Notification of 150 claims for ownership of thousands of kilometres of our coastline filed in the High Court were advertised over the past week with 20 days for anyone to object.
The claims, under the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011, had to be filed within six years of the date of the Act. The Crown has been negotiating directly with those the Crown thinks likely to have well-founded claims.
The Act allows claimants to gain customary marine title if they can show that they have exclusively occupied and used the foreshore and seabed since 1840.
Objectors simply have to provide evidence of occupation and use of the various coastal areas by those other than the claimant group.
Customary marine title gives the right of veto over development, the ability to charge fees for use of slipways, wharves, aquaculture areas, and marinas, and exclusive rights to mine iron-sand and minerals. There are fines of up to $5000 for those who go there without permission.
If objections are not lodged it is likely the court will cave in to the opportunist claims.
Hobson’s Pledge says it defies logic that any New Zealand government would consider giving away control of extensive marine areas to a number of individuals simply because they asked for it.
Politics trump pedagogy in calls for compulsory Maori
Calls for the compulsory teaching of the Maori language ramped up during the week with former Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples asserting that Te Reo should sit "a little bit in front" of other core subjects such as maths and English, and be learned by all students.
New Education Minister Nikki Kaye said she expected a "healthy debate" about making Te Reo Maori compulsory in schools at the coming election.
ACT leader David Seymour said making the language compulsory risks making it unpopular, adding that suggestions the language was dying were wrong, as he knew many people across "middle class New Zealand" signing up for free Te Reo classes.
Hobson’s Pledge says that there are higher priorities for the limited Vote Education budget than Te Reo and activists are putting politics above rational educational policy.
Maori ward turmoil reaches Palmerston North
The Palmerston North City Council is considering setting up a Maori ward to ensure it has Maori councillors in the chamber. The current council has no Maori councillors.
Councils are required by legislation to consider setting up Maori wards every six years.
Palmerston North, which has a total population of 80,079, and a voting age population of 54,130, has 3624 voters on the Maori roll.
Consultation will be held in August and September. After hearing submissions, the council would make a decision in October. Its decision could be challenged if 5 per cent of voters demanded a poll.
The Hastings District Council decided against Maori wards earlier this month after the council’s Maori committee recommended against the proposal. Four of Hastings’ 14 councillors have Maori ancestry.
Hobson’s Pledge says Maori seats in central government have long passed their use-by date and the legislative pressure to reconsider separate wards in councils every six years creates unwanted turmoil and distracts from more pressing business.
Meet Don and Casey
Don Brash and Casey Costello will speak in Nelson at 7pm on Tuesday, May 2, at the Rutherford Hotel, Trafalgar St, Nelson.