Are you looking for something interesting to listen to on these cold, wet winter days? I would like to bring your attention to a couple of video recordings I highly recommend you take the time to watch. One is by Professor Elizabeth Rata of the University of Auckland, who gave a well thought out and reasoned presentation ‘In Defence of Democracy’ at the New Zealand ACT Party Annual Conference last month. Elizabeth contends that the country is at a crossroads, and unless we all speak out, and continue to do so, we will lose our hard-fought democratic rights. Click HERE to access Elizabeth's video.
The other highly recommended video is by Professor James Allan of the University of Queensland, who has completed an analysis of the He Puapua report, and the implications for New Zealand’s liberal democracy in adopting its recommendations. Professor Allan’s presentation is available HERE. You can read more about his analysis at ‘Professor James Allan analysis of He Puapua now available’ below.
But first, I am making a plea to take urgent action against the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu) Bill – the third and final reading is scheduled for this Wednesday 3 August. Hobson’s Pledge have made it amazingly easy for you to tell all MPs to vote against this bill, which will give Ngai Tahu two unelected seats on ECAN. Click HERE for access to the ‘Defend democracy - tell them NO’ email, which you can edit before sending. It will take you all of two minutes to do so.
For a list of reasons why we believe the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu) Bill is a bad idea, see ‘Government set to endorse radical change to electoral Law’ below.
Well done everyone! I understand that the select committee dealing with the Water Services Entity Bill has been swamped by the unprecedented deluge of submissions received. A big thank you to all who made a submission - and for encouraging others to do the same. It has been reported to me that of a sample of submissions examined, the vast majority (over 80%) were strongly opposed, with the most common objections mentioning co-governance and racial privilege.
But, we haven’t finished yet - so many of us are taking the opportunity to speak to the Parliamentary select committee which will hear submissions that in a conservative estimate it would take at least 18 weeks to hear them all! We will send out more information you might like to include in your oral submission in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I recommend you read ‘Talk of a coup ratchets up Three Waters debate’, by freelance journalist Graham Adams, who points out that the extent of iwi influence in Three Waters is far wider than co-governance.
Local Body elections are fast approaching, and campaigning for a place around the council decision-making table has begun. This is an opportunity for us to elect representatives with the backbone to take a stand when democratic principles are at stake. We urge you to question candidates about their stance on issues such as equal political rights, co-governance, Māori wards, and unelected appointments to committees with voting rights. And backbone will be needed if Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has her way. Her latest bill will be instrumental in making it harder for councils to resist the push for Māori wards - see ‘Mahuta to force councils to consider Māori wards’ below.
Another area where central government is issuing controversial directives to councils concerns the new set of rules relating to district planning. As landowners on the West Coast are finding, some of the rules have an immediate legal effect on the notification of proposed district plans, even though affected landowners have not been consulted, and the plan has not yet been adopted. Read more on this at ‘Anger on West Coast as new rules impact property rights’ below.
We have faced, and are still facing, a raft of radical 'reforms' since the Jacinda Ardern Labour Government came into power in 2017 - with the pace of change stepping up considerably this parliamentary term. One could ask - are these reforms a major driver of the big increase in people in the public service - reportedly 50,000 more than there were five years ago?
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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