The Landowners Coalition is a non-profit incorporated society dedicated to the protection of property rights. We advocate on behalf of the public on matters of public interest, and on behalf of individuals when the property rights are related to private property. We are funded entirely by supporter donations. No funding is received from business interests, political parties, or government agencies. The group was established in 2013 and formalised as an incorporated society in 2014.
Firstly, a big thank you to our many members who supported the Landowners Coalition during what has been a long and tortuous legal process. We have been engaged in the process for 12 years now.
As you will recall, the LoC registered as an interested party in some 202 cases taken by iwi/hapu in the High Court to gain Customary Marine Title to the foreshore and seabed.
We actively participated in the first of these cases to come before the Court – the Edwards claim for an area around Opotiki. Our aim was to ensure the Courts applied the law as Parliament had intended – or more to the point, how the National Party said it would be applied when responding to public submissions.
The High Court applied a very enabling pro tikanga interpretation of the law so we appealed it to the Court of Appeal – essentially on the grounds that law should be taken literally, rather than interpreted through a tikanga lense.
Although the Court of Appeal did not uphold the granting of two customary titles due to a lack of evidence (and sent these back to the High Court to rehear), it upheld the points of law and the High Court’s application of tikanga.
The effect is that the door is now wide open for Maori interests to gain customary title to the foreshore and seabed – virtually as of right. Declining title will be the exception. This is completely the opposite of what Chris Finlayson assured the public in 2012 would be the effect; saying that no more than 10% of the coast would meet the customary title test.
We are of course disappointed with the Court of Appeal decision. We feel it is fundamentally flawed and are yet to decide what to do next. We are also alarmed at the extent to which tikanga has become embedded within our law, largely without any mandate from the public.
The only positive to come from the case is that we now know with certainty how the Courts will apply the Marine and Coastal Area Act.
Our view is National got this law badly wrong, and it needs to correct its error so the Act does what National said it would do.
Throughout this process, we have been working closely with the NZ Centre for Political Research. Muriel Newman has produced an excellent summary of the case. Here >>>
Golden Bay farmers ‘overwhelmed’ by raft of reforms
This is typical of the effect SNAs are having on rural communities nationwide. It requires a united response.
The Act Party has said it would remove the requirement for councils to identify Significant Natural Areas through the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, It would instead offer financial incentives for landowners to improve the green environment.
This is a position the Landowners Coalition has argued since its inception. We believe imposing heavy-handed regulation onto landowners is counterproductive and will provide less long-term benefit for the green environment than a regime based on positive incentives.
From what our supporters are telling us, we know anecdotally that some landowners are making a decision NOT to return pasture to native bush because they fear the councils would designate that area to be of “significance” and take away their rights to manage that land as the landowner wishes.
Notice to Supporters
Thank you to everyone who has supported our fundraising campaign to refer the Hgh Court decision in the Edwards case to the Court of Appeal.
A notice of appeal has been filed. A number of Applicants to the High Court case have also appealed, essentially arguing that the High Court should have been granted customary title to certain groups. The Attorney General has joined the appeal as an “intervenor”.
Our fundraising appeal is continuing, and your support would be greatly appreciated. Unlike other parties to the appeal, the Landowners Coalition Inc does not receive any financial assistance from the government to pursue this matter of public interest.
Donations may be made to our bank account: ASB Bank 12-3099-0067259-00
“The previous National Government’s decision to include references to tikanga in the Marine and Coastal Area Act has come home to roost because it has resulted in a complete distortion of the common law.”, says Act NZ.
To read the full press release see: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2106/S00040/is-tikanga-now-the-law.htm
Does this mean we now have Kupe’s law (tikunga) and Cook’s law (common law)?
NOTE: The Attorney General will join the appeal to the Court of Appeal as what’s known as an “intervenor”. See http://www.landownerscoalition.co.nz/2021/06/05/191/
Crown decides against appealing latest foreshore and seabed decision
4 Jun, 2021 04:31 PM
“The Crown has decided not to lodge an appeal in the first major foreshore and seabed decision under the current law which awarded customary title in three parts of Eastern Bay of Plenty to six hapu of Whakatohea. Instead, the Crown has applied to be an “intervenor” in the case.” See full article… https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/crown-decides-against-appealing-latest-foreshore-and-seabed-decision/SV3JXYO6ZPU42MAXOFQCFGOVFI/
Although the Herald has stated the Crown has not appealed the case, the office of the Attorney General will play an important role in the Appeal as an “intervenor”. The Law Commission describes that role as: “The role of an intervener is closely related to that of an amicus curiae. Interveners are also not parties to the case but they can be permitted to participate in the proceedings if it is in the public interest or, less commonly, for their own private interest”.
An Amicus curiae, (Latin for “friend of the court”) is one who assists the court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact.
That is an important role in this case as there are key questions of law that arise from the judgment that directly affects the public. The case has particular importance as it is the first of hundreds of claims for title to the foreshore and seabed and acts as a precedent.
Some are describing it as a land grab. Others are saying it’s confiscation by stealth. However it is described, almost half of the land area of the Far North District Council will be affected if the proposed designation of significant natural areas (SNAs) goes ahead.
This is not the first time the council has proposed SNAs. The Landowners Coalition has been down this path a number of times and represented landowners interests. We will do so again. We have expressed an interest in the issue with the FNDC and will make a submission during the formal stages of the process.
Here’s the reality for landowners. The submission and appeal process is such that it is beyond the means of most people – time and time again those with a genuine grievance being burnt off by the process. That’s where the Landownes Coalition Inc can assist. We have a solid support base to assist in meeting the legal costs and we have in house experience in planning matters.
Maori say it should not apply to Maori land – because it will affect the productive use of the land and, of course, because of the obligations councils have under the Treaty of Waitangi and the partnership that they say was created at the time. These groups are well funded, and in some cases receive central government funding that is not available to others.
Please contact us should you like assistance through the submission process and possible representation should the plan change ends up before the Environment Court, as is likely.
Notice to supporters
As you will be aware Justice Churchman has delivered his decision in the Edwards case, the first of 202 cases before the High Court seeling customary title to the foreshore and seabed. As you also know, the Landowners Coalition is what’s referred to as an Interested Party in all 202 claims. We have done so on behalf of the public interest and our supporters who do not have the means or ability to undertake these initiatives themselves.
The Churchman decision has granted customary title to a number of applicants for areas that are generally just south of Whakatane. While we believe there are cases where there are valid claims for a customary title, the advice we have is that those areas are likely to be relatively small. At the time the legislation was passed into law the then Attorney General indicated it would be around 4% of the coastline.
The judgment in the Edwards case takes a much more liberal view of the law, and we believe it has not been applied in a manner that was intended by Parliament.
A large number of supporters have raised the prospect of an appeal, and thank you for your moral and financial support to do so. An appeal is currently being considered.
POST NOTE: An appeal has been lodged by the Landowners Coalition.
This ANZAC day our nation pays our respects to the millions of young lives lost in the two World Wars, sacrificed in defence of democracy, our way of life and freedom from tyranny.
Our Northland Councils and Labour Government have completely undermined that sacrifice in cancelling the right of citizens to have their say about race based on our Councils.
Over 15,000 signatures were collected in Northland to have a referendum (well over the number required), which demonstrate the opposition to communities being divided by race. However, the Labour government ran roughshod over those rights and our local councils have ignored the +15,000 people who signed the petitions.
This is not democracy, this is a dictatorship, a “we know best” philosophy of Russia or China where the will of a few is imposed on the majority.
Our Anzac’s fought for democracy – not oppression, or tyranny.
When our representatives attend dawn parades to pay respect to those who have paid the ultimate price so we can live in a democracy, let’s hope our leaders use the moment of silence and solitude to reflect on what democracy means.