Turia bill aims to repeal foreshore law

By Paula Oliver

The Maori Party wants to rekindle the foreshore and seabed debate and has drafted a bill to repeal the controversial legislation that triggered co-leader Tariana Turia's departure from Labour.

A long foreshadowed private member's bill in Mrs Turia's name has been completed and her party will release it today before seeking support from other political parties to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mrs Turia said yesterday the bill would take the situation "back to the status quo" so that a discussion could begin on the issue.

"It's really so that proper process can be undertaken - where a real dialogue is initiated within our communities of New Zealand."

Mrs Turia said the issue was a "property rights" one and she doubted that ordinary people realised what actually happened when the legislation passed because it was "sold to them" as being a battle over access.

The bill could cause a few headaches around Parliament if it is drawn from the ballot because several parties have hinted that they could vote for it.

Among them are the Greens and Act, and National has also said it might consider reviewing the act in some way.

If National, the Greens and Act backed the bill, United Future could decide its fate because New Zealand First is thought unlikely to vote for it.

Mrs Turia said the issue was discussed with some parties after last year's election and "we're hoping that some of them who were involved in those discussions will hold to what they agreed to then - or what they felt that they could agree to".

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