The party aims to be a new force in New Zealand politics, wooing Maori voters who have traditionally supported Labour. It has threatened to join forces with the centre-right National Party to oust Ms Clark's Labour minority government in an election due to be held next year.
Legislation placing the seabed and foreshore under public control is opposed by Maoris, who say it will deprive them of traditional ownership of coastal areas. The government says it is intended to protect public access to beaches and fisheries while accommodating Maori customs such as gathering seafood on ancestral lands. The plan sparked the biggest Maori protest for decades, with 20,000 demonstrators cramming the grounds of parliament in Wellington in May.
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