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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. 

Please remember, 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

If you have any suggestions, or if you need further information or help, please do not hesitate to contact us - email: [email protected]

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]

And please help spread the message by sharing our newsletters with anyone who may be interested. You can receive further updates by registering or joining us.

Kind regards,

Susan Short

[email protected]

Action Plan for Healthy Waterways

Thank you to everyone who took the opportunity to make a submission on the Government’s 'Action for Healthy Waterways' discussion document. Around seventeen and a half thousand submissions were received, reflecting much interest in the proposals. From a democracy point of view, it is of great concern that several proposals point to the undermining of the democratic control of water, and include the intention to require local authorities to compulsorily include a vague and undefined set of values and interests in the management of the water bodies and freshwater ecosystems in their region. Continue reading

More co-governance to be served up to unsuspecting communities

Increasingly Treaty of Waitangi settlements are including a requirement to enter into co-governance arrangements. The Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill, which had its first reading in parliament on 19th September, is one such settlement. The Bill announces the intention to introduce a co-governance arrangement over the upper part of the Waihou and Piako river catchments areas. Continue reading

Plans to widen the scope of CVAs

It has been quite some time since we covered the issue of Cultural Values Assessments (CVA). This does not mean they are no longer an issue. To the contrary – the taniwha has been quietly working in the background, sharpening its teeth – as evidenced by reports on a project undertaken to research the effectiveness of the CVA process for influencing resource management and consenting in Auckland, and recommending ways to increase iwi/hapu involvement in the resource consent process. Continue reading

NZ On Air and NZ Herald fanning the flames of ethnic tensions

With the airing of the seven-part series ‘Land of the Long White Cloud – confronting NZ’s colonial past’, based on negative stereotypes of Pakeha New Zealanders, the media in New Zealand has sunk to an irresponsible new low. The theme of the series is that Pakeha New Zealanders should feel guilty and should do something about it.  “The theme of this documentary is appalling and damaging to our young people and is effectively educating them to be angry and resentful toward anyone who is not of Māori ancestry,” says Mr Elliot Ikilei, Deputy Leader of the New Conservative Party. Continue reading