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May 2019

Following last month’s newsletter, several supporters from around the country contacted us, some informing us of actions they have taken personally, and others saying they wish they could be of help.

We are appreciative of the feedback, and are hugely thankful to all who make submissions, send letters to editors, contact politicians, post information on social media, talk to friends and family about the issues, etc. Keep up the good work. Every action we take as individuals counts towards the whole. As the old truism goes “there’s strength in numbers”.

The value of making our concerns known to the powers-that-be was recently reinforced in a couple of instances which I’d like to share with you. Following the release of the result of a recent political poll, Prime Minister Ardern commented that while pleased with the result, she also takes note of issues of concern to the public as voiced in letters she receives. A few days later, National MP Dan Bidois, who is a member of the Maori Affairs Select Committee, remarked to one of our members that they had received more submissions against the entrenchment of Maori seats than for. Many thanks to all who submitted. It is obvious that support from the public gives strength and confidence to those MPs opposed to the bill.

Other issues of concern we are currently working on, and in which you too can be involved, include:

  • Supporting Devonport citizens as they battle autocratic decision-making by the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority. They have requested emails be sent to the TMA regarding the removal of Takarunga carpark. Please see more details below.
  • Contacting National and NZ First leaders and MPs, urging them to oppose the Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill.
  • Sending letters of appreciation to the Hasting District councillors who voted against the introduction of unelected people at the decision-making table.
  • Sending letters of thanks to National, NZ First and Act MPs for voting down the Canterbury Regional Council Ngai Tahu Representation Bill.
  • Challenging false information as it arises.

My apologies – we will not be sending out a June Update. If you would like to keep up-to-date with what is going on, both the Kiwi Frontline site or Kiwi Frontline blog, and Mole News (at Breaking Views) include coverage of the issues.

You are welcome to share the information in this newsletter with your friends, family and other contacts. Also, please direct to our website anyone who may be interested in the issues we cover and would like to be added to our mailing list. See: https://www.democracyaction.org.nz/about

Upcoming Event:
Democracy Action monthly meeting:
Date: 7pm Monday 13th May
Venue: 21 O’Rorke Rd, Penrose

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 democracyaction@xtra.co.nz

Kind regards,

Susan Short
Secretary
democracyaction@xtra.co.nz

Update on Sea Change - the Hauraki Gulf marine spatial plan

In last month’s DA Update, we reported that the Ministries of Conservation and Fisheries are in the process of setting up a Ministerial Advisory Committee, (MAC), the purpose of which is to “help shape the proposals, facilitate engagement with our Treaty Partners and stakeholders, and provide advice and report to the three Ministers – Environment, Conservation & Fisheries.” Continue reading

Devonport citizens continue the fight against autocratic decision-making

You may remember the protest in Devonport early last year, whereby a group of citizens pushed back on the Tupuna Maunga Authority’s (TMA) autocratic decision-making concerning Takuranga / Mt Victoria.  Continue reading

Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill

On April 15, some of us attended the Maori Affairs Select Committee hearing in Auckland to support those presenting oral submissions in opposition to the Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill. While more of the submitters at the hearing in Auckland spoke in favour of the bill than against, we were heartened to hear from Dan Bidois afterwards, (Dan is one of the National MPs on the committee), that the majority of the written submissions opposed entrenchment. Continue reading

National Party MPs support institutionalised racism

National List MP Jo Hayes, a member of the Maori Affairs Select Committee hearing submissions on the entrenchment of Maori seats, is pushing for National candidates to stand in the Māori seats. "Māori need special treatment because colonisation actually occurred for them, now we are seeing the results of that and it needs to be fixed," said Hayes. Continue reading

No to designated seats for Ngāi Tahu representatives on CRC

Last month we celebrated as the Canterbury Regional Council Ngai Tahu Representation Bill was voted down in parliament. Following this welcome news, hopefully many have written to Simon Bridges, Winston Peters and David Seymour to show appreciation for their stand, and to congratulate Shane Jones and Nick Smith for their speeches against the bill, as reported on RadioNZ, available HERE. If you have not done so, it’s not too late, we are sure they’d love to hear from you. Continue reading

'Point of Order' goes into bat for democracy

Following the Hasting District Council’s decision to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees, (thereby sparing them the need to campaign for election), Victoria University of Wellington published an article on its website headed Academics commend Hastings District Council for inclusive, effective decision-making. Continue reading

Has objectivity flown out the window at Radio NZ?

Remember when Radio NZ News used to be concerned with the facts, presented in a relatively balanced and impartial way? Well, it appears not any more. In last month’s update we touched on the vexed issue of our public-service radio broadcaster happily accepting claims based on oral history as fact while choosing to ignore documented eye witness accounts of history - a modus operandi becoming increasingly common as it promotes a new history of ‘Aotearoa’ in various programmes. Continue reading

What ARE our children being taught in school?

There are no set guidelines or resources in the curriculum about teaching New Zealand’s history, and it's left entirely up to schools to decide how much and what they teach. This has left the field wide open for those who are in the game of disseminating information to suit a particular agenda. One who has taken advantage of this situation is ex-school teacher Tamsin Hanly, who has created a six-book teaching programme she has called ‘A Critical Guide To Maori And Pakeha Histories Of Aotearoa’. This is being sold to schools and is currently being used in 50 around the country. Continue reading

The Partnership Principle proving to be very costly

In our March update we reported on Horizons Regional Council’s plan to create a committee of councillors and iwi leaders to come up with strategies for water catchments as a way of involving iwi in managing Manawatū waterways. “This is about us trying to show a level of partnership with iwi”, said Councillor Jono Naylor.   Continue reading

The Taniwha to be given more teeth

According to a document released earlier this week, the government has put up 2200 sq km of Taranaki land for potential oil and gas drilling, but with strict new rules over how successful bidders must engage with iwi. Continue reading

Update on 'Our Water Future': Auckland's water strategy

The official opportunity to have your say on Auckland’s water strategy has now passed. (However, there is nothing to stop you continuing to express your views to the mayor and councillors). The submissions are now being reviewed.  Continue reading

The Maori world view - 'military' style gates on Mt Albert

Users of Ōwairaka, the maunga in Auckland's Mt Albert, are objecting to the ‘military’ style gates designed to enforce the summit vehicle ban. Comments include words such as "hideous", "an atrocity", and “out of step with the place's natural beauty”. Continue reading