts. And he's done all this with the full support of the National Party. If they don't want to be called on this hypocrisy and racism, then they need to make it clear that their support for the rights of existing owners extends to all, regardless of race, and pull Smith into line.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/26/2006 11:08:00 AM

I suggest the other consistant solution
"rich white people CAN'T own foreshore" (ie a 100% continuous queens chain (at least around the seashore, maybe not all rivers).
reclassifying foreshore rather like 'air' as somthing that you just don't own.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/26/2006 03:46:00 PM