Latest News

Local body elections – backing democratic governance and political equality

Candidate nominations for this year's local body elections have closed, and campaigning for a place at the council table is well underway. Now is the time to ask the contenders the crucial questions – before casting our votes we need to know their intentions and their stance on issues of concern.  Continue reading

Fears raised about government control of new public media entity

Independent media, free of government influence, is vital to a well-functioning democracy. The media must be able to hold government officials accountable, raise controversial issues without fear of reprisal, and include a diversity of voices and opinions, not just those that politicians want covered. However, the legislation to merge RNZ and TVNZ - the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill - is raising fears that our new public media entity - ‘Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media’ will result in opportunities for political interference. Continue reading

Update on the fate of Auckland maunga trees

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority – a Treaty partnership body that equally comprises iwi and Auckland Council members - wants to rid Auckland’s volcanic cones (maunga) of all exotic trees - some 2500 in all. Continue reading

Recommended reading - ONE SUN IN THE SKY

‘ONE SUN IN THE SKY - The untold story of sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi’ by Ewen McQueen, presents an evidence-based perspective on the question of sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi.  Continue reading

Our key concerns with the Water Services Entities Bill

The impact of the Water Services Entities Bill will be profound. The public and many local authorities appear to share many common concerns about provisions set out in the Bill. These include: Continue reading

GOVERNMENT SET TO ENDORSE RADICAL CHANGE TO ELECTORAL LAW

The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu) Bill, creating permanent Ngāi Tahu representation on Environment Canterbury (ECAN), undergoes its third reading this week. This legislation represents a significant shift away from two key principles of democracy: equal suffrage and accountability at the ballot box. Continue reading

ANGER ON WEST COAST AS NEW RULES IMPACT PROPERTY RIGHTS

West Coast landowners from Karamea to Haast are shocked and angry after receiving letters from the Te Tai o Poutini plan committee chair out of the blue, informing them of new legal planning rules affecting their land. Letters to 1500 property owners reveal that the new rules have immediate effect. Both urban and rural properties are impacted. Continue reading

PROFESSOR JAMES ALLAN ANALYSIS OF HE PUAPUA NOW AVAILABLE

Towards the end of 2012 Democracy Action commissioned Professor James Allan, of the University of Queensland, to produce an analysis of the He Puapua Report  - a report that calls for highly controversial constitutional change. Specifically, we sought Professor Allan’s opinion on the implications for New Zealand’s liberal democracy in adopting recommendations made in He Puapua, and what this would mean for the future of New Zealand. Continue reading

COUNCILS TO BE FORCED TO CONSIDER MĀORI WARDS EVERY SIX YEARS

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta wants to make it mandatory for councils to consider Māori wards. “Under the proposed changes, when councils undertake their regular Representation Review every six years, the first step must be a decision about whether to establish Māori wards or constituencies. Currently there is no obligation to consider Māori wards at all”, said Ms Mahuta. Continue reading

The report of Professor James Allan on He Puapua

Early this year (2022) Democracy Action commissioned the Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, Professor James Allan, to draft a report on He Puapua. Professor Allan’s analysis - "The radical prescription for undermining democracy and the rule of law" - can be read, watched, or listened to below. We hope this analysis sparks a national conversation about the future of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements and is considered in any UNDRIP implementation or realisation plans proposed by the Government. Continue reading