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June 2021

Have you heard that close to 5000 submissions have been made on the Education Ministry's draft ‘so-called’ history syllabus? Thank you to all who did so. It is obvious that many of us are very passionate about what is to be taught to our children, as we should be. I have been privileged to read several very impressive, thoughtful, and insightful submissions, one of which I would like to share with you today. Written by  Elizabeth Rata, a sociologist of education and a professor of 'Critical Studies in Education' at the University of Auckland, it sets out succinctly what the history curriculum should look like. An expert in the science of education, Elizabeth has supervised over 40 Masters and PhD students in a range of areas including Māori education, higher education, curriculum studies, education policy, and the history of education. Her submission is available HERE. I recommend you read it.

As it is the Government’s intention to have the syllabus introduced to students next year, the curriculum should be finalized in the next few months. So, it shouldn’t be too long to wait and see if the government and the bureaucrats have been swayed from their ideological agenda which is so very obvious throughout this highly politicised draft curriculum.

Another issue where passions are running high is in relation to the Government’s much stronger approach to protect indigenous biodiversity. This has resulted in substantial areas being mapped as ‘Significant Natural Areas’, thereby restricting land use. For instance, the Far North District Council has mapped 42% of all land in its territory as ‘SNAs’, with some farmers finding that nearly half of their land has been classified a SNA. Anyone who lives in the Far North District Council area are invited to make a submission on this issue. You have until 11 June. See below for details.

With the country being forced down the path towards a racially divided nation, those who value equal rights and democracy must fight back, just as a group of people in the Bay of Plenty are doing so. Incensed by the Government’s draconian fast-tracked legislation to abolish the right for New Zealanders to petition for a referendum on Maori wards, they have started a petition to restore our democratic rights - ‘We Demand Our Democratic Rights & Democracy Back'. Please consider signing - see further on for details. You could also help to publicise this petition by delivering flyers in your area. If you can assist, please let me know, and I’ll pass on your details. Email: [email protected]

Those of us who believe that the foreshore and seabed belong to all New Zealanders are very dismayed by the recent precedent-setting ruling by Justice Churchman, whereby Customary Marine Title to 44km of the Bay of Plenty coastline has been granted to claimants under the Marine and Coastal Area Act. As a result of this ruling there is a danger that the entire coast will fall under iwi control. An appeal regarding this decision has been lodged by the Landowners Coalition, which is relying on public funding to cover costs. Please click HERE if you can help.  And if you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition to Restore NZ beaches to public ownership

Finally, I ask you to please send messages of support to those MPs who are asking questions of the Government relating to proposed changes to our constitutional arrangements, such as outlined in He Puapua. It is very important that a light be shone on this report, especially as there is evidence that the Government is implementing its recommendations incrementally, such as establishing Māori wards on local councils and creating a separate Māori health authority. It also goes much further than UNDRIP, which recommends that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples be based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination, and good faith.

It is the Opposition’s duty and right to seek the answers to questions we would all like to know, and they would be letting down the country if they did not. Please encourage them to keep questioning the Government. You can contact Judith Collins at: [email protected]  And David Seymour at: [email protected]

Please read on for more on issues of concern, including an update on Māori wards.

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
Secretary
democracy[email protected]

New rules set to encroach on private property rights

Anger has erupted around the country over the Government’s much stronger approach to protect indigenous biodiversity, as outlined in the Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB). Due to take effect in July 2021, it contains a set of objectives and policies to identify, protect, manage, and restore indigenous biodiversity. Continue reading

Update on separate Māori representation on councils

Photo: Political lobbying - tikanga style Manawatū District Council chambers 20 May 2021 – how to turn a No to Māori wards vote to a Yes In a flurry of activity leading up to the final date to amend governance arrangements for the 2022 local body election, thirty-five councils have opted to establish Māori seats, some making an abrupt about-turn at the last minute after intense lobbying from iwi. Continue reading

Coming to a beach near you

In a bombshell ruling, the High Court has granted 13 iwi claimants customary marine title and rights to several marine areas in the Bay of Plenty, a move which could set a precedent for the 580+ other claims that cover the entire coastline of New Zealand. This ruling grants the claimants a new form of property right, known as customary marine title, over areas of foreshore and seabed between Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki - from the high water mark on the land side, out 12 nautical miles to sea, including the airspace above.  Continue reading

Māori seats in local government a step to 50-50 power share

Photo: Andrew Judd hiding from a taniwha Before the ink has dried on the establishment of separate Māori seats on 38 councils, calls for "more equitable representation and a partnership with Māori" in a 50/50 power sharing model have arisen - not only from Māori sovereignty activists, but also from some councillors. Continue reading

Petition to demand our democracy back

A group of concerned citizens have launched a petition to return New Zealand to a true democracy. The petition, to be presented to parliament, states that ‘We Demand Our Democratic Rights & Democracy Back' Continue reading