Maori will refuse to forgo their rights to the foreshore and seabed and see it vested in the public domain unless private owners do the same, says Mark Solomon, Ngai Tahu chairman and member of a Maori iwi leadership group.

The Government has agreed to repeal Labour's foreshore and seabed legislation, which put the areas in Crown ownership.

A ministerial review found that the Foreshore and Seabed Act was unfair and said that was because it removed property rights available to Maori.

This year the Government said its preferred option to replace the legislation was to declare it a public domain, which no one can own, while reasserting the right of Maori to seek customary but not freehold title through the courts.

Mr Solomon said the leadership group met on Friday and unanimously rejected the public domain proposal and agreed to seek assurances that past Treaty breaches were not used to extinguish rights.

"We refuse to forgo all of our rights and put our rights to the foreshore under the public domain, as long as there are still 12,500 titles sitting there, private titles to the foreshore," he told the TVNZ programme Q+A.

"If you put them into the public domain, then iwi will have the discussion about putting all of our rights into the public domain."

Mr Solomon said Maori also wanted an "absolute assurance" past breaches were not used against them.

- NZPA