National's U-Turn

The Foreshore Swindle: Speak now or forever lose your beach

Likewise National party MPs have u-turned. In 2004 the National Party MP for Nelson, Nick Smith, spearheaded a petition to Parliament, supported by 17,654 others, requesting that “the House retain Crown title on the beaches, seabed and foreshore”! Nick Smith went on to say, “Anyone who wants to divide up the shoreline for one exclusive group of citizenship must be stopped”. You might well think that this is a rallying call from the Coastal Coalition!

In 2004, the National Party ran media advertisements supporting ownership of the foreshore and seabed remaining with the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders. They expressed concern that, “Holders of Customary Right Orders will have the power to ‘veto’ resource consents…. You know what that means. You want to build a boat ramp. But local iwi says, “Not so fast. Your ramp will have a ‘significant adverse effect’ on our customary rights”. You then have two choices. A court case (bound to be long and expensive). Or a bribe (merely expensive). You pay the koha”.

National’s ad concluded with this comment, “This legislation will divide our country, not bring it together. This is not the way to build a better future for all of us. National says the foreshore and seabed is Kiwi property. Not iwi property.”

Yes, you have read that correctly – in an astonishing about face, the party that claimed it did not want to carve up the coast along racial lines in 2004, is now doing just that in 2010. It is no wonder that National has tried to gloss over the massive changes in their Marine and Coastal Area Bill and keep the public in the dark by pretending that nothing will change and that this Bill will not be divisive. They know damned well that it will have a massive impact but do not want to have to justify their about-face to supporters….

Please see National's 2004 advertisement