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July 2024

Would you like the good news or the bad news first? Sorry, but let’s start with the bad news – the divisive policies we suffered under the last Labour government are being continued under the National-led Coalition. The parliamentary select committee considering the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill has supported Labour’s bill with minor amendments. These amendments do not include the removal of the Treaty principles clause, despite the Government's pledge to repeal or replace all references to the Treaty principles in legislation. What is more, even though the coalition partners agreed to defend the principle that all New Zealanders are equal before the law, with the same rights and obligations, the legislation allows for the continuation of race-based customary fishing in the 12 High Protection Areas - while banning everyone else. The proposed customary fishing zones are not small discrete areas in front of marae, but relatively large areas of the Hauraki Gulf, including favoured fishing spots such the Mokohinau Islands and the Noises. If you too are incensed about the plan to establish what are in effect iwi-only fishing reserves, please let the government know. For details, see ‘Iwi-only fishing areas given thumbs up’ below.

The recent call by Te Pāti Māori for a separate Māori parliament is not a surprise to those awake to the escalating trend of different rights based on who your ancestors were. The idea of two separate houses of parliament was proposed in the National Iwi Chairs Forum's Matike Mai Aotearoa 2016 report and was supported in the 2019 ‘He Puapua Report’ commissioned by the Labour Government. Over the past few years, the Iwi Chairs Forum has been collaborating with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to shift the country from a democratic system to a constitution based on race. The HRC is dedicated to promoting the ideology of 'partnership with Maori' and recently declared itself a dual governed entity. Tricia Keelan, the former deputy chief executive of the HRC, stated that the goal is “to provide a living demonstration of Matike Mai Aotearoa within the next five years, if not earlier.” You can read more about this below at Human Rights Commission advances political agenda of Iwi Chairs Forum.

Now to the good news. This concerns the judicial review against Tūpuna Maunga Authority and Auckland Council initiated by Shirley Waru and Respect Mt Richmond / Ōtāhuhu. The case relates to a non-notified resource consent to fell most of Ōtāhuhu/Mt Richmond's exotic trees. In her decision, Justice Tahana found the Council failed to properly consider the proposed felling’s adverse effects on the maunga amenity when it granted the resource consent. As a result, the Court has set the consent aside.

The axing of the exotic trees stems from the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) policy to ‘decolonise’ the volcanic cones (maunga) of Auckland. Their plan to fell around 2500 trees includes the removal of magnificent specimens of Elm, Moreton Bay Fig, and Oak planted more than 100 years ago. (Read more in our article THE GREAT TREE MASSACRE).  Despite Shirley’s victory, the future of the trees remains uncertain, as the Authority could reapply for a tree felling consent at any time. Unless there is a change of heart by the TMA and Auckland Council, (which is funding the project), the trees are still up for the chop!

More good news for our democratic rights – the parliamentary select committee has recommended the Māori wards bill go ahead.

The committee considering the Local Government (Electoral Legislation & Maori Wards & Maori Constituencies) Amendment Bill is reflecting what a large majority of New Zealanders think - that the final decision-makers on the introduction or disestablishment of Māori Wards should be local voters as opposed to mayors and councillors. This is clearly shown in the latest Curia poll. If you too think it is important to allow citizens the right to choose, please take the time to send messages to your mayor and councillors, expressing your support for the government's proposed changes to Māori ward and constituency poll provisions. Read more below at ‘The welcome reinstatement of a democratic right’.

However, what is very disappointing is that the promised amendments to the Marine & Coastal Area Act are not being addressed urgently. Minister Paul Goldsmith has confirmed that work is underway, but there is no timeline for when we can expect to see any progress. It is crucial that the legislation is fixed promptly to prevent more claimants from being granted customary title to our beloved coastline. If you feel strongly about this matter, please contact the coalition MPs to demand their urgent action on the issue. For details, see below at C’mon government – get a move on!

Other legislation we are waiting to see includes the proposed Treaty Principles Bill. We do have some insight into its potential content through ACT’s Treaty Facts website. While we wait for more information on the bill, consider supporting David Seymour’s campaign by following his updates on X and other platforms. For instance, see: https://x.com/dbseymour/status/1806124672930726298

If you want to keep updated on ACT’s treaty principles campaign, register by clicking HERE.

Recommended reading this month includes two recently published books. They are:

  • Who Really Broke The Treaty? By John Robinson, this book dares to face the fundamentals and ask tricky questions, like: What is racism? Is this apartheid? Who really did break the Treaty? Available at Tross Publishing
  • Taonga and Contra Proferentem - Thoughts on the Waitangi Tribunal Process, by Piers Seed. This is an in-depth look at the evolving meaning of the word ‘taonga’; and a consideration of the doctrine used by the Waitangi Tribunal which effectively denies the Crown any say in the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Available from Aotearoa Books.

 Additionally, we suggest several excellent commentaries by a variety of authors - the links to a selection of them are provided on our 'Further news, views and opinions' page. There are many more posted on the Democracy Action Facebook page

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]



Iwi-only fishing areas given thumbs up by select committee

The parliamentary select committee considering the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill has presented its report to the House of Representatives. Notably, it has ignored coalition agreement promises by endorsing provisions granting race-based customary fishing in High Protection Areas (HPAs). Continue reading

The welcome reinstatement of a democratic right

A more democratic approach to Māori wards is being proposed by the government, one which would allow voters to challenge any decision made by councils regarding Māori wards through a binding poll. This proposal is outlined in the Local Government (Electoral Legislation & Maori Wards & Maori Constituencies) Amendment Bill. Continue reading

C’mon government – get a move on!

Despite repeated questioning, the Coalition has still not provided the details or even a timeline for their proposed changes to the Marine and Coastal Area Act. While Minister Paul Goldsmith says that work is underway, there seems to be a lack of urgency. Continue reading

Human Rights Commission advances political agenda of Iwi Chairs Forum

The Human Rights Commission and the National Iwi Chairs Forum* are working together on a campaign to transition from New Zealand's existing democratic government system to a radical race-based constitution. Continue reading

Further news, views, and opinions.......

Please see more items posted on the Democracy Action Facebook page Continue reading