Elsha (sixth_light) wrote in nz_in_the_world,

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Foreshore and Seabed

So, finally, the loathed and dreaded Foreshore and Seabed bill has been passed. Cue much weeping, wailing, axes in the PM's electorate office window, threats, Winston Peters being smug...just another week in politics, really.

But what do you all think about this? Good, bad, terrible, don't care as long as you can still sunbathe this Christmas?

I had to debate both for and against the bill (in its original version, admittedly) for the national school debating comp in August. Having read it, studied it, screamed about it, lied about it, praised it to the skies and slandered it as the most horrific piece of legislation ever to darken this nation's doorstep, I got quite sick of it.

Three months later, I still feel that it's all a storm in a teacup. On the one hand - Maori being denied their day in court was out of line. On the other - the chances of anyone, under the most generous circumstances, proving customary title are fairly slim. This means continuous use, back 'till 1840, and does NOT include fisheries or mineral rights (even this government wouldn't tamper with the current systems for those!) Pretty difficult to prove, but unavoidable, because that's the definition of customary rights. So it seems to me that this bill is more about form than substance - more about people's perceptions of what they will or will not have and what they could or could not have had. And I seriously doubt, this summer, that I will be unable to lie on the beach.

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