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March 2022

Welcome to our latest update! 

First off, thank you so much to all who made submissions on the Draft Auckland Regional Parks Management Plan. I don’t know how many made personal submissions, but I do know that 4,281 form submissions were sent via the "Hands Off Our Parks" website submission-making tool. We have been assured by an Auckland Council officer that each submission will be counted separately. 

Thank you also to those who made submissions on the Environment Canterbury Ngāi Tahu Representation Bill. Oral submissions were heard by the Māori Affairs Committee last week – and those who watched the proceedings report that there were considerably more presentations in opposition to the Bill than those in support. This is very heartening to see, especially as the Ngāi Tahu representative revealed that they very much see this as a first step along the road to full on co-government! Read more of this below.

Meanwhile, Ngāi Tahu is in the process of suing the Crown over water. The iwi has lodged a statement of claim in the High Court seeking recognition of rangatiratanga (authority/ownership/sovereignty) over what it claims as its waterways, i.e., “lakes, rivers and all other waterbodies.” Generally, waterbodies include glaciers, snow, rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, springs and aquifers and groundwater. It can also include seas and oceans. We have been sent a copy of the Statement of Claim. The link is HERE.

Please make a submission – yes, another one!

Following the call to action outlined in our December article The department of co-governance, we have a reminder to have your say on the stewardship land review. You only have until Friday 18 March to do so. For more information and suggested submission points see: There is literally a huge amount at stake here! And guess who will be “working alongside” the panels to assess this significant chunk of Crown-owned land in the South Island? 

Another issue we have been heavily involved in lately is pushing back against the proposal for co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Back in November last year the Hauraki Gulf Forum deferred voting on whether to adopt an advocacy position as outlined in the report presented to the Forum: ‘Updating and strengthening the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act’. A less prescriptive recommendation – but with the same intent - was again presented to the Forum and voted on at their Monday 28 February meeting. You can read the outcome of the vote in ‘Hauraki Gulf Forum votes on co-governance proposal’ below. 

We do have some good news to share. Other issues covered in this update include:

  • the outcome of the court case regarding the Tupuna Maunga Authority’s plan to chop down all exotic trees on Auckland’s maunga – the trees are safe for now; and
  • the launching of a court case by the Water Users’ Group in opposition to the Government’s Three Waters scheme

Phew! I’m sure you will agree that there’s a lot going on at the moment. With Labour sliding in the polls and an election next year, it appears the Labour caucus is pulling out all stops to ensure its radical policies are implemented before then. This being so we can expect the avalanche of legislative changes to continue over the next 18 months.

For an interesting discussion of, and concerns about, the future of democracy in New Zealand, I recommend listening to the Judge Anthony Willy interview with Leighton Smith. The Podcast episode is available HERE. 

Let not history judge us as the generation who let democracy slip through our fingers. Please take every opportunity to challenge all the anti-democratic measures being forced on us. Make submissions when called for; contact your local body representatives and our MPs to voice your concerns; speak to National Party MPs about these issues. Governments regard silence from the public as support, so if we do not speak up, the Government will feel comfortable about pressing ahead with all they have planned. Also, talk about these issues to your friends and family. With the media effectively silenced by Labour, it’s up to every New Zealander to alert others about what’s going on.

Live in the Nelson area? Can you help?

A historian based in Nelson would love the help of a volunteer editor/secretary. If you are interested, or know of anyone who might be, please let me know at: [email protected]

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]

No place for democracy in Ngāi Tahu grab for political power

Oral submissions on the bill to entrench Ngāi Tahu seats on Environment Canterbury were heard by the Māori Affairs Committee last week – and those who watched the proceedings report that there were considerably more presentations in opposition than those in support. Continue reading

There is literally a huge amount at stake here!

The Government is considering legislative changes in order to fast-track the review of 2.5 million hectares of Crown-owned land known as “stewardship land.” That is around nine per cent of New Zealand’s total land area! The proposed process is set to reduce public scrutiny, and favour those with vested interests. You have until Friday 18 March to have your say. Continue reading

Hauraki Gulf Forum votes on co-governance proposal

Thank you to all who joined the action over at the Gulf Users Group by signing their petition or sending a message to the elected members of the Hauraki Gulf Forum asking them to vote down the proposal to introduce 50/50 co-governance to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. According to the Group, nearly 14,000 people signed the petition in just three weeks, and 2,400 individual emails were sent. Great response! Continue reading

Maunga Trees Safe - For Now

Auckland residents Averil and Warwick Norman have won an appeal against the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) decision to fell 345 exotic trees on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert. The Court of Appeal found that the TMA’s plan breached the Reserves Act and didn't carry out appropriate consultation with the public. The decision also concluded Auckland Council acted unlawfully by not publicly notifying the tree felling resource consent. Continue reading

Three Waters Legal Challenge Underway

You may not have heard of the Water Users’ Group. This is a group of concerned citizens who are taking legal action against the Labour Government’s plan "giving some Māori the effective control of more than a hundred billion dollars of ratepayer funded three waters assets". A link to the Group's website is here: www.waterusers.org.nz Continue reading