The Trickery Of The Marine & Coastal Area Act
The Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011 is the work of Christopher Whinlayson, the arch-enemy of all New Zealanders who are not members of the tribal elite. The Act itself reflects the bias and deceit of its creator. For example, a tribe wanting a piece of our once publicly owned foreshore and seabed needs to insert only one small advertisement in the public notices section of one local newspaper, giving notice of its intended claim. Yes, ONCE ONLY. And not many people read the public notices every day.
Dr. Hugh Barr, the secretary of the Council of Outdoor and Recreational Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ) and co-founder of the Coastal Coalition, was the foremost opponent of the Marine and Coastal Area Act and, after it was passed into law, he became determined to oppose any applications by tribes for customary marine title since it would threaten public access to these priceless resources.
The first application to the High Court for a customary marine title was from the Tipene clan for the coast and seabed of two of the Muttonbird Islands off Stewart Island. Being a resident of Wellington, Dr. Barr did not see the small advertisement that was inserted ONCE in the local paper and so was not able to register in time as a party to oppose the claim. Thus it looks like this claim will not be opposed – certainly not by the Crown. The whole purpose of the Marine and Coastal Act was to take the foreshore and seabed, representing in size the equivalent of 35% of New Zealand’s land area, out of Crown (i.e. public) ownership so that now this once Crown owned resource is owned by nobody.
And, since the Crown no longer owns it, why should it oppose any tribal claim to it? This was all part of Whinlayson’s trickery. Traditionally it has been the Attorney-General who has been expected to uphold the public interest but, since Whinlayson is both Attorney-General and Minister of Treaty Settlements and, as such, is so deeply compromised, the Key government clearly given up this traditional role of the Attorney-General. Whinlayson is further compromised by the fact that he was the lawyer for Ngai Tahu in their greedy and unjustified Treaty claim and there is growing evidence that he is using (or, if you like, abusing) his present position to continue to advance the interests of that tribe.
Another claim for customary marine title to the High Court was lodged by a Wellington woman of part-Maori descent for from 6 to 8 kilometres of foreshore at Cape Turnagain as well as the adjoining seabed, out to 2-3 kms. Again Dr. Barr did not see the small notice in the local paper and so CORANZ, which represents tens of thousands of outdoor sportspeople, could not resist the claim.
If the process for advertising these important and far reaching claims was in any way transparent, the Office of Treaty Settlements (Whinlayson’s department) would put them on its website so that potential objectors could see them instead of having to rely on one small notice in one of the nation’s sixty or so newspapers. But, of course, the Marine and Coastal Area Act is all about secretly advancing the interests of the tribal elite at the expense of the rest of the country, contemptuous of public rights and democracy.
The next claim to go to the High Court for customary marine title was the Rongomaiwahine application for all of the foreshore and seabed (out to 12 nautical miles [22.2 kms] ) around the beautiful Mahia peninsula, stretching from Whareongaonga in the north-east, down to and around the Mahia peninsula (including Portland Island) and further down to the mouth of the Nuhaka River in the direction of Napier.
Thanks to a contact in Gisborne, Dr. Barr was tipped off about this claim and, as a result, CORANZ has become a party to the court case so as to represent the public interest – something that the Crown should do but won’t. After all, that was the whole point of Whinlayson’s dirty little exercise – stealing from the many (the public) to enrich the few (the tribal elite).
The Mahia claim is being spearheaded by a certain part-Maori radical, Pauline Tangiora, who, like the notorious Mrs. Harawira, seems to be a professional mischief maker who goes round the country trying to grab whatever she can by whatever means. She has already gained a certain reputation around Mahia by trying to prevent the pouring of concrete for a public boat ramp and for using the courts to try to prevent the Mahia Boating and Fishing Club from erecting a new clubhouse.
She lost that one and was ordered by the court to pay the club’s costs of $3,400. That was three years ago and the club has never seen a cent despite the fact that it is believed that she has been given more than $4 million of taxpayers’ money in recent years in the form of “legal aid” to fund all the many race based – or, if you like, racist – court actions that she embarks upon.
To defeat the claim that the tribe has had “continuous and exclusive occupation of the foreshore and seabed without substantial interruption” since 1840 it is necessary for Dr. Barr and CORANZ to present affidavits/statements showing that this is not true and these have been forthcoming in large numbers from fishermen and boaties in the area.
There will be a public meeting in the hall at Mahia Beach at 4 p.m. on Fri, 2 January, when all the bach owners will be there, to acquaint them with this claim which, if it should be successful, will almost certainly result in a reduction in the value of the properties there.
So far Dr. Barr and CORANZ have been funding the legal fees themselves and it is hoped that some more funding will be generated at this meeting. One can only wonder who is paying Pauline Tangiora’s legal fees but it is unlikely to be the woman herself. More likely the hapless taxpayer by some sleight of hand of the government.
Of course, the real advantage of getting a customary marine title under the Marine and Coastal Area Act (and the greatest danger to the public) is that the lucky tribe is allowed to declare areas within their claim “wahi tapu” (forbidden places) with fines of up to $5,000 on any member of the public who should “trespass” on any such part of these formerly publicly owned beaches. With a type like Pauline Tangiora calling the shots one can only imagine how thoroughly and viciously the fishing, boating and surfing public of Mahia will be stripped of their rights under the notorious “wahi tapu” provisions of the Act.
One reason why the people of Mahia/Gisborne are so keen to resist this claim is that quite a few of them have been frequenters of Lake Waikaremoana for several years and are now starting to feel the effects of the greed of the new “co-governors”, the Tuhoe tribe – e.g. fishing licences were always issued annually and promptly whereas, under the delightful regime of “co-governance,” they have been held up for many months and are now given for six months only.
It is bizarre, disgraceful, racist and undemocratic that in the twenty-first century private people/associations like Dr. Barr and CORANZ have to waste their time and dip into their pockets to fight for continuing public access to recreational areas. Those freedoms are now being taken away from the public, excluding them form places they have been free to go to ever since 1840. All done under the aegis of the thieving and racist Marine and Coastal Area Act. And for no other reason than the National government’s perceived need to buy the Parliamentary votes of the racist Maori Party.
Donations towards the legal costs of defending the rights of the public against the racist claim of the Rongomaiwahine tribe to the beaches and waters of the Mahia peninsula can be made to: CORANZ Rongomaiwahine Trust Fund account – no. 030566-0207094-26