Winston Peters has broken more than six months of silence, launching a blistering attack on a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
The New Zealand First leader has also hinted at a political
comeback in an exclusive interview with TVNZ's Q + A programme, his
first since the election.
He has been off air since the election and now he's back on the political stage with a blistering attack on the Ministerial review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
The review panel last week recommended the act be repealed and
that interim legislation should be put in place until MPs work out
a way to recognise Maori rights to the foreshore and seabed.
"You've heard about the separate court system, the separate prisons system, the separate education system. And now you've got a separate ownership system," Peters told ONE News political editor Guyon Espiner.
Peters claims if the review recommendations are picked up by the government some Maori will restrict access to the beach.
"They are arguing about title. Make no mistake about it they are
arguing something separatist. And if that's the way that New
Zealand is to go then our future towards the Third World is
certain," he says.
The Maori Party, though, argues there's nothing to fear.
"If you were to wake up tomorrow, Guyon, and all of the seabed and foreshore was in Maori title within a couple of years, I don't think you'd be particularly fussed about it because you'd still be going to the beach," says Hone Harawira, Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tokerau.
The review claimed Maori and Pakeha have very different world
views about the foreshore and seabed. Maori see it as a food source
while Pakeha see it as a playground, it claimed.
"How do you construct a different world view when the mass majority of Maori activists I know have less than a quarter Maori in them and when I know so many Europeans who value the beach for, its shellfish, for its contact with nature and for their love of New Zealand being the way it is," says Peters.
When it comes to his political future, it is possible to get straight answers.
Asked is he still the leader of New Zealand First, Peters says,
Other answers are more cryptic. Peters claims National stole his policies but can't carry them through.
"I said at the time it's one thing to steal a man's horse outside a saloon, it's something else to stay on his back riding out of town. They just fell off it," he says.
Mounting a political comeback it seems is still an option. Ninety five thousand people voted for New Zealand First in the last election.
So will Peters stand for election again in 2011?
"Those 95,000 people will know that Winston Peters has never been inconsistent on these issues when others have been all over the place," he replies, refusing to agree that that sounds like a 'yes'.
"Well you can take it anyway you like but I'm here to talk about the foreshore and seabed as we agreed, exclusively."