Brash: Return coast to public ownership

Hobson’s Pledge today launched a petition calling on Parliament to fix the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 by restoring the coastal area to public ownership and moving all claims to the High Court.

The Act is riddled with problems that stem from confiscating the marine and coastal area from all the people of New Zealand and inviting iwi and hapu to make a claim for it, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.

The Marine and Coastal Area Act is a racist piece of legislation that:

  1. Created 580 claims for the coast that will take decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to process.
  2. Allows claims to be negotiated by a Minister without scrutiny.
  3. Puts the burden to disprove a claim on objectors
  4. Creates a new property right available only to Maori.
  5. Creates an opportunity for iwi stand-over tactics on everything to do with the coastal area.

The Act raised expectations among many that a new goldrush was under way generating claims for the entire coastal area of New Zealand, Dr Brash said.

Former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson made a monumental mistake by creating a new form of ownership, customary marine title, and making it available only to Maori, he said.

The main financial advantage for claimants is a greatly extended ability given to iwi-hapu groups to meddle with and extract payment from various coastal businesses, Dr Brash said.

We hope that the current Parliament shows the will to fix this biased and problematic piece of legislation, he said.

Our petition asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights.

The petition may be signed at

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