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August 2019

We wish to thank everyone who made a submission on the Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities Bill. Every submission helps, and we are grateful for the support.

Last year the Government signalled what was called a significant reset of relations between the Crown and Māori, and has consequently adopted a policy of extending partnerships with Māori beyond the negotiation table. Indeed, the Government has gone so far as to instruct its agencies, in certain instances, to devolve decision making power to Māori – with the Crown implementing the decisions made by Māori. See: Crown engagement with Maori 

When embarking on these partnership arrangements the government appears to be disregarding how much their policies are fostering and entrenching division by creating two classes of citizens, and threatening our democratic values and institutions. We see evidence of this in the Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities Bill, and again in the current review of the Plant Variety Rights Act, which includes a proposal for a new partnership with Maori in the decision-making process “that empowers the Commissioner of Plant Variety Rights, jointly with the Chair of the Māori advisory committee, to decide whether, on the basis of the Māori advisory committee’s advice, the Plant Variety Right should be granted”.

This is but one of the proposals of concern included in the Options Paper which has been released for public feedback. For more on the Plant Variety Rights review, see below. Please consider submitting on this issue.

Other actions you can also take include:

  • having your say on the Ninety Mile Beach management plan;
  • taking every opportunity to question local body candidates on issues of concern;
  • having your say on Local Government NZ’s discussion paper ‘The case for localising power and decision making to councils and communities’; and
  • talking to MPs and local body politicians, and your friends and family, about the serious issues that have arisen in regard to the claims made under the Marine & Coastal Area Act - see below for details.

We cover quite a number of topics this month, some with brief updates and others more fully - like the account of where things are at in relation to the claims made under the Marine & Coastal Area Act. I hope the information provided goes some way towards an understanding of the issues.

You are welcome to share the information in this newsletter with your friends, family and other contacts. Also, please direct to our website anyone who may be interested in the issues we cover and would like to be added to our mailing list. See: https://www.democracyaction.org.nz/about

Upcoming events which may be of interest:

  • Democracy Action AGM - August 12. To be followed by our working group meeting. All welcome. Please email for details: democracyaction@xtra.co.nz
  • Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting - August 19
  • Dr Claire Charters on ‘Why we need a constitution accommodating Māori rights’- August 27. Please see details below
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 democracyaction@xtra.co.nz

Kind regards,

Susan Short
Secretary
democracyaction@xtra.co.nz

Goff replies to complaint over the Tūpuna Maunga Authority – claiming no mandate to intervene

Last month we reported on the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Mākaurau Authority meeting of May 6, at which members of the public who made presentations were abused and berated by members of the authority. Please see below a copy of a media release by one of the presenters, outlining his concerns. Continue reading

Treaty settlements over the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, and the Hauraki Gulf

There is a very real danger co-governance arrangements like the Tūpuna Maunga Authority are being considered for the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, and the Hauraki Gulf. Continue reading

Sea Change Advisory Committee appointed

The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash have selected the members of the ministerial advisory committee established to support the Government’s response to the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan. The nine-person committee includes members with expertise in commercial and Māori fishing - including four mana whenua, fisheries management, environment, law and marine science. It will be co-chaired by Paul Majurey and Catherine Harland under a co-governance model. Continue reading

The campaign to implement UNDRIP continues

An associate professor at the University of Auckland Law School, Dr Claire Charters, is currently working on articles on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the relationship between tikanga Māori and the state legal system, tensions between human rights and indigenous peoples' rights and on the legitimacy of indigenous peoples' rights under international law, which will be published as a book by Cambridge University Press.  Continue reading

Have your say: the PVR regime is undergoing a review, proposing a new decision-making process

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is undertaking a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. The second stage of consultation is now open. Public feedback on proposed options is currently being sought. Make sure you submit your feedback by 9 September 2019. Continue reading

Have your say: Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach) Management Plan

Renowned for spectacular sunsets and boasting one of the best left-hand surf breaks in the world, Ninety Mile Beach is one of our iconic beaches, holding a special place in the hearts of many New Zealanders. Therefore, many of us may be interested in taking the opportunity to provide our thoughts on the important issues facing the beach, and how we think these should be managed. Continue reading

Local Body Elections 2019

The Democracy Action working group is preparing a set of questions to ask candidates. Please take the opportunity to call radio shows with guest candidates, and attend public meetings, to ask a question or two. Continue reading

‘Reinvigorating Democracy’ – does this include the restoration of democracy in local government?

Over 600 local and central government delegates were on hand at the opening of the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Conference in Wellington on July 7th to hear the president of LGNZ, Dave Cull, launch a push for greater localism in his speech ‘Reinvigorating Democracy: The case for localising power and decision making to councils and communities’.  Continue reading

WDC joins the shameful councils debasing our democratic governance systems

Waikato District Council has unanimously given support for Māori representation on its principle Council Committees after the October 2019 local government elections. Mayor Allan Sanson said that the Waikato District Council – Waikato Tainui Joint Management Agreement (JMA) committee had made this a priority, saying the move has been "a long time coming". Continue reading

Compulsory Māori seats touted for Northland

Northland Māori are making a push for greater representation in local government, renewing calls for local Māori seats. Some say government intervention is necessary and that may include compulsory Māori seats. Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine laments that local government legislation and processes are "shutting out our people". Continue reading

Update on MACAA – serious issues have arisen during the court process

The Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011 triggered almost 600 applications for the recognition of customary rights over specified area of the common marine and coastal area. Over 200 claims were lodged in the High Court, the start of a very complicated, long and expensive process. Continue reading

Mataitai - another avenue for iwi control?

Te Ngāi Tū Ahuriri Rūnanga is the most recent applicant for a mātaitai reserve,* which includes the coastline north of Amberley Beach in North Canterbury, stretching for 5.6km, and offshore 1km.  Continue reading

Government moving beyond settlement of treaty grievances – to partnership

Last year, the Government created a new agency - 'Māori Crown relations'. At the launch, Minister Kelvin Davis, announced that "The agency…will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship – moving beyond the settlement of treaty grievances into what it means to work together in partnerships." Continue reading

No punches pulled here: “We Lead, You Follow”

‘The Time is Now: We Lead, You Follow’ is the title of a report on a hui held to discuss the justice system. It comes with three main recommendations - these cover constitutional reform, a call for a plan to accelerate and understand the change needed, and to establish a Mana Ōrite (equal) model of partnership. Continue reading

Resource Management Act to be reviewed – again!

Environment Minister David Parker has launched an "overhaul" of the Resource Management Act (RMA), seeking to cut complexity and costs and better protect the environment.  Continue reading

Recommended reading

Navigators and Naturalists – French exploration of New Zealand and the South Seas (1769 - 1824), by Michael Lee. Married and Gone to New Zealand, edited by Alison Drummond. Anyone interested in the truth about NZ history should read these books. Continue reading