In last month’s newsletter, we went into some detail about how the Draft Auckland Plan 2050 is promoting the subversion of our democracy by bestowing extra co-governance rights on a group of citizens based on race, and requiring the recognition of ‘mana whenua’ as rangatira (chief) in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).
One of the key directions of the Plan is to enhance the authority of mana whenua and mataawaka, as Treaty partners, with Māori actively involved in decision-making and management of natural resources.
The Plan’s ‘Māori identity and wellbeing outcome’ strategy promotes:
“the advancement of mana whenua leadership and decision-making, in partnership with council, and seeks to increase the number of co governance arrangements”.
The Auckland Plan 2050 Evidence Report reveals that the Auckland Council has a target of 16 shared-governance-with-iwi arrangements to be in place by 2040. [See Target 2, Figure 4, The Auckland Plan Evidence Report - Māori Identity and Wellbeing]
“The Treaty partnership model of co-governance will subvert the fundamental principles of democracy. Democracy is a political system of equality no matter what your heritage, and a system of accountability no matter what your race or religion. As equal citizens each of us can call our political leaders to account. If iwi as Treaty partner was co-governor we could not do so”.
Dr Elizabeth Rata: ‘Treaty no longer symbol of national unity’. NZ Herald 13 Dec 2012
CO-GOVERNANCE CASE STUDY - THE TŪPUNA MAUNGA O TĀMAKI MAKAURAU AUTHORITY
The Auckland Plan (p.7) references the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority as an example of how mana whenua and Auckland Council partner in decision-making. The Maunga Authority is a co-governance entity, established following a Treaty settlement. The Authority has six representatives from ‘Nga Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau’, and six representatives from the Auckland Council. The chairperson is elected by Nga Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau representatives. The deputy chair is elected by Auckland Council appointees.
The Authority governs 14 Auckland ‘Tūpuna Maunga’, (volcanic cones). Auckland Council is responsible for routine management of the maunga and the administered land and must carry out this responsibility under the direction of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
How is this arrangement working out for the citizens of Auckland?
It appears the Maunga Authority does not think it necessary to consult over its decisions, which is bringing it into conflict with the wider community. (Obviously, if you are not elected you are not accountable - if people don't like your decisions they can't chuck you out).
The Maunga Authority has imposed a vehicle ban with a minimum of consultation, and all but ignoring the normal political channels for approving such a major change to local maunga. The news that cars would be banned from the summits of five Auckland cones arrived like a diktat, the plan being shaped behind closed doors in Maunga Authority workshops in July, September and November 2016. Those meetings had no published agendas or minutes.
A Herald DigiPoll survey in January 2015, the only poll ever taken on the matter, showed that 58% of Aucklanders favoured the Maungawhau ban, but only 28% favoured extending it to other summits.
Members of Local Boards have complained about the lack of consultation. The Maunga Authority chair, Paul Majurey, told the Listener, (Geoff Chapple article ‘Peak practice: Should cars be banned from Auckland's summits?’ 25 March 2017), that local boards could not rule against a Maunga Authority decision:
“The local board can’t object. In terms of our specific statute there is not a process for objection in terms of decisions made by the authority. When I say that, I’m using the word ‘objection’, as I think most folk use it. I can write a submission [objecting to a draft plan or similar] and there can be a hearing and stuff like that.”
“We don’t make decisions by opinion poll; we make decisions by our statutory purpose. Those might not be popular”.
“Our decisions,” says Majurey, “are not through political statements. They’re through looking at legislation. We have a specific legislative regime. It comes from a Treaty settlement and puts the Maori world-view at its very centre”.
Geoff Chapple writes in an opinion piece published in the NZ Herald, published on 20th February.
“It seems fair to say the Tupuna Maunga Authority proceeds on a predetermined track, irrespective of local concerns. It's fair to say that here, as with other examples of its secrecy and speed, it proceeds by ambush.”
For Geoff’s article, please click here: ‘Auckland Unfairly Losing Access to Maunga’
The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board responded to the vehicle ban on Mt Victoria-Takarunga with a resolution that withheld its support. The Maunga Authority's public response was to say a local board had no final power to intervene.
Citizens of Devonport-Takapuna are fighting back against the Maunga Authority’s “authoritarian manner”
A group has been set up in response to the lack of consultation with both the local community and the Devonport-Takapuna local board over vehicle restrictions on Mt Victoria-Takarunga. Devonport journalist Geoff Chapple has launched a petition in opposition to the ban and is challenging the Authority’s “authoritarian manner”. As of 20th April, more than 700 people had signed the petition. The signatures have been gathered by both street stalls and online. The petition, which will provide a gauge of public opinion for the Maunga Authority, will be presented to the Authority at a public meeting to be held in the Community House, mid to late May. You can sign the petition HERE.
Chapple said he was not either for or against the car ban, but the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board had asked for consultation with the Tupuna Maunga Authority for a year. The local board finally got that meeting a day after the footings and the electrics for a barrier arm were installed.
"That's pretty close to being an insult for democratic process," Chapple said.
Chapple said the authority had monopoly power over all of Auckland's maunga, and in his opinion, had used it arrogantly on Takarunga - Mt Victoria. "It's our maunga, too, remember," he said - as reported in The Shore-Times, 6th April.
Across town the removal of the Easter Cross from Auckland's Mt Roskill is also unpopular. The Easter Cross and Christmas Star have gone from the maunga. The Local churches applied to the Maunga Authority to continue this nearly 60-year-old tradition, but were refused. The decision was made without reference to the wider community.
Click HERE for NZ Herald article: ‘Removal of Easter cross from Auckland's Mt Roskill ruffles feathers’
MAUNGA AUTHORITY EXTENDING ITS AREA OF CONTROL
Not content with having control of the area delineated by legal title, the Maunga Authority is expanding its ‘area of interest’ around the maunga, an area which includes private property. The agenda of the Maunga Authority hui 32, held on 15th December 2017, shows the area of interest is to extend to include the ‘original footprint’ of each of the 14 maunga.
The agenda states that the meaning of the term ‘Tūpuna Maunga original footprint’ will be determined through a historical analysis of early photographs, plans, and other papers which delineate the slopes of the Tūpuna Maunga prior to the intensive modifications of the twentieth century.
A link to the agenda is available HERE. See Attachment C for the initial draft series of maps of the Tūpuna Maunga Areas. The green areas signify the legal title of the Maunga, the pink area includes the ‘original footprint’ – called the ‘Tūpuna Maunga Area’. N.B. Much of this area is private property, and includes residential sections.
The footprint area requires Maunga Authority involvement in any resource consent applications. The terms of reference for their involvement can be found on page 18 ‘Tūpuna Maunga Authority Policies & RMA Rōpū Process Thresholds’.
The Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority demonstrates the realities of co-governance, and the exercise of authority by one ethnic group over the rest of the community. Even though it has become obvious that the concept of co-governance is flawed, Auckland Council, with its target of 16 shared-governance-with-iwi arrangements to be in place by 2040, is seeking to replicate this governance model.
The citizens of Auckland have never been given the opportunity to formally endorse, or reject, this separatist agenda. So, what to do?
Have your say. If we do nothing we are endorsing these principles.
Auckland Council is currently considering the responses it received from the public to the Auckland Plan. At the Democracy Action April working group meeting it was agreed it is important that we all continue providing feedback to the mayor, councillors, and local board members - right up until the council vote on the Plan in June.
Auckland councillors’ email addresses are available by clicking here.
Local Boards’ email addresses are available here
We can also continue to speak out against the proposals in the Plan by sending letters to editors, contacting community groups, posting information on the ‘Neighbourly’ network, and talking to our friends, families, colleagues and other contacts.
If you need more information on the Auckland Plan, please see last month’s newsletter, AVAILABLE HERE. Or contact us at [email protected]