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Normal Topic The Gathering Storm Over the Foreshore and Seabed - written by Dr Hugh Barr (Read 3343 times)
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The Gathering Storm Over the Foreshore and Seabed - written by Dr Hugh Barr
Oct 10th, 2010 at 4:08pm
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       Recently a book launch was held in Wellington for "The Gathering Storm Over the Foreshore and Seabed" written by Dr Hugh Barr, well known over the years particularly in tramping circles as an advocate for conservation and public access.
       He regards the government's foreshore and seabed legislation as an entanglement of "hypocrisy, U turns, unfair and racism". Hugh Barr is equally scathing of government's refusal to listen to public concerns and debate the issue.
       "I have written this book because of the way in which I have been treated by attorney General Christopher Finlayson. He has simply abused me instead of addressing the questions I publicly raised about the proposed legislation,"  said Hugh Barr at the book launch. "The legislation is against the interests of the country and solely beneficial to Maori coastal tribes."
       The arrogance of government and in particular Attorney General Chris Finlayson, compelled him to write the book.
       The book's back cover describes the 112 page book as "the shocking and unvarnished truth" about the Foreshore and Seabed law.
       For example, the book tells of National's about-face U turn over the foreshore and sea bed.  At the 2005 election in Opposition, current prime minister John Key accused Labour of "caving into" iwi. But in 2010 John Key's government proposals makes way for removal of Crown ownership so coastal iwi can lay claim. If Hugh Barr is critical of National's bill, he does not share confidence in Labour to champion public concern.
       The Crown foreshore and seabed covers a massive area containing natural resources, among them iron sands and titanium, estimated  by government to be worth billions of dollars.
       "Equally there are potentially billions of dollars to be made from aquaculture and many millions from coastal tourism such as whale watching. It includes all harbours and estuaries. Covering more than 10 million hectares, it has high outdoor recreation value with freshwater and saltwater fishing, boating, diving, swimming, surfing, etc."
       In the book a hard hitting and vigorous assault on government moves, Hugh Barr singles out Attorney General Chris Finlayson as driving the new law.
       "Finlayson is a former Ngai Tahu negotiator with very close links to iwi."
       Hugh Barr described the processes carried out by National as "biased and unfair." He sees extreme danger in the law giving an claimant the right to negotiate with the minister "in secret". There is no process for the public to challenge the secret decisions.
       He described the National-led government of being "contemptuous of the public interest."
       Referring to public access, Hugh Barr says the proposed law has no penalties for iwi charging for access or for prohibiting access. Wardens can be appointed for patrolling wahi tapu and fines up to $5000 can be imposed on the public entering wahi tapu.
       "National is giving ever greater privileges to iwi by letting the Maori Party write its own blank cheque while ignoring the interests of the majority of New Zealanders."
       Some have labelled Hugh Barr's advocacy as racist.
`       "Nonsense" he replies. "We are two peoples, but one nation. We should all jointly have the benefits and responsibilities as a people of managing the foreshore and seabed. This is social equity that we should all share."
Note:- "The Gathering Storm over the Foreshore and Seabed - why they must remain in Crown ownership," by Dr Hugh Barr, can be obtained by:-
(a) by post, sending $20 a copy to Tross Publishing, PO Box 22-143 Khandallah, Wellington 6441 or
(b) by internet - email <> and make an internet banking transfer to Tross Publishing 03 0584 0210107 000

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