"The fact that the National Government is rushing the Marine and Coastal Area Bill back to Parliament before the Maori Affairs Select Committee has even had a chance to properly examine the submissions, is an absolute disgrace", Coastal Coalition spokesman, Dr Hugh Barr said today. "It displays the absolute arrogance with which National is treating the public on this crucial matter".
"The Marine and Coastal Area Bill, which will carve up parts of the coast to give to corporate iwi, is seen by New Zealanders as separatist legislation. It will essentially privatise to Maori groups much of the foreshore and seabed, which is currently managed as a public resource for all citizens".
"The foreshore and seabed has always been regarded as the birthright and common heritage of all New Zealanders equally. That John Key is willing to trade it away for the support of the Maori Party is reprehensible", Dr Barr said. "Around 2,000 kilometres of coast for 5 Maori party votes - is that all he thinks our precious coast is worth?"
"By trying to bulldoze this legislation through, the Prime Minister is ignoring due process and undermining our Parliamentary democracy. He is treating the thousands of submitters on this bill - iwi and non-iwi - with absolute contempt by ignoring their submissions. But the situation is actually much worse".
"John Key is breaking a solemn promise he himself made to all New Zealanders by ramming through this Bill. He clearly stated when kicking off this issue that he would withdraw the Bill if there was not widespread support."
The New Zealand Press Association reported it this way on March 31 2010 at the launch of the proposed legislation, "Mr Key said the public domain concept was a pragmatic way to heal a 'weeping sore', but if there was not wide support then the current law could remain in place. The intent here is to put this issue to bed in a satisfactory way to the bulk of New Zealanders..." 
"Almost everyone who has read and understood the Bill is opposed to it" Dr Barr said. "This includes both Iwi and non-iwi. The only people who want to see the Bill passed into law are National Party MPs, most Maori Party MPs, and Peter Dunne. No-one else wants the Bill.
"John Key should honour his promise and withdraw the Bill before it does more damage to race relations", Dr Barr said.
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