Open Letter on Foreshore and Seabed
5 May 2004
An Open Letter supporting the foreshore and seabed hikoi, and opposing the legislation, was delivered yesterday to all Labour, Progressive Coalition, and New Zealand First Members of Parliament.
It was signed by more than 500 Pakeha /Tauiwi New Zealanders who urged them to vote against the legislation and instead to follow the Waitangi Tribunal's "primary and strong" recommendation - go back to the drawing board and engage in proper negotiations with Maori about the way forward.
Extracts from the letter are included below. The full text is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/hksign.htm.
4 May 2004
To all Labour, Progressive Coalition, and New Zealand First Members of Parliament,
As the foreshore and seabed hikoi moves towards Wellington, we the undersigned Pakeha / Tauiwi add our voices to those of Ngati Kahungunu and others who are opposed to the foreshore and seabed legislation.
The foreshore and seabed legislation is a confiscation, no different than the confiscations inflicted by colonial administrations in the nineteenth century. The harm caused by those past confiscations has been acknowledged in recent years, apologies have been made, and settlements have been negotiated in recognition of those historical injustices. Repeating the mistakes of the past cannot be a productive way forward.
The legislation is a serious breach of Articles II and III of the Treaty of Waitangi. It is a violation of domestic law including the Bill of Rights Act and Human Rights Act; and of international human rights standards and conventions.
We do not agree with your claims that the legislation is in the best interest of all New Zealanders - clearly it is not in the best interests of Maori, nor do we consider it to be in our best interests. If passed, it will be a source of serious conflict and justified grievance into the future. As well, your readiness to violate the basic human rights of one group of New Zealanders is threatening to us all.
We call on you to vote against this inherently unfair, unjust and unnecessary legislation. Its fundamental flaws are clearly outlined in the Waitangi Tribunal WAI 1071 Report. We urge you to read the Report and to follow the Tribunal's "primary and strong" recommendation - go back to the drawing board and engage in proper negotiations with Maori about the way forward.