Sunday, October 10, 2004

Progress on the foreshore and seabed

The government is backing away from Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed, in favour of a trusteeship model.

This is a good move. As I've said time and time again, any solution to this issue must be ultimately acceptable to Maori, otherwise it will simply be relitigated (either in the courts, or through the electoral system). A trusteeship model which recognises the burden of aboriginal title and allows for co-management or "ownership" limited by public rights of access and navigation where such title can be proved is far more likely to be acceptable than the current model. The problem is selling it to Pakeha, and particularly getting it through Parliament. National's latest attempt to stir up the rednecks - a speech by Brash explicitly opposing an almost-finalised Treaty settlement - isn't going to help.

It's also ironic that we may very well end up with a law which explicitly recognises the Ngati Apa judgement and provides a legal framework for its implementation, rather than overturning it.