Claiming back New Zealand

Hobson's Pledge TrustCoastal ruling appeal email address corrected

This email is to correct Attorney General David Parker’s email address since, earlier today, we asked you to email him to stick up for all New Zealanders by appealing against the High Court judgement two weeks ago that granted a Bay of Plenty Maori group customary marine title to several coastal areas.

The claim for customary marine title was made under a 2011 law called the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.  This provided for a customary marine title to be granted where the claimant tribe could establish, to the Court’s satisfaction, that it had had “continuous and exclusive” use of the particular part of the coast since 1840. 

At the time it was passed into law, the assessment of the relevant Minister was that it would be extremely difficult for any tribe to establish that they had had “continuous and exclusive” use of the claimed coastline, and that as a result the number of successful claims would be very tiny.

Despite the claimed part of the coastline between Whakatane and Opotiki having been forfeited when the related land was subject to confiscation, the judge found in favour of the claimants and injected consideration of “tikanga” into his decision, effectively allowing that to override the specific provisions in the Act. 

If this decision is allowed to stand, it is likely that hundreds of claims for customary marine title – involving most if not all of the coastline – will succeed.

The Attorney General has a statutory responsibility to act in the public interest. His Office has already expressed concern that the Crown’s position has not been correctly represented in the High Court decision, and that the law is not being applied as intended by Parliament.

As a result, the Attorney General is now considering whether or not the decision should be appealed to the Court of Appeal. The deadline for making that decision is 5pm today, and it is vitally important that as many people as possible urge him to lodge an appeal. The email address of the Attorney General, the Hon David Parker, is d.parker@ministers.govt.nz Hobson’s Pledge Trust

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