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Could the public lose control of the nation’s shoreline due to poorly drafted legislation and activist judges?

Summarised by Centrist

New Zealand’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, commonly known as MACA, may lead to the public’s loss of control of the nation’s coast line. Writer Graham Adams says “Anyone who imagines customary rights and marine title might be confined to gathering shellfish or gathering hangi stones is mistaken.”

Former Attorney-General Chris Finlayson promised that MACA, introduced in 2011 to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, aimed to restore customary interests to Māori, but with narrow criteria. 

Yet, MACA’s broad application by the courts, including the Orwellian concept of “shared exclusivity” and elastic definitions of “tikanga”, threatens traditional property rights with endless claims on NZ’s coastline by hāpu and iwi.

So far, the National government hasn’t been willing to deal with the issue. 

Up for grabs by claimants include things like access rights, involvement in coastal planning and policy development, vetoes over resource consents, and even rights to rare earth minerals. 

Moreover, Adams notes that applicants for customary titles receive up to $458,000 in taxpayer funds per claim, potentially totaling tens of millions picked up by taxpayers to help cover costs. Opposing parties receive nothing. 

Read more over at Bassett, Brash, and Hide

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