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March 28, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Hikoi For Shore

A hikoi of more than 300 people marched through the streets of Wellington on Tuesday in protest to National’s Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Several protesters carried placards, reading “Betrayed by our own” [a reference to the Maori Party] and “Maori Seabed For Shore!”

A spokesman for Attorney-General Chris Finlayson told Salient that the hikoi would not have any effect on the passage of the Bill.

He noted that the government had engaged in consultation on the Bill for over two years, and had heard thousands of submissions from various interested parties. The members of the hikoi represented only one view out of many.

He invited the readers to “draw your own conclusions” as to whether the hikoi would affect public perception of the Bill, but added that it restored important rights which the previous Foreshore and Seabed Act had denied Maori.

Hone Harawira, a prominent supporter of the hikoi, noted that almost half of Maori submissions on the Bill were opposed to it.

The Bill grants Maori the right to seek customary ownership over the foreshore and seabed. Many Maori feel that the requirements to gain such ownership are too onerous.
It requires Maori claimants to demonstrate that they have used a piece of land exclusively since 1840, without “substantial interruption”.
When Finlayson himself was asked what he got out of the hikoi, he replied “wet”.

The 2004 hikoi against the Foreshore and Seabed Act drew more than 20,000 protesters.

Last Thursday, the controversial Bill passed its final reading at the House of Representatives, despite the ACT Party successfully delaying the vote for 25 minutes.

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  1. Birdie says:

    Got it! Thanks a lot again for hlnepig me out!

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