Sunday, 24 August 2008

Changing the game plan: the Foreshore and Seabed Act and constitutional change

by Dr Maria Bargh from New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online May 2006 In June 2003, when the Government announced its intention to legislate regarding the foreshore and seabed, two of the Government’s central claims were that they sought to protect the foreshore and seabed for “all New Zealanders” and that they were treating all New Zealanders in a fair and equal manner within the legislation and according to the procedures of parliament. In this article, I will firstly examine a number of events which have occurred since the passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and which I argue bring into question the Government’s claims surrounding the foreshore and seabed legislation.1 Having the Government’s actions characterised as breaching Te Tiriti o Waitangi and national and international human rights laws and standards suggests a level of inadequacy in our constitutional arrangements. It is in respect of this inadequacy that a change in game plan appears now to be required. When players change the game plan in rugby they completely change the tactics of their play. I suggest that given the inadequacies of our current constitutional arrangements, a change is needed to provide for constitutional development and to adequately protect Te Tiriti, human rights law, and subsequently Maori.
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