Call for coastal claimants to get a hustle on

By Maiki Sherman

Almost 40 applications have been made to the Crown and High Court under the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011 (MACA Act).

However, not all applications have been recognised, and there are also concerns over the costs to applicants and the threshold they must meet.

Te Ururoa Flavell may be new to his ministerial role, but the Māori Party are leaders when it comes to the Marine and Coastal Area Act (MACA Act).

“We've completed the job we were tasked with and now it's time for the people to decide their own way forward,” says Flavell.

However, Nanaia Mahuta has a challenge for the Māori Party.

She says, “If they are true to their own words, then where in this Act is the reprieve for those sub-tribes and families who held grave concerns (regarding the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004)? They haven't yet answered that.”

Flavell says, “What was the original purpose of the Māori Party? It was the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

It's now 10 years since then and here we are discussing applications before the High Court.”

A total of 38 applications have been made under the MACA Act. 12 with the High Court, 26 with the Crown.

It's expected that a claim over the Titi Islands, near Rakiura, will be the first to be tested in the High Court at the end of this year.

Mahuta and Flavell have concerns over the costs which may be incurred by the applicants.   

Mahuta says, “If the courts find there is legitimate reason for these applications to be taken, then perhaps the Crown should look at covering some of the costs incurred by applicants who go directly to the High Court.”

Flavell says, “Some have waited a long time for their applications to be heard before the Crown or the courts so if that can take place this year, that would be great.”

The Crown says it's currently in discussions with three groups and in the second half of the year, it expects the collection of evidence to start.

However, of the 26 applications, 10 have been dismissed. Nanaia Mahuta says perhaps that confirms the fear that the threshold is too high.

In April next year, the period for applications to be received will close.