I am saddened to report that the damage to our democracy is gathering speed. Recently we came across a copy of the Government’s Local Government and Iwi/hapū engagement document the Three Waters Reform Programme Local Government and Iwi/hapū engagement, March 2021. This document was the basis of a series of workshops held for Local Government and Iwi/hapu throughout the month of March. You will note that the general public has been excluded from this conversation – thereby failing to acknowledge that all people have a vested interest in water - this vital essence of all life.
The proposed models for the Water Services Entities bring to mind the National Iwi Chairs Forum commissioned report Matike Mai, which promotes a blueprint for how they believe a Te Tiriti based partnership should operate. Just as Matike Mai proposes spheres of influence that include a ‘Rangatiratanga Sphere’ whereby Māori make decisions, and a ‘Kāwanatanga Sphere’ whereby the Crown makes decisions, the water services delivery models put forward for discussion with Iwi/hapu and councils are highly undemocratic in nature.
The Iwi Chairs Forum has expressed an expectation that, in addition to a strong rangatiratanga sphere, the partnership will apply at all levels and include the shaping of new legislation, policies and practices in those areas that affect whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori organisations. You can see this expectation being played out in the Three Waters Reform Programme.
What other democratic nation in the world is foolish enough to position some citizens, due to their ancestry, above all others in the management and provision of this basic necessity?
You can read more about this issue in the article below.
Councils around the country are coming under increasing pressure to introduce Māori wards. Just over a week ago Hamilton City Council voted to put off the establishment of Māori wards for the 2022 election until more public consultation was done. However, after what appears to be intense lobbying from some quarters over Easter weekend, the Mayor announced an abrupt u-turn on Tuesday. After a meeting between Mayor Southgate and Waikato-Tainui representatives the council was advised a majority of councillors had formally sought to revoke last week’s decision. The Notice of Revocation will be addressed as part of the Council's meeting about the Long-Term Plan on April 15. This will allow for the council to ponder a new motion which considers putting Māori wards in place by the next election. Te Arataura Chair (Waikato-Tainui) Linda Te Aho: “We recognise that last week’s decision has led to tension in our communities and while we encourage robust debate it must be respectful and focused on the kaupapa rather than individuals”.
In addition to Hamilton City Council and the Taupo, Whakatane, Wellington and Invercargill Council resolutions mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the following have recently voted to consider the introduction of Māori wards: Waipa, Hawke’s Bay, Horizons, and Horowhenua. If your council is one that is considering this option, we urge you to have your say – but you will need to be pro-active, as councils are actively seeking the views of Māori communities but shamefully are very remiss about seeking feedback from the wider community.
Have your Say
You may be interested in also providing feedback on the following:
- The Northland Regional Council's new 10-year plan. Your feedback must reach the council by Friday, 16 April 2021.
- Rotorua Lakes Council draft Long-Term Plan for 2021-2031. Your feedback must reach the council by 4pm Friday, 30 April 2021.
- The draft 10-yr plan for Auckland’s transport network. Feedback is due by Sunday, 2 May 2021.
- The proposed closure of the eastern Coromandel scallop fishery, out to 12 nautical miles. See article below for details. Submissions are due by Monday, 18 May 2021.
Thank you so much for helping to defend our democracy. It is crucial we stand up to the forces who are intent on destroying not only our democracy and the equality of citizenship on which it is based, but are also taking a sledgehammer to our history to meld it into a tool to clobber the populace into submission - the heinous lies being told about the incident at Rangiaowhia on February 21, 1864, being a case in point. Please see article below for more on this issue.To keep up to date with democracy issues facing New Zealand, please remember to regularly check-out the Democracy Action Facebook page, where we post opinion pieces and new items as they come to hand.
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