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April 2021

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:

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.

Thank you for your continued interest and support. If you have any suggestions you would like to offer, or if you need further information or help, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

And please help spread the message by sharing our newsletters with anyone who may be interested. You can receive further updates by registering or joining us.

Kind regards,

Susan Short

[email protected]

Further Councils Considering Establishing Māori Wards

Councils: Waipa, Hawke’s Bay, Horizons, Horowhenua, Hamilton As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the new Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021 extended the deadline for councils to consider Māori wards for the 2022 triennial local government elections to 21 May 2021. This has brought forward a flurry of proposals and votes.  Continue reading

Next Steps For Māori Representation In Local Government

As covered in our March newsletter, the Government has passed the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021. This legislation abolished a democratic right that allowed the community to force a public vote if their council made the decision to introduce Maori wards. The legislation also reopened the window for councils to consider Maori wards in time for the 2022 elections, which some are now doing.  Continue reading

Another Day, Another Rāhui

Ngāti Hei Trust has requested a temporary closure to the eastern Coromandel scallop fishery, citing the degradation of the scallop bed in their application. After a “successful” voluntary rāhui over summer, the iwi now wish to make it official for another two years, and have vastly extended the area under the rāhui -  from Opito Bay to Anarake Point in the north, to Opoutere in the south, stretching 12 nautical miles offshore, to include the islands of Repanga/Cuvier, Ahuahu/Great Mercury, Ohinau, Whakahau/Slipper and the Alderman Islands.  Continue reading

Next Steps for Three Waters Reform

This is a complex set of reforms the Government intends to implement in stages over the next three years.  The first stage was the Water Services Regulator Act - which created the water services regulator ‘Taumata Arowai’. This body will oversee and enforce a new drinking water regulatory framework, and have oversight of the management of our wastewater and stormwater networks. This is designed to ensure that minimum water standards are met no matter who the supplier. This new Crown entity is currently being established, and will become responsible for drinking water regulation when the second stage, the Water Services Bill, is passed, which is expected to be mid-2021. Continue reading

April Recommended Reading

We've complied some recommended reading for the month of April. Continue reading

Another Media Council Fail

Recently a member sent a letter of complaint to Stuff regarding a comment made by Labour MP Arena Williams as guest columnist in newspapers published throughout New Zealand during February. The Williams commentary trotted out the oft-repeated lie about the Rangiaowhia affray - saying that “Colonel Nixon… was famous for razing unfortified Rangiaowhia while men, women and children burnt in their church.” The member writes:  “That would certainly be a callous act if it were true. But it is not.  Continue reading