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January 2022

Happy New Year to you! I hope you had an enjoyable and restful holiday break and are now raring to go. Our democracy is facing threats we haven’t seen before, and we need your help. Forcing the Government to back down in its headlong rush to dismantle our democracy and entrench a race-based system is going to take people power – and lots of it! 

The summer break has ended abruptly with the knowledge that there are only 9 days left to make a submission on the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill. This Bill is a second attempt to entrench Ngai Tahu appointments on the Canterbury Regional Council - a previous bid was presented to Parliament in 2019 but was defeated at first reading. The entrenchment of tribal appointed positions with voting rights on Council is setting a precedent, no doubt eagerly watched by those who are looking to follow suit. Please see our article ‘Bill rides roughshod over nation’s democratic principles’ for further information and suggestions for submission making. Please do – the more who do so the stronger the message.

The Canterbury Regional Council is not the only local body seeking to entrench a race-based power-sharing model. Both Rotorua Lakes Council and Auckland Council are requesting legislative changes to support Māori representation that exceed proportional representation, and in Auckland’s case, also wants an appointed ‘mana whenua’ representative with voting rights on council. You can read more at: ‘Dismantling the Golden Rule of Democracy – Political Equality’. If you live in either of these areas, please contact your councillors to let them know what you think about these plans. 

The radical view of the Treaty as a partnership between Māori and the Crown is but one step on the path to a much wider co-governance programme. Many local bodies have jumped on the bandwagon, and now this political ideology is seeping down to the grassroots level with Auckland Council using the enticement of funding help if private landowners, community and environmental groups partner with iwi to fence off waterways. See the Auckland Council’s Our Auckland - Wanted: Waterways to fence off.

Oral submissions on The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill are to begin later this week, largely by video-link. Gary Judd QC was engaged by Democracy Action to provide analysis and commentary on the proposed Act. After studying the bill, Mr Judd commented that a health service funded by the general taxpayer which gives priority to one section of society not based on their health needs (even though they may have health needs) but on their race is unfair, unjust, and contrary to the principles of a free and democratic society. Please read Gary’s summary in full here. 

Thank you to all who made submissions on the bill. Lee will be presenting to the select committee on behalf of Democracy Action this coming Friday. 

Another highly controversial piece of legislation - the Three Waters Entities Bill - has been delayed to allow for feedback from the Government appointed Working Group. The introduction of this bill may be in temporary abeyance, but the Stop Three Waters campaign continues, including the launching of two legal challenges. Read an update on this issue at: ‘Three Waters - the deluge continues’.

Another controversial issue bubbling away is the stoush regarding the proposed changes to the school curriculum that will ensure parity for mātauranga Māori with world science. Puzzled by the vehement backlash against the seven academics who questioned this policy in a letter published in the NZ Listener, journalist Graham Adams looked into this issue, and has concluded that there is a lot more riding on the acceptance of this strategy than meets the eye.  I highly recommend you read Graham’s commentary ‘Follow the money: matauranga Maori and the millions at stake’ published by Point of Order. 

It is becoming harder to ignore the stealthy adoption of many of the recommendations in He Puapua, and we are very heartened to see that more and more people are beginning to speak out - thank you. The popular Aussie pub anthem comes to mind: 

“You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear …………………….”

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]

Bill rides roughshod over nation’s democratic principles

The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill, currently before the Māori Affairs Select Committee, is set to entrench Ngāi Tahu’s representation on the Canterbury Regional Council (ECan). Submissions are invited - the deadline is Wednesday 2 February 2022. Continue reading

Dismantling the Golden Rule of Democracy – Political Equality

Rotorua seeking law change unacceptable in democratic terms  Calls by Māori sovereignty campaigners for special rights, even inequitable power-sharing, have become increasingly strident under the current government. Rotorua Lakes Council being a case in point. It is seeking legislative change to enable its preferred representation model to be adopted. Its preferred model is illegal because an equation in the Local Electoral Act means the number of people enrolled in the Māori roll in the district has a bearing on how many seats can be allocated. In seeking this change, the Council agreed “to affirm that voters on the Māori electoral roll should not be permanently locked into a minority and should have equal opportunity as those on the general roll to vote for a Council they consider will best represent their interests”.  Continue reading

A lot riding on making mātauranga Māori equal to science

Changes are underway in the education system to achieve government policy of better reflecting the partnership between Māori and the Crown. One particularly contentious subject is the place of Mātauranga Māori in the school curriculum. However, Graham Adams in his commentary Follow the money: matauranga Maori and the millions at stake published at Point of Order, contends that the casting of Mātauranga Māori as equal to science in the NCEA science syllabus is only the tip of an iceberg. Continue reading

Three Waters - the deluge continues

As the Government’s Three Water reforms enter their final stage, we are moving dangerously close to being marginalised in relation to the control of our ratepayer-owned water assets. Continue reading