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December 2020

Just like that December is here and another year passes us by - this one a particularly challenging one which I am sure we would not like to repeat anytime soon!

We at Democracy Action have not taken our foot off the pedal just yet – here is another newsletter updating some of the most concerning issues, with suggestions of actions you can take to help. This includes an initiative we are about to launch requesting a legislation amendment that would require any local authorities proposing constitutional changes, including the creation of Maori wards, to initiate a binding referendum of local electors. You can find the petition in the following article. Please help by distributing the link to the petition far and wide.

Once again, we cover the issue of the Treaty ‘partnership principle’. We make no apologies for doing so, because we believe this to be the single biggest threat to our democracy. Unless we all continue to speak up, our silence will be construed as acceptance.

We would like to end the year with a big shout out to those who are doing the hard yards – giving their communities the opportunity to have a say. These are our democracy heroes of the year – those in Northland, Kaipara, Whangārei, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Taupō, Gisborne, Ruapehu and South Taranaki who are gathering signatures for local referenda on Maori wards. If you are visiting any of these area over the summer holiday break, please offer your help and support. You can contact the local organisers through [email protected]

Additionally, a big thumbs up to those on Waiheke Island who are fighting to safeguard local democracy against a political agenda that is promoting Ahu Moana zones – the joint iwi and community co-governance of local marine areas. This would result in an unelected few making decisions affecting other citizens’ rights. Unless we stand up and say a very loud NO this will happen. You can read more about this, and sign the ‘Protect access to Waiheke’s coast & safeguard democracy in NZ’ petition by clicking HERE

N.B. Waiheke Island is being used as a guinea pig for the Ahu Moana concept. Next stop is Great Barrier Island, and then…….? The Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan proposes Ahu Moana zones for the entire coastline of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park area.

This month we are featuring an interview with former university lecturer and research scientist, Dr John Robinson. John has written several books on New Zealand history, which you may be interested in reading over the summer break. Please see the following article for a list of recommended books.

STOP PRESS! A deal over the disputed land at Ihumātao was announced by the Government yesterday (17 December). Although we have not yet had the opportunity to run the arrangement the Government has made past a legal expert, we have put together a brief commentary on what we see as the most concerning aspects. However, as these are personal views, we strongly suggest you form your own opinion by reading the Memorandum of Understanding, 'HE PUUMAUTANGA', yourself. Click HERE for the link.

Lastly but not least, a big thank you to all those who have offered support and taken action over the year. We wish you a very Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season, and a happy and healthy 2021.

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]

Kind regards,

Susan Short
[email protected]


PETITION: Support binding referenda on all major constitutional changes

Please support local democracy by legislating for binding referenda prior to any major change to constitutional arrangements in local government, such as the voting system and the creation of Māori wards.



The ‘partnership’ myth - the single biggest threat to our democracy

Progressing the Treaty ‘partnership’ agenda is a key priority for the Labour government. But by doing so they are introducing divisive policies that are undermining our democracy.   Continue reading


Yesterday (December 17) the Government announced that it had signed a deal with Fletchers to buy disputed land at Ihumātao for $30 million. At the same time Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson revealed that an agreement (He Pūmautanga) had also been signed between the Kīngitanga, the Crown and Auckland Council to decide on the future of the land. We find the implications of He Pūmautanga over the illegally occupied land at Ihumātao very alarming. Continue reading

Stuff’s ‘brave new era’ – goodbye to independence and objectivity

The backbone of any democracy is an independent, objective, and responsible media. But the Stuff media organisation is eschewing this value system to undertake a ‘reset’. This includes a new company charter with Te Tiriti o Waitangi embedded at its core. Continue reading

Dr John Robinson - searching for the truth

Recently we interviewed Dr. John Robinson, former university lecturer, and research scientist and prolific author of books about the historical development of New Zealand. Here he tells us what inspires him to search for the truth. Continue reading