May 11, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Repeal of Foreshore Act = “Maori against Pakeha”?

3 min read

(Source: NZ Herald) Labour leader Phil Goff has re-opened the political warfare over the foreshore and seabed law, saying the Government’s plan to repeal it will divide the country again.  Mr Goff yesterday changed Labour’s position on the law, saying it was working well the way it was now, and repeal would make “wounds fester”.


We can choose our future based on principle and with the interests of all New Zealanders at heart. Or we can have a country where one New Zealander is turned against another, Maori against Pakeha.”

Labour leader Phil Goff, to a Grey Power meeting in Palmerston North

National and the Maori Party have indicated they will repeal the law after reviewing it as part of their governing agreement.  Mr Goff’s reversal means Labour has effectively withdrawn the offer it made this year to work with the two parties to achieve an “enduring consensus” on the law it created while in Government.

Mr Goff revealed the change yesterday in a speech to Grey Power in Palmerston North, where he said Prime Minister John Key’s leadership would lead to a country with “one New Zealander turned against another, Maori against Pakeha”.

The speech continued Mr Goff’s portrayal of National as pandering to Maori, which has led to accusations that he is playing the race card.

He criticised Mr Key on several race-related issues – failing to show leadership and condemn Hone Harawira for his “white mother f******” email, the deal over the emissions trading scheme which he said used taxpayers’ money to buy off the Maori Party and gave iwi “the chance for a handout and of course they’ve taken it”, and the way the deal could reopen Treaty settlements and keep “grievance alive from one age into another”.

Mr Key dismissed Mr Goff’s speech, saying he was “desperate for a headline”.  As Labour had supported the repeal of the law earlier in the year, “I don’t think Phil Goff believes what’s in his own speech”.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said Mr Goff was “stirring up something when nothing’s there”.

Labour passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act in 2004, deeming the title to be held by the Crown and depriving Maori of their right to test the claim in court.

But in April, it backed away from this when outgoing Labour MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen put forward the consensus proposal that was viewed as an acceptance by Labour that the law was unacceptable to most Maori.  Cullen’s proposal was a big shift from the law Labour passed, as it would have allowed iwi and hapu to claim customary title, which could not be sold.

Mr Goff last night said Labour still agreed with Dr Cullen’s proposal, which did not necessarily require repeal of the law.

National and the Maori Party have not said what will replace the law once repealed.

Mr Goff said this was creating too much uncertainty, and looked like becoming a “shabby deal” like that done over the emissions trading scheme.  He said most people accepted that the foreshore and seabed rules “aren’t broken” and were good legislation for all New Zealanders.

National had a choice between sticking with the status quo or “never-ending court battles” if the matter was allowed to go back to the courts.  The other option would be to have a new act with the same arrangements, and “it’s hard to see why the country should be put through all the grief just to put a new brand on law that’s working”.

By Patrick Gower | Email Patrick

4 thoughts on “Repeal of Foreshore Act = “Maori against Pakeha”?

  1. janice and Alton,__ please excuse my outburts above, i am so angry at this man and his disregard__i feel like pulling his head off like the unwanted dirty kiori,(he is)

  2. Shut the hell up Goff, you paru kiore.I am from Ahipara my beautiful birth place for many years my parent's took us
    constantly around those coastal-lines of those beach's -in harmony and no one person refused us access
    or passage .We knew the son's and daughter's of those land's YOU DUMB IGNORANT pakeha sold,no they dd not have -what you call written documentation or written claim's recognised in court's of today They are ancestral land's left to their children,basically what you manage to do when your govt.. was at the helm. Is say to those gone before us. their(tipuna) (excuse me but for our own personal greed do you mind if we take your childrens land and sell it) sorry if you cant speak cos your dead GIVE THEIR F…. LAND BACK

  3. Jane Marsden's tangi on right now. She was the mother of the late Hiraina – one of the designers of the tino-rangatiratanga flag.

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