June 30, 2020
Foreshore and seabed fix treaty breaches
The Waitangi Tribunal has found the way the crown is managing claims under the Marine and Coast Area (Takutai Moana) Act breaches the Treaty of Waitangi and prejudicially affects Māori.
The Act was passed in 2011 to replace Labour’s controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act, with the Māori Party saying it solved the problem that propelled it into parliament and vindicated its support of a National Government.
The Act allows claimants to seek recognition for customary rights either through a High Court order or by direct negotiation with the crown, as long as their application was filed by April 2017.
The tribunal says the crown failed to provide adequate and timely information about the engagement pathways, failed to support efforts to sort out overlapping interests, failed to cover reasonable costs or properly manage the limited funding that was given.
It recommended the Act’s procedures be amended and that the crown address the policy vacuum that impedes the way it negotiates directly and how that fits with the High Court pathway.
It also recommended claimants get some sort of legal aid funding as well as access to facilitators, mediators and tikanga-based resolution processes to deal with any cross claims.
Hearings on stage two on the inquiry will start later this year, looking into whether the broader statutory and policy issues relating to the Act itself breach treaty principles and prejudice Māori.
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