The [Foreshore and Seabed] act represents the will of most New Zealanders and neatly settled a nascent issue.Regardless of your take on the whole issue, it's obvious that arbitrarily imposing a solution on a large group of people does not "neatly settle" anything. If merely creates more grievance.
Despite the protestations of activists, Maori never had customary rights to the beaches or inner harbours. They were simply developing this legal device when former prime minister Helen Clark slammed the door shut.
The beaches are for everyone, she declared. Neither colour nor culture should determine access or ownership.
And who could disagree with that? Only those who seek to claim a peculiar and particular status based upon race. Or that other great chimera: a status based upon being tangata whenua.
Talking of life's mysteries, why does anyone pay Michael Laws for this stuff?
It remains one of life's mysteries as to why those migrants who scrambled onto New Zealand's shores first are provided a status that exalts their citizenship above all others. This is a nation built by many waves of migrants Maori, European, Pacific Islander, Asian, South African. That one has precedence is ridiculous and racist.
After all, taking advice from Laws on race relations would be about as clever as leaving Gary Glitter to babysit your kids.