Iwi won't be able to charge for beach access: Govt

The Government wants to make it clear iwi won't be able to charge for access to beaches under legislation that will replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has previously said customary title won't entitle holders to levy charges, but the ACT Party says there is no specific clause in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill that prevents it.

Mr Finlayson told Parliament today it had been suggested a direct statement in the Bill that charging was not allowed would make the issue more understandable.

"I am certainly willing to consider that," he said.

The issue was raised by ACT's new MP Hilary Calvert, who said she was going to put up an amendment to the Bill which would disallow charging in the same way the current legislation does.

"I would welcome receiving the member's proposed amendment," Mr Finlayson said.

When the bill is passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act will be repealed and replaced with the new legislation.

It allows iwi to seek customary title to parts of the coastline, either through the courts or through negotiation with the Government.

The test will be that iwi must be able to prove continuous use and occupation since 1840.

ACT leader Rodney Hide welcomed Mr Finlayson's assurance that Ms Calvert's amendment would be considered.

"Although this is a step in the right direction, we do not believe this is enough," he said.

"ACT is also concerned about the provision in the Bill that allows those seeking customary title to negotiate directly with the Attorney-General behind closed doors."




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