Far North Mayor Wayne Brown has expressed his strong opposition to the Government's proposed solution to the foreshore and seabed, but his own council supports the general direction of the change to the legislation.

Mr Brown, who appeared before the Maori affairs select committee yesterday, criticised the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

But his position was at odds with the Far North District Council, which addressed the committee directly after Mr Brown and supported the Government's efforts to reach an "equitable balance".

The bill would restore the right of iwi to claim customary title in the courts, or to negotiate directly with the Government.

The test for customary title - exclusive use and occupation of the area since 1840 and held in accordance with tikanga (custom) - would be eased from the current test, but it has still been criticised as too difficult.

Mr Brown said the issue of control of the coastline was already a mess with the crossover of local authorities, and the Government needed to slow down and take a more considered approach.

He referred to comments from Auditor-General Chris Finlayson, who described some critics of the bill as "clowns", and from Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, who said the bill was a failure while ruffling the feathers of "rednecks".

"That makes almost everybody out here a redneck clown and that's not helpful.

"We're not looking to start a circus, and you shouldn't be either," Mr Brown said.

"I think it needs to be calmer, cooler, slower and more consultation, and I'm buggered if I don't see why I have to consult over puny things and you don't have to consult over something as important as this."

He said the bill had "sparked" a number of events that had led to "rapidly deteriorating" race relations, even though many of the land occupations were not directly related to the bill.

He said he supported the intent of the bill, and rubbished Labour's and Act's position of repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act of 2004 and leaving the matter to the courts.

He did not trust judges to find the right solution.