This week, the Act Party claimed to have scored a victory by forcing a clause into new foreshore legislation specifically banning iwi from charging for beach access.

Email traffic suggests that Rodney Hide's boast of a political victory was a gift from National in a deal hatched three weeks ago.

That may annoy the Maori Party leadership, which has portrayed a possible amendment to specifically ban charging as an "insult".

The Maori Party attitude is predicated on a belief that Maori have always owned the foreshore and seabed and have always been generous in the past in allowing free access.

Act and the Maori Party are both support partners of the minority Government but Act is opposing the repeal bill and all but one of the Maori Party is supporting it.

Hide bragged this week that his newest MP, Hilary Calvert, had scored a win on her first day in the job yesterday.

She got the agreement of Attorney-General Chris Finlayson in Parliament to consider an amendment to the repeal bill to specifically state that charging for public access to beaches would not be allowed.

Finlayson has argued it is not necessary to spell out that charging for public access under the proposed regime is banned because there is no enabling power to do so in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

But his answer yesterday indicated a change of heart and Hide made instant capital out of it.

"I've never seen a new MP achieve a major policy win on behalf of all New Zealanders on their first day," Hide trumpeted in a press statement. "It's a stunning achievement for Hilary Calvert and the Act Party."

But emails between Finlayson's office and Hide's office on September 21 showed that agreement to such a clause had already been decided.

It is evident from the emails Hide and Finlayson discussed the issue on the night of September 20. Hide's office was told that if there was a question asking about a specific clause prohibiting charging for access to the beach Finlayson would say something like such a clause was not required but to avoid doubt in response to concerns raised by Act, it would include such a provision.

On Radio new Zealand yesterday Finlayson said he would consider an amendment and put the victory talk down to "bushy-eyed idealism" by the new MP.

Hide then suggested in a radio interview that he had an email from Finlayson's office saying that Finlayson would definitely support an amendment.

In question time yesterday, Finlayson said he would be willing to "promote" such as amendment.

Finlayson may prefer to initiate an amendment rather than play a game with Act that allows it to ungraciously claim victories that beat National around the head.