Submission to Foreshore and Seabed Review panel

Kia Ora koutou,

The Guardians of the Sounds would like to acknowledge Maori rights to the Foreshore and Seabed, those rights had never been extinguished through legislation, nor had it ever been purchased, the foreshore and seabed legislation was in our view a modern day act of confiscation.

Guardians have fought long and hard to protect the natural environment of the Totaranui,( Queen Charlotte Sounds.) and the culture and physical health and well being of our people.

The whole foreshore and seabed debarcle started here in Marlborough, as a result of squabbles over  unfair allocation of the seabed for aquaculture farms , this was because of the way that the MDC hearings committee had allowed themselves to be manipulated by the industry players. In other words they had allowed themselves to be corrupted.

Well after all their posturing it is happening again, the MDC have stuck a backroom deal with the  aquaculture industry, they are seeking a variation to the district plan which will get rid of the tendering process,and allow aquaculture companies to apply for private plan changes to select AMA areas.( Aquaculture Marine Areas. )    All this without public consultation.

If a company wants a farm in an area that is not designated as an AMA it can apply to the MOF’s and they will allocate them with an experimental license.

This will mean that the seabed of the Marlborough Sounds will end up being owned by large multinational companies who will monopolize the seabed , the terrible pollution that results from aquaculture farms will ruin the sounds environment and the Sounds people will be powerless to stop it.

You might well say that marine farmers don’t own the sea bed that they only have a right to occupy for a period of time, that’s correct technically, the term is usually for 25 yrs , however we have tried to get salmon farms removed when their time was up but was told that  council  could apply new  conditions, but could not remove the farms.  So once they are allocated these companies have a transferable right to the seabed in perpeturity.

The Port Company a subsidiary of the MDC have recently embarked on a course of action which will give them not ownership per say, but absolute control of the foreshore and seabed of Shakespear bay, Waikawa Bay and whatamungo Bays.

This is over allocation of boat moorings and the right to occupy the seabed. When coastal occupancy charges are introduced the MDC will be making a fortune out of the seabed allocations in the Marlborugh Sounds and Maori wont have a bar of it.

The Port Company also have plans for a massive marina development in Waikawa Bay, out over our cockle beds and are steaming ahead with these plans over top of Iwi objections.

These are all issues that need to be addressed by the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the implications are far more serious than just concentrating on public access.

Another thing to be wary of is that all NZ Port companies are council owned and their returns are very poor, any council accountant will tell you it would be far better financially for them to privatize, this would inevitably result in foreign ownership of NZ Ports.

An interesting thing was discovered during the claims process, and that was that when Picton town was purchased by The NZ Company from Te Atiawa they also purchase ownership of Picton Harbour, so back then it was acknowleged that Maori had legal ownership of the seabed.