New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson is working overtime to counter claims by the “clowns” in the Coastal Coalition over the foreshore and seabed repeal bill.
This 2004 New Zealand law foreclosed claims by Maori peoples/nations to own any part of the seabed along the NZ coast line.
It is difficult perhaps for a non-New Zealander to tell from the news reports what exactly is going on, but I think opponents of repealing that 2004 law are claiming that Maoris are not New Zealand’s first discoverers and settlers and thus shouldn’t have any rights to the foreshore and coastline of the country.
The Attorney-General is literally calling people “clowns” who are claiming that the Phoenicians, Celts, and Vikings were the first to find New Zealand. He stated “you name it, they were all here except for the Maori.”
The press stated that the reference to pre-Maori arrivals has been suggested by former MP Muriel Newman.
She wrote on her website: “Claims have been made that New Zealand was discovered from as early as 600BC by Phoenician, Indian, Greek and Arab explorers. In fact, claims of these visits help to explain the existence in the South Island of the fossilised remains of rats that have been carbon dated at 160BC – more than 1000 years before Maori.”
The notion of pre-Maori arrivals reinforces opposition to the Maori as holders of first peoples’ rights – such as customary title in the foreshore and seabed lands and waters and assets.
The Coastal Coalition has organised a series of newspaper advertisements attacking Mr. Finlayson’s foreshore and seabed repeal bill. The ads feature a picture of Prime Minister John Key wearing a feather cloak and holding a tino rangatiratanga flag and is headed: “He’s about to trade 2000km of your coastline for a resource he values more. Maori Party votes.”
Click here to read Mr Finlayson’s response to the ads.