Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says fellow MP Hone Harawira is representing the view of a certain constituency when expressing disappointment over the foreshore and seabed agreement, but in reality it is a big step forward.
Prime Minister John Key and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Mrs Turia called a joint press conference yesterday to announce agreement had been reached on repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.
A new Act was likely to be in place by the end of the year, which involved removal of the foreshore and seabed from Crown ownership and making it a public space owned by no one.
The deal means Maori will be able to seek customary rights and customary title through the courts or by negotiating with the Government.
Mr Harawira expressed disappointment that the Government hadn't agreed to Maori title, and while iwi leaders involved in negotiations have recognised the progress made, they said further detail needed to be sorted out.
Mrs Turia said while Mr Harawira had his views, the agreement was a victory for the party.
"He is speaking for a constituency that clearly believes and understands exactly what it is that he is saying," she told Radio New Zealand today.
Mrs Turia said progressing the issue hadn't been easy "because while we have our constituency, we are very cognisant of the fact that there is another constituency - and it's called mainstream New Zealand".
The latest state of agreement between Maori and the Crown was something everyone could see as a way forward. "That's the reason we have agreed to it."
Mrs Turia said suggestions yesterday's deal was no different than what was on the table three months ago was wrong.
"I think what we announced yesterday was in fact clarity around the issues of title." Recognising "mana" over certain parts of the foreshore and seabed was also vital, she said.
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