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Brash’s Backroom Deal would Sink Nuclear-Free NZ
Jeanette Fitzsimons responded to the National Party ‘Creech Report’ saying that it is a thinly disguised proposal to give the government of the day the sole power to allow nuclear-propelled ships into our ports.
“Repealing the legislation but ‘maintaining a nuclear-free policy’ would leave New Zealanders at the mercy of future prime ministers to decide in backroom deals with the US whether to let their ships in,” Green Co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons said. “It is precisely to prevent this that we demanded legislation 20 years ago and it has served us well.
“Nuclear powered ships can malfunction just as land-based nuclear reactors can, and if they do there have less safety shielding to contain the radiation. Moreover, if they are shipwrecked they will eventually be a long-term source of radiation on the bottom of the sea, poisoning our fishing grounds and our coast. We do not need to take that risk.”
The National Party document can be found at
Taskforce Discussion Paper on NZ-US [Nuclear] Relationship
Greens Join the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi
A number of Green MPs, including Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei participated in the hikoi as it travelled towards Wellington, along with a group of Green supporters from around the country.
The Greens are the only parliamentary party to share the hikoi’s opposition to the Government’s foreshore and seabed legislation.
On May 4 Jeanette said – “The Greens have consistently opposed this legislation. It amounts to a confiscation of Maori legal rights to go to court that not only breaches the Treaty but offers no guarantee that our coasts will be environmentally protected and not flogged off to the highest bidder under some future government.”
This followed on from her statement on April 30 that:
“The Government has now paid the price for ignoring sensible solutions. As the Green Party has said from the beginning, and as the Waitangi Tribunal later confirmed, there is a large measure of agreement we could build on.
“Maori and Pakeha agree there should be no exclusive, private saleable title to the foreshore and seabed. They also agree there should be public access except in a few exceptional cases to protect sites of special importance.
“If the Government had sat round the table with iwi it could have negotiated acceptable legislation to achieve this without abrogating the legal and treaty rights of Maori. Instead, the knee-jerk reaction to legislate to overturn the Court of Appeal decision was so insulting it made a negotiated solution impossible.
“It would still be possible to abandon the legislation and go back to the table to seek a more acceptable outcome. Mori are prepared to start again without prejudice.
“One option would be amending the Te Ture Whenua Act so that when Maori seek title at the Maori Land Court it will be a collective title, unable to be freeholded or subdivided. An agreement on public access could then be negotiated before title is issued. A sharing of commercial development rights could also be negotiated.
“But one thing remains clear: legislating for crown ownership before Maori have had the chance to test their rights and claims through the court amounts to confiscation.’
The Hikoi has Arrived – the Work goes on
The foreshore and seabed bill has its first reading in Parliament this week, and then (if a majority vote for it to do so) it goes to a select committee for the consideration and submission process to start.
So now is the time to bone up on the bill and make a submission. For what the Greens are saying needs to be changed, and what the alternatives are, go to
Greens: Maori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi campaign page
To access a copy of the bill, analysis by informed Maori and Pakeha, and media coverage of the issue, go to
Peace Movement Aotearoa – Foreshore and Seabed
NZ SAS Under US Control in Afghanistan
. The New Zealand Herald reports that: “SAS troops newly arrived in Afghanistan will take part in combat missions under the control of US forces, say documents leaked from Wellington defence headquarters.
“Their activities will include short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive operations to seize, destroy, capture, recover or inflict damage on designated personnel or material.
“They will also engage in raids, ambushes, direct assaults, attacks from the air, ground or sea, guide “precision weaponry”, and conduct independent sabotage and “anti-ship” operations.”
The full story can be found at
NZ Herald: NZ SAS Under US Control in Afghanistan
Questioning the Confiscation
. The Greens asked the following questions and got the following answers in the House on the day the hikoi came to Parliament:
(Co-Leader-Green) to the Deputy Prime Minister: Does he agree with the Waitangi Tribunal when it said, in respect of the foreshore and seabed, that claimants and the Crown agree: that the public generally should have access to the foreshore and seabed except where this causes harm; that it should not be sold; and that customary rights in the foreshore and seabed exist and need to be recognised and protected?
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
(Deputy Prime Minister): I am aware of the section in the tribunal’s report that pointed out that there is some common ground between the Government’s policy and the position taken by the claimants. The Government’s view on the access issue is that it should be as of right.
: Is he confident that Maori agree that the Government’s proposals protect customary rights, when outside Parliament right now 20,000 sons and daughters and mokopuna of Dame Whina Cooper are protesting against this Government’s unjust legislation to extinguish customary title?
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
: Dame Whina is a wonderful woman, but I doubt whether she had 20,000 mokopuna by herself. However, my estimate of the crowd would be somewhat lower than that. Clearly, there is considerable concern amongst Maori about some issues in this bill. I am sure that if they proceed through the select committee process, legitimate concerns can be addressed and will be well understood.
: How can the public of New Zealand be sure that Crown ownership will not lead to the foreshore and seabed being sold to overseas owners, when a simple majority in a future Parliament could overturn the no-sale provision? We all know that New Zealand Governments have the sorry history of selling off parts of the foreshore.
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
: This country’s constitution is founded upon the theory of parliamentary sovereignty-a matter I might discuss somewhat further in a coming special debate on a Monday in a couple of weeks’ or so time. The essence of parliamentary sovereignty is that no Parliament can bind its successor. The issue the member raises could be raised about almost anything else, including the Human Rights Act, the abolition of capital punishment, or the existence of the Green Party. But it need not worry-this Government is not going to abolish the Green Party.
: Why did the Government reject Green Party proposals-such as amendments to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act-when those amendments would have provided for a collective customary title where those rights still exist, as well as ensuring negotiated public access to the foreshore; and would that now provide a way out of the corner into which this Government has backed itself?
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
: In fact, the Greens’ original position was that the foreshore and seabed should be held in the commons. This view subsequently underwent a somewhat strange change to “Maori collective customary title”. However, that would not be a sufficient protection, nor does it avoid the issues around confiscation, rights and redresses that the member seems to think, because there is a world of difference between that and what is now available under the Ngati Apa decision. If the member had been meeting with Te Ope Mana a Tai, she would realise that one of the issues it was pursuing was the right of economic development on the foreshore and seabed.
: Can the Minister name any other group in society, apart from Maori, who have had their property rights forcibly replaced by a weakened right of consultation; if not, is this not an example of racial discrimination against Maori?
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
: Parliaments over a very long period of time in New Zealand have changed a number of property relationships and property issues-sometimes with and sometimes without consultation; sometimes with and sometimes without compensation. There is nothing unique about the processes being followed here, other than the care being taken for the better recognition and protection of customary rights and ancestral connection.
: Does the Government believe in one rule of law for all; if so, in the interests of consistency, will it now be expropriating the property rights of non-Maori who own parts of the foreshore?
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
: Nobody who has fee simple title to any part of the foreshore and seabed, however that arose, is having those property rights expropriated. The Government’s position is that it will seek to negotiate over time with any such owners. I want to place very clearly on the record that the notion that that is somehow racially based is nonsense. Some of those private titles are held by Maori.
Four Priinciples for a Fair Settlement
. In the Foreshore and Seabed General Debate on 7th April 2004 Jeanette Fitzsimons questioned the Government’s four principles underlying the foreshore and seabed legislation, and outlined the Greens’ alternative four principles, as follows:
“There was another option the Government had. We put an option forward at the beginning, we have continued to put it forward, and we are still prepared to work with the Government if it changes its mind and decides to go down that path.
“The Government has a set of four principles underlying this legislation. So do we, and there are also four.
“The first principle is sustainable management of the foreshore and seabed for the benefit of future generations and of the coastal marine ecosystems.
“The second principle is that rights established in law by the courts, whether by Maori or Pakeha, should not be confiscated.
“The third principle is that there should be no more private and exclusive title over foreshore and seabed.
“The fourth principle is that public access must be protected, except for very special areas where environmental protection, historical, cultural, or spiritual significance makes this inappropriate.
“All those principles could have been satisfied by a simple amendment to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act to the effect that for foreshore and seabed land the title that the Maori Land Court could vest in hapū would be a collective title and would be a non-saleable title. And part of issuing that title would be a negotiation of a public access memorandum on the title to give confidence to the public, to allow Maori to exercise their hospitality to the rest of New Zealand, and to protect highly significant areas from disturbance.”
Jeanette’s speech in full
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