May 07, 2004

beaches with honour

So, an alternative to the bill currently before Parliament:

* allow the law to grant title to foreshore where Maori can prove they have a right to it

* set up a legal structure which protects access to and enjoyment of important areas of New Zealand.

That way Maori can be granted legal ownership over areas the current (mostly pakeha created) law thinks they belong to. We can break the pattern of land confiscation and changing the law to suit ourselves. All requirements of honour and justice are served. Maori relationships with the land and sea are recognised.

And we can also create a system that recognises and protects all citizen's access to and enjoyment of those areas we regard as being important to us. This would apply to *all* areas of importance, including:

* areas of foreshore currently in private (and sometimes foreign) hands
* areas around rivers
* some walking tracks across private land
* some mountain tops, and
* some historical areas (possibly including war memorials).

These areas would need to be specifically designated and recorded, possibly following the pattern of conservation or defence land.

The access rights would require balancing against the interests of the private owners, but would create a starting point which favours protection of the BBQ and the swimming lesson.

Possible reasons for restricting access to these 'important' areas might include:

* safety of the public
* conservation values
* commercial risk, or
* national security.

This would protect most existing restrictions (the Wellington harbour includes restrictions over Shelly Bay, Thorndon, Moa Point, Lyall Bay, Evans Bay, Pencarrow Heads, Owhiro Bay, Soames/Matiu Island, Waiwhetu stream, Fort Dorsett, most of the western side of the harbour and Island Bay at the moment, and all these uses would be continued).

Regional and City Councils could stop any structures being built or rubbish being created.

Hell, the rights of access could be an constitutional right if they were entrenched in the Constitution Act.

In addition, none of the 'important' areas could be sold (except to the Government).

Posted by carla at May 7, 2004 11:47 PM
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