Foreshore Bill: what now?
19 November 2004
the Foreshore and Seabed Bill may have been passed yesterday by unprincipled politicians who have no respect for the Treaty of Waitangi, basic human rights, and the rule of law; but this is clearly not an end to the matter. Below is information about one thing which you can do about the Bill over the next few days.
The legislation will come into effect on 17 January 2005, but there are a couple more stages for it to go through before it reaches that point. The next step will be the signing into law of the Bill by the Governor-General (also known as giving "Royal Assent") - this is usually done within a few days of parliament passing a Bill.
The Governor-General can refuse assent for legislation. "In a very few cases, the Governor-General may exercise a degree of personal discretion, under what are known as the "reserve powers" (and even then convention usually dictates what decision should be taken) ... Other reserve powers are ... to refuse assent to legislation." From http://www.gg.govt.nz/role/powers.htm
It would be great if you could either fax or send a letter to the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, as a matter of urgency asking that she exercise that power and refuse assent to the legislation (see her contact details below). If you need some ideas on reasons why assent should be refused, have a look at the resources on the Foreshore and seabed information page at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/fsinfo.htm
There is an overview of the Bill and links to more resources and information online at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/fsbill.htm (scan down the page for the links to the relevant sections). For a succinct summary of the main issues, see the Pakeha / Tauiwi Open Letter to MPs on the foreshore and seabed legislation at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/hksign.htm For information on why this is a peace issue, see the background section of 'No raupatu in our time!' at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/fs281003.htm#intro
While those resources were put together about the policy and Bill before it was amended this week, the basic injustices remain the same. For information on the Bill as it was passed, see Tariana Turia and Metiria Turei's speeches for the Third Reading at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/fsinfo.htm#arts and Te Ope Mana a Tai's 'Summary and Analysis of Amended Foreshore and Seabed Bill SOP Tabled 16 November 2004' in the Foreshore and Seabed Bill 2004 section at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/fsinfo.htm
While it is probable that contacting the Governor-General will not result in her refusing assent for the Bill; at the very least it is another way of recording your opposition to this unfair, unjust and unnecessary legislation.
After (if ?!) the Bill has been signed, the final version will then go to be printed; that process usually takes two to three weeks.
Letters should be posted to: Dame Silvia Cartwright, Governor-General, Government House, Private Bag, Wellington.
Faxes should be sent to: (04) 389 5536.
It is helpful for our work on this if you could send us a copy of any letter you send to the Governor-General (and a copy of any reply you receive). If you are happy to have your letter uploaded to the Foreshore and seabed information page, please indicate that when you send it - by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Peace Movement Aotearoa, PO Box 9314, Wellington. Thank you.