Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pulling the Queen's Chain

New Zealanders believed for many years in the "Queen's Chain" - a strip of land with public access around the coast and rivers of New Zealand. Sadly, no legislation was ever passed to enshrine this.

The UK government (in a rare moment of good sense) has just proposed a similar, but real, coastal access strip, for England and Wales (Scotland has had a coastal walkway for some time).
It's going to cost GBP50 million - not a lot really, given the length of coast and the price of land.

We need the same thing. Our coasts shouldn't be private preserves. Beaches and clifftops should be open to public access, whether they belong to Mr Rich Whitebastard, Ports Of Auckland or Ngati Whatua. This would remove the need for the (racist) Foreshore And Seabed Act and take us closer to having a right then many thought we always had. This is not, by the way, confiscation. Everyone would keep their land - they would simply have to concede the rights of the greater community to access.


tatjna said...

I'm curious why you think the Foreshore and Seabed Act is racist. Not so I can debate with you, but because I know you're one of the few people who's probably actually read and understands the legislation, and I'd like to hear your take on it.

Rich said...

Because it extinguishes Maori customary title to foreshore and seabed but doesn't touch private title.

So port companies and individuals keep any freeholds, but iwi lose their customary rights.

tatjna said...

The legislation really does seem to have pleased nobody. And it's been accused of being racist in both directions now.

And the arguments in both directions are quite compelling, which says to me that they -should- really go back to the drawing board on this one.