May 16, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Takutai bill passes, Harawira vote almost not counted (VIDEO)

4 min read

Legislation that repeals the Foreshore and Seabed Act and gives Maori the right to seek customary title to parts of the coastline has been passed into law after a passionate debate in Parliament.

The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill passed its third reading today on a vote of 63 to 56.

It has divided Parliament and split the Maori Party – Hone Harawira’s opposition to it was the main reason he quit to become an independent.

National, the Maori Party and United Future backed the bill while Labour, the Greens, ACT, the Progressive Party and Mr Harawira opposed it.

Only about 30 Maori supporters were in the public galleries as the bill was passed, breaking briefly into song as the vote was read out.

Sitting with them was a small group who apparently opposed it. One man got to his feet and shouted in Maori before walking out.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, the minister in charge of the bill, said the third reading marked the end of more than two years’ consultation and policy development on an issue that had vexed the nation for almost a decade.

“We have had a very long conversation, and one thing that has become very clear is that noise does not always equal principled opposition,” he said.

The Maori Party staked its future on the bill, and said it had delivered on its promises to repeal the 2004 Act and restore Maori access to the courts.

“We have honoured our word,” co-leader Tariana Turia said.

“The challenge now is to test this new law. The message we have been getting from some iwi leaders is that now that the right of access to the courts has been restored, case law in customary rights may be politically achievable.”

Mrs Turia urged whanau, hapu and iwi to grasp the opportunity and go to court to seek customary titles.

Labour opposes the bill because it doesn’t believe it will be a lasting solution.

“Only the lawyers are going to benefit from this, precious little else will be achieved,” MP Shane Jones said.

“This bill is a betrayal and Maori people have been sold out.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said the bill was not what National wanted in every respect but the alternative would have been unresolved resentment and ongoing injustice.

“This bill isn’t perfect but I suspect it will be lasting,” he said.

Harawira almost denied vote a second time

Mr Harawira, whose appeal yesterday for a two-year moratorium on the legislation so it could be carefully considered by Maori fell on deaf ears, said it was “a sad betrayal” of all those who had voted for the Maori Party.

“This is a racist bill, nearly all Maori oppose it…our sovereignty is lost under this bill,” he said.

Despite his fierce opposition to the bill, Mr Harawira forgot to cast a vote on its second reading and nearly missed his chance again today.

He cast his vote in Maori, saying “his spirit would not allow him to vote for the bill”, and Deputy Speaker Lindsay Tisch said the translation represented it as “a view, not a vote”.

Mr Harawira protested but Mr Tisch ruled the vote invalid.

National minister John Carter intervened, seeking the permission of Parliament for Mr Harawira to vote again, it would have only taken one MP to oppose permission, but none did (@12mins below).

It was granted, and Mr Harawira succeeded in having his vote counted.

The Green Party also said the bill was racist because it guaranteed free access to any beaches held under customary title.

Co-leader Metiria Turei said the 12,000 freehold titles already existing on the coastline did not guarantee that right.

The ACT Party tried to delay the third reading debate by putting up 700 questions to the chairs of select committees, a procedure which is allowed and, if it had worked, would have taken up so much time that the bill would not have passed before the 6pm adjournment.

But more than 600 were ruled out of order and the Government made sure most MPs who chaired select committees were not in the debating chamber to answer the others, so they had to be postponed.

ACT deputy leader John Boscawen managed to ask about a dozen pointless questions, wasting about 20 minutes.

Speaking during the debate, he said customary titles conferred on their holders rights over the coastline that no other New Zealanders could have.

“It could be a huge amount of the coast, billions of dollars of mineral wealth, a small group of Maori will have benefits denied to everyone else,” he said.

5 thoughts on “Takutai bill passes, Harawira vote almost not counted (VIDEO)

  1. Gives us the right to go to court or negotiate directly with the crown. I thought thats what we wanted. Thats why so many of us MARCHED the last time around. A few hundred protesters does not make 'most Maori' opposed to the legislation as Hone would have us believe. Go start a left wing party…you and your supporters will have the same success as every other left wing fringe party (the Alliance anyone?)…hell most Maori still gave Labour their party vote the last two elections and after their 2004 foreshore bill.

  2. @takutaimoana4sure. Bro, speak for yourself.. I signed the online petition but I still tautoko the Maori Party 100%. To say that I do not agree with their judgment on this matter does not mean I no longer support them. I have heaps of respect for Hone, but in my opinion he's made a mess of everything. Many ex Maori Party supporters, such as my grandmother will now be voting for Labour again.. the very party who created the first FSSB Bill that took away our rights in the first place! Nice work.

    Once again the divide and conquer strategy destroys our chances of gaining any substantial footing in NZ's political arena. I'm sick of all the naivety from those who are quick to persecute without any real perspective. The world is changing fast, we must take every opportunity, improve our chances and keep up or get left behind. Begging like victims for justice falls on deaf ears.. being in a position to make changes is what counts!!!

    Most party's, including Labour oppose this bill because they feel it gives Maori an advantage over all other NZers, does that not say something?? I'm sure if the Maori party had a magic wand they would perform the miracle everyone is expecting, unfortunately this is the real world and change happens a step at a time, not in leaps and bounds.

    At the end of the day the FSSB bill is not the most important issue for our ppl. There are greater priorities that the Maori Party have been addressing, such as health, education and employment, and after all the hype dies down, it is these issues that still effect our people the most. Taking away your vote for them, is taking away your vote to help improve ALL of these things, not just the issue of the FSSB.

  3. What exactly does this Bill allow now that it has passed compared to what, prior to its coming into being, did not allow? A simple comparison table would be nice so that people could see, with clarity, the implications for wealth and prosperity, and for who exactly……transparency you know.

    1. I agree John all im hearing is a whole lot of arguing thats been going on for ages. What exactly are we looking at? But i have to agree about the Maori Party, i don't know who they represent anymore! they don't have my vote and alot of others votes in the next election thats for sure.A Shame really

  4. We object to the Political Party named “The Maori Party” within the New Zealand Government, voting in support of the legislation named “The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutaimoana) Bill.

    This legislation violates and breaches Maori Rights embedded in the treaty named “Te Tiriti O Waitangi” and the Declaration named “He Whakaputanga o nga Rangatira o Niu Tireni”.

    We also object to the Maori Party,s continuation of support to this legislation.

    Therefore,we would like to state Maori Party’s vote of support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill DOES NOT represent our support or tautoko.

    We request that the Political Party named the Maori Party cease immediately their continuation of support of the “Marine and Coastal Area(Takutaimoana) Bill, as it continues to violate and breach “Te Tiriti O Waitangi”.

    For the asaid reasons given above

    We request that Assent is NOT GIVEN to the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutaimoana) Bill by the Governor General of New Zealand.

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