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May 2021

It is obvious from feedback we have been receiving lately that more and more people are becoming disillusioned, frustrated and angry about the direction the Government is taking our country. It seems like every other day another decree is declared that is creating an “us” and “them” society where divisions are ethnic. It appears we are fast becoming a divided and resentful people - most certainly not the team of 5 million, as Prime Minister Ardern so eagerly claims.

Our politicians are letting us down – both locally and nationally. Too many have swallowed ‘the Treaty is a partnership’ Kool-Aid. Recently, over 20 local bodies have made the decision to establish Māori wards or constituencies, some not bothering to undertake consultation with the wider community, despite this controversial move. For example, Mayor Ash Tanner of Matamata-Piako is reported as saying that council knows not going out for consultation would be unpopular, but the public isn’t directly affected by it. Instead, the Council took guidance from Te Manawhenua Forum, which unanimously supported establishing Māori wards. (No surprises there!) However, some councils are open to feedback from the public, but time is fast running out. For details, please see the Māori wards update further on in this newsletter.

Māori wards are one thing, but the growing trend of giving full voting rights on council committees to unelected iwi representatives is arguably even more damaging to our democracy, especially as this is being done without a mandate from communities. This undermining of the basic principles of democracy is constitutional change by stealth - once you start down this path, where does it end? 

Over in Tauranga the anti-democratic madness continues apace. Last December the Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta replaced the democratically elected council with commissioners. These commissioners have not only voted to introduce a Māori ward, but are also establishing an influential committee which is to include four seats for tangata whenua representatives, and not one to represent the wider community. This has been done without consulting the citizens of Tauranga about such a radical departure from accepted governance practices. Read more about this in the article 'TAURANGA CITIZENS TO BE FURTHER DISENFRANCHISED'

Meanwhile, the Government, following an OIA request, has finally released He Puapua - a road map to implement the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The plan recommends separate Māori authority across multiple layers of government and discusses other constitutional changes. Although the Prime Minister has ruled out the idea of a Māori parliament - one of the recommendations - it would be naïve to believe the scenario envisioned by He Puapua couldn’t happen in New Zealand. Some parts are already being implemented by the Government - the latest being provisions in the Health System reforms, which is following hard on the heels of the Three Waters Reform Programme, with its discriminatory aspects. You can read more about He Puapua and the Health System reforms further on.

In our newsletters we strive to simplify sometimes complicated issues, as we are aware that most people do not have the time to wade through screeds of information. However, there are some documents we believe everybody should read in their entirety, and He Puapua is one of them. Forewarned is forearmed, so please take the time to do so. And encourage others to do likewise.

 We must continue to fight back!

“Democracy and true equality for all New Zealand citizens needs protection”, writes Tony Sayers, retired school teacher, in his inspiring opinion piece Time to Push Back  Those who are opposed to the direction that the government is taking, must exploit every legal means of demonstrating their opposition, and encourage others of a like mind, to increase the number of protestors through joining with them”.

The message has to be sent – STOP! ENOUGH! And the message will not be sent unless it is heard”.

Suggested ways you can be heard

  • Take a stand against separatist propaganda whenever you have an opportunity to do so.
  • Let your MP know your views. All MP email addresses can be found HERE. Likewise, your local body councillors. Their email addresses can be found HERE.
  • Send messages to the Prime Minister.
  • Share your concerns with National and Act MPs. Urge them to campaign to uphold our democracy and the equality of citizenship.
  • Discuss the issues with friends and family.
  • Use social media. Post articles, share videos and write updates.
  • Call talkback radio.
  • Continue to make submissions against discriminatory and divisive policies.
  • Sign the petition to stop two-government tribal rule, hosted by Hobson’s Pledge: Reject co-governance petition - Hobson's Pledge (hobsonspledge.nz)
  • Sign the Declaration of Equality, hosted by NZCPR. “There shall be one law for all: We call for the removal of all references to the Treaty of Waitangi or its principles from any constitutional document, and for the abolition of the Waitangi Tribunal, race-based Parliamentary seats, and race-based local body representation.”
  • Make a submission opposing the draft New Zealand History curriculum – the details can be found HERE. We will be sending out further information next week for those who would like some help. Submissions must be in by 31 May.

Thank you very much to all who are ‘doing their bit’. It all helps, and we are very grateful. Please keep up the good work!



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Kind regards,

Susan Short

[email protected]

Māori wards update - May

Even though time and time again referenda have shown that most New Zealanders are opposed to race-based voting systems, 24 local authorities have recently either made the decision to proceed with Māori wards or have indicated an intention to do so. In addition to those mentioned in the April edition of the Democracy Action newsletter, the following have voted to proceed down this path: Continue reading

Tauranga citizens to be further disenfranchised

The anti-democratic madness continues apace in Tauranga. Following the Government-appointed Commissioners recent decision to establish a Māori ward, they have also agreed to a new committee – the Strategy, Finance and Risk Committee - which embodies the 'Treaty partnership', but goes further than that, effectively shutting out the wider community. Continue reading

He Puapua: The action plan to destroy democracy

Plans are afoot to progressively disrupt our constitutional arrangements and replace our democracy with a revolutionary Treaty-based constitution giving a small group of New Zealanders, claiming to represent the 17 percent of the population with Māori heritage, 50 percent of the decision-making power, and control of the vast economic resources that would accompany such a role. Continue reading

The new health system - who will actually be in charge?

On April 21 the government released its plans for a new health system for New Zealand. The key announcements were centred around the disestablishment of our 20 regional DHBs in favour of one new national entity, Health NZ, and the establishment of a new Māori Health Authority to ensure our health system delivers improved outcomes for Māori. Continue reading

The cost to ratepayers of implementing the partnership principle

Photo: Penny Smart, Chair of Northland Regional Council The partnership-with-iwi provisions are creating significant cost pressures for councils. This includes large and on-going costs associated with implementing and maintaining the variety of ways Iwi/Māori are involved in local government and contribute to council decision making. Continue reading