Prime Minister John Key believes the Maori Party is more likely than not to support the Government's final proposal to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

"I wouldn't want to say it is a slam dunk but I think it's better than 50/50."

He also said the issue of the 12,500 parcels of private land raised by Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon had never been raised with him before by the iwi leaders group.

And a copy of the resolutions passed at a hui last Friday and leaked to the Herald show that the issue was not among the key points.

In fact it says that "although the Crown proposal does not meet all iwi/hapu concerns about the foreshore and seabed, it appears to improve on the position in the 2004 Act."

The act vested ownership of the foreshore and seabed in the Crown; National's concept of public domain would mean nobody owned it.

Mr Solomon, the spokesman for the iwi leadership group, said on Sunday that the hui on Friday had "unanimously rejected" the concept of "public domain" so long as the 12,500 parcels of privately owned titles in the foreshore were not put into public domain as well.

Mr Key said yesterday the issue of private parcels - about 3000 of which are Maori land - had never been raised with National.

"It wasn't on the table in 2004 and it's not on the table in 2010."

He believed the fundamental concerns that Maori had in 2004 - which they saw as Crown confiscation and the ability to access the courts - had been addressed in the Government's proposal.

It has yet to be signed off by Cabinet but Mr Key has given the Maori Party the final say as to whether it proceeds.

Ngati Porou leader Apirana Mahuika who was at the Friday hui was not critical of public domain.

"The question is do we want the Foreshore and Seabed Act to remain as it is now with all the limitations on it and all the rights in favour of the Crown without taking cognisance of the rights of Maori," he said on National Radio.

"Which is the better option? The better option is the public domain because then we can do something about it in terms of negotiations with the Crown about our iwi position."


The following resolutions were passed at the Hui a Iwi convened on the 4th June 2010 to discuss the foreshore and seabed replacement framework.

The attendees at the Hui a Iwi/hapu:

1. Recognise that mana whenua, which includes ownership as understood under tikanga [custom], rests with iwi/hapu who are the kaitiaki [guardians] of their respective rohe moana [coastal area];

2. Strongly support that the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 must be repealed and vesting of the foreshore and seabed in the Crown be revoked;

3. Recognise that the foreshore and seabed is, and must remain, inalienable as that is consistent with tikanga [custom];

4. Accept and affirm that the regime must, in respect of all foreshore and seabed, include the following as principles:
a. Explicit recognition of the mana of iwi/hapu as enduring and inalienable;
b. Explicit recognition of the partnership of the parties under the Te Tiriti o Waitangi [Treaty of Waitangi].

5. Accept and affirm the following as components of the replacement framework;
a. Direct negotiations between the Crown and iwi/hapu, provided that settlements and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi cannot be relied upon to extinguish rights;
b. Access to the courts as a constitutional right.

6. Emphasise that although the Crown proposal does not meet all iwi/hapu concerns about the foreshore and seabed it appears to improve on the position in the 2004 Act.

7. Recognise and acknowledge the iwi leaders working group (ILG) for the work and instructs them to further engage with the Crown, to develop and expand understandings, and further improve the outcomes for iwi/hapu.

8. Encourage the Government to recognise that the positions adopted by this hui of iwi/hapu may require a `longer conversation' between the Crown and iwi/hapu, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal and Ministerial Review Panel, and that if a `longer conversation' is pursued that the repeal of the 2004 Act and revocation of Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed be progressed in the immediate [future].