Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mike Butler: Tribe slams no ownership

The Ngati Kahungunu tribe wants ownership of the foreshore and seabed put into “Tipuna Title, activist and lawyer Moana Jackson said in Napier last Thursday. He put his tribe’s proposal to Attorney General Chris Finlayson at a meeting at Napier’s Pukemokimoki Marae meeting, which attracted 150 people, according to a report in the Hastings Mail, published today.

Finlayson said the government’s “public domain/takiwa iwi whanui” proposal balanced the interests of all New Zealanders, affirmed public access, and recognized customary rights and interests. The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 would be repealed, thus ending Crown ownership.

Jackson argued that the proposal “offered Maori a constrained property right, in contrast one presumes to the unconstrained freehold title Pakeha are able to hold in the foreshore and seabed.”

No discussion of tribal veto powers or other Crown examples of its elegance can disguise the prejudice, he said.

The non-ownership concept was nonsense and dishonest, he said. The most obvious precedent for no-ownership was the terra nullius “empty land” doctrine used to justify colonial appropriation of indigenous land in Australia, he said.

Tipuna (ancestor) Title would ensure public access and prohibit sale, Jackson said.

Jackson graduated in law and criminology, and after a short period in practise took up teaching Maori language. He undertook further study in the United States before returning to New Zealand to conduct research for the then Justice Department report on the Maori and the criminal justice system, that was published in 1988.

Jackson has worked extensively overseas on international indigenous issues, particularly the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that the Key government signed up to yesterday.

1 comment:

TWE said...

I am not satisfied that 'guaranteed public access' means unconditional access (eg. not having to pay).

The law is fine as it is now, but it could be improved by an amendment allowing for Maori to go to the courts if they have a claim. Nothing more should ever be changed.