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Government plans to seize ratepayers’ assets - without compensation

Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has announced further details of the Government's regulatory and structural reform of water service delivery in New Zealand. The plan is for an unprecedented transfer of billions of dollars of ratepayer-funded assets from local bodies to four entities. Continue reading

Proposed biodiversity strategy - another opportunity to implement He Puapua

One of the recommendations in He Puapua consists of a joint sphere of management and governance of resources. This policy is being promoted in the government's Te Mana o te Taiao Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. Te Mana o te Taiao is a 30-year plan to protect and restore New Zealand’s biodiversity, covering all domains – land, fresh water, estuaries and wetlands, and the marine environment from the coastline to the outer edges of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the extended continental shelf. This includes all land – public, private, and Māori-owned land. Continue reading

Three Waters Reform – further constitutional change by stealth

In another step in what the Government terms ‘partnership-based reform’ Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta last week released further information on plans to move the ownership and management of water infrastructure from local councils into the hands of four multi-regional water service entities across New Zealand. This information includes the proposed boundaries of the four water providers, and further details on the proposed water services entities - including governance arrangements, how they would be regulated, and the role of iwi. Nanaia Mahuta stated: “The Government will continue to work with the sector, iwi and industry on some of the details to give these transformational reforms the best chance of success. We will be making further announcements in the coming weeks, including a three waters reform support package for councils and their communities’’. Continue reading

Crown not appealing foreshore and seabed decision

The decision last month by Justice Peter Churchman is the first major case under the foreshore and seabed legislation, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, which replaced Labour's foreshore and seabed law. The decision awarded customary title in three parts of Eastern Bay of Plenty to six hapū of Whakatohea.  Justice Churchman’s decision elevated the status of Maori “tikanga” above the common law tests in the Marine and Coastal Area Act. This means that unless the judgement is overturned, it is likely to have a significant impact not only on the claims process, but on New Zealand’s legal system as well. If this judgement is allowed to stand, it is likely that hundreds of claims for customary marine title – involving most if not all the coastline – will succeed. The Crown considered lodging an appeal against this decision, but has decided not to. Instead, the Attorney-General has applied to appear as an intervenor to assist the court. Any expectation that the government would act in the interests of the rest of New Zealand have been dashed.  Lodging an appeal has been left up to a self-funded private group to act in the public interest. Continue reading

‘Māori-Crown Partnership’ features strongly in revamp of education system

During 2018 the Government announced a three-year work programme to bring about significant changes to New Zealand’s education system, from preschool to university. The reforms include a complete overhaul of the Ministry of Education, a review of Tomorrow’s Schools, and NCEA, and a programme of change for vocational education.  Continue reading

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