Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Attorney-General) : This is a very important issue of black-letter law, and I am excited by this legislation. But it would be quite remiss of me, on this red-letter day for the Labour Party, not to express my sympathy to that party for its ongoing problems. I am especially sorry for my good friend Trevor Mallard, who has today lost his special buddy at pump class at Bodyworks on Thorndon Quay, Chris Carter.
CHRIS TREMAIN (National—Napier) to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage: What recent announcements has the Government made about support for regional museums?
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) : I begin by thanking the speaker who has just resumed her seat, the Hon Maryan Street, for her generous comments and helpful insights; they were greatly appreciated. The Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill marks another milestone heralding the advent of a new era for the Waikato River in which the Crown, iwi, and local authorities will work side by side to bring about the restoration and protection of the health and well-being of the Waikato River for present and future generations.
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Attorney-General) : I move, That the Legislation Bill be now read a first time. At the appropriate time I intend to move that the bill be referred to the Regulations Review Committee for consideration. Today is an exciting day for black-letter law. There are some people who may say this is all dullsville, but I remind them that these days legislation, not case law, is the major source of law in this land. I can say that no better than to quote from a paper I was given today by an Australian called Wainwright, who had prepared a paper for a meeting of senior officials of Commonwealth law ministries. He said: “It’s axiomatic that legislation, both primary and secondary, has assumed ever-increasing importance in Government and in the everyday lives of people over the last 200 years, and continues to do so at what some see as an alarming rate. Even political parties committed to the ideal of small government seem unable to do without it.” I suppose that is us. He continued: “In addition to making laws in response to concerns arising within their respective jurisdictions, legislatures are increasingly under pressure to do so in order to meet expanding international obligations.” So one cannot get away from legislation, and legislation has to be kept up to date and it needs to be accessible, not just for lawyers and parliamentarians but for everyone.
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) : I am pleased to take a call briefly to address some of the points raised by the previous speakers. I say in answer to some of the concerns expressed by the Māori Party member in relation to the UN special rapporteur that I had a couple of meetings with him last week. He had made no definitive conclusions, because his report has not yet been released. He generally was of the impression that in many respects this country, in a bipartisan way, is leading the world in this area and that since Mat Rata established the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975, and Geoffrey Palmer extended the jurisdiction in 1984, some very, very good work has been done. I agree with him.
DAVID GARRETT (ACT) to the Attorney-General: Further to the Prime Minister’s answer to oral question No. 3 yesterday, what are “the concerns that New Zealanders had about solely having Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed”, and how does the Government’s proposal to legislate for iwi ownership of the foreshore and seabed alleviate these concerns?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Attorney-General: Is he satisfied that he has shown the attention to detail in his role as Attorney-General necessary to maintain public confidence in the office?
KANWALJIT SINGH BAKSHI (National) to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage: What progress is the Government making in conjunction with Sir Peter Jackson with the review of the New Zealand Film Commission?