With the local body elections for 2019 now behind us, let us hope that our representatives understand the fundamental importance of representative democracy, and work to protect its integrity. Michael Coote, one of the mayoral candidates in Auckland, stood on a single-issue platform of citizen equality for all, saying Auckland Council must respect this fundamental principle of modern liberal democratic civilisation. “I am running on a single issue so that there is no ambiguity about the meaning of any vote I receive”, he said. "There is no justice in Auckland Council granting, enabling or facilitating special rights and privileges, or providing separatist treatment, for any part of Auckland's diverse community on the basis of racial or ethnic affiliation." And 5,530 people supported his stand, voting Michael 7th out of the 21 candidates in the Mayoralty race. A very pleasing result achieved in low key campaign.
Thank you to all who took up the invitation to have a say on the Government’s ‘Action for Healthy Waterways’ discussion document before the deadline of 31 October. However, if you missed this opportunity, you can always send your views directly to the Prime Minister, the Ministers involved, and of course to your own MP. Contact details are available in this month’s update.
Local Government NZ has also issued a discussion paper – ‘Reinvigorating Democracy: The case for localising power and decision making to councils and communities’, inviting you to have a say on the proposals put forward. Essentially, LGNZ is seeking more power be devolved from central government to local bodies. You have until 15 December to provide feedback. See media release from LGNZ - ‘Roadmap for reinvigorating local democracy launched’ - by clicking HERE.
Speaking out is important – the more who do so, the louder our voices. Please take all opportunities to not only talk to MPs and councillors, but also to send letters to the editor and engage on social media.
This month we have included an update on of Cultural Values Assessments (CVA), (formerly known as Cultural Impact Assessments). It has been quite some time since we covered this issue, but two reports on research commissioned by Auckland Council show that much is happening out of the public eye. These reports reveal that there is an expectation CVAs go much further than just acknowledging cultural values. The widespread use of the term 'mana whenua' (authority over the land) offers a clue as to what these expectations are. It is obvious that CVAs are another method of imposing the TOW 'partnership' principle on the citizenry, along with co-governance arrangements, and the increasing use of 'Relationship Agreements' - both of which are a feature of the Ngati Hinerangi Treaty settlement, which had its first reading in parliament during September.
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Our next Democracy Action Working Group monthly meeting is scheduled for Monday 11th November. You are very welcome to attend. Please email for details: [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]