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November 2021

As predicted in last month’s newsletter, Mahuta’s jackboots have made a re-appearance, this time squashing another Labour 2020 election promise - to wit: “Labour will ensure the major decisions about local democracy involve full participation of the local population from the outset.”

In the decision to mandate its Three Waters reforms through legislation, the government has trampled on the mana of the vast majority of councils who have given this policy a big thumbs down. The anger expressed by many councillors is fully justified. Please see Outrage at power grab - “a dark day for democracyfor more on this issue, with suggested actions you can take.

Slowly until recently, but now rapidly, divisive constitutional change is being instituted in New Zealand - threatening social cohesion and destroying our once united country. Even the system of local governance is under review, the purpose being “to consider how New Zealand’s system of local democracy and governance will need to evolve over the next 30 years in order to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and actively embody the Treaty partnership”. Promoting the concept of a Treaty partnership in local government furthers the shift away from the fundamental principles of democracy and political equality. See more on this at ‘Future for Local Government Review signals Treaty-based local governance’.

Hey, we have some good news for a change: the Government has abandoned a proposed law change that would give it the power to delay the 2022 local government elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic! Thank you to all who made submissions on this provision in the bill – it is heartening to see that sometimes our concerns and recommendations are heeded.

A big thank you too to all members who have recently renewed their membership, and to all other supporters who have so generously responded to our call for funds to fight the government’s proposed three waters reform programme. We are very grateful and heartened by your support. To kick off the campaign we have commissioned a polling company to survey the public about their knowledge, and their support for or opposition to the government’s policy. We are aware of most of the Council’s concerns about the proposals, but not the views of the public. The insights gained from this survey will inform our campaigning, helping to focus resources and activity where it will deliver the most effective results.

Are you too thinking that Enough is Enough? If so, you are invited to join in a day of action. Following the hugely successful Howl of a Protest held in July, and lack of response from the Government, Groundswell NZ has announced a major nationwide protest event to be held on Sunday 21 November. Spokesman Bryce McKenzie says there is widespread concern among both rural and urban people, councils, and the business sector about the direction the Government is taking our country and the tsunami of unworkable regulations being rammed through. Travel into your local town, big or small and aim to be there at 1 pm. Come in your ute, your tractor, your truck, or car – or march along on foot if you wish. Bring your protest signs and banners. (Please follow your region’s covid rules. Stay in your vehicle if required). For details, get in touch with your local co-ordinator, HERE. Read more about Groundswell, and suggested slogans for signage HERE.

In 2005, authoritative academic Elizabeth Rata foretold our future in her article ‘Marching through the Institutions’: The Neotribal Elite and the Treaty of Waitangi’.  Elizabeth was so right – and even our great outdoors is not sacrosanct.  An Options Developments Group, set up by the Department of Conservation in late 2020 to better recognise the ‘Treaty partnership’, recommends “the delegation, transfer and devolution of functions and powers within the conservation system to tangata whenua”. An anonymous source alleges that this group is working outside of its remit. You can hear about their recommendations and the potential implications for New Zealand's environment and native species in this special episode of The Wild Podcast here:

  Special Episode - Leaked Options Development Group Draft Recommendations (buzzsprout.com)

Lately, we have been contacted by a growing number of people very concerned about what is happening to our once wonderful country. As we cannot rely on mainstream media to keep us reliably informed, (see the article ‘The Corruption of Mainstream Media’ below), we need to alert others to what is happening. Knowledge is power, so please share information around your networks – talk to family and friends, and contact MPs and councillors, write letters to newspapers, call talkback, use social media, deliver fliers. Every action helps. Thank you.

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]

Outrage at power grab - “a dark day for democracy”

"A deceitful, lying pack of bastards," exclaimed Masterton councillor Tina Nixon on hearing that the government will force councils to hand control of their water assets to four mega water entities, despite the previous promise to Councils that they could choose to opt in or out of the proposed reform programme.  Continue reading

Future for Local Government Review signals Treaty-based local governance

Local government is facing a wave of radical changes - such as the overhaul of the three waters sector and the resource management system - that will significantly affect their traditional roles and functions.  Continue reading

Minister Jackson working to adopt UNDRIP

The next step in the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was kicked off last month with a targeted engagement strategy aimed at ensuring as many Māori voices as possible get to share their views on what should be included in a Declaration plan. Continue reading

The corruption of the mainstream media

Most mainstream news organisations are making hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year, off the new Public Interest Journalism Fund. The Public Interest Journalism Fund is a $55m government grant handed out to news media organisations by the Labour government, via NZ On Air.  Continue reading

Groundswell Mother Of All Protests

Are you fed up with having unworkable regulations forced on you? Have you had enough of your freedom and rights being taken from you? It’s time to unite and force government to take notice. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Continue reading

More on our highly unsatisfactory new NZ history curriculum

Haka performed in front of the Ōhinemutu pā, which withstood the assault by Te Waharoa in 1836. PUBL-0014-53, Angas, George French, 1822–1886: War dance before the Pah of Oinemutu, near Rotorua Lake. J.W. Giles lith., 1847. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Following the comments we made last month about the inexplicable decision by the Ministry of Education not to release for public viewing submissions made on the proposed new history curriculum, look at what noted  historian Dr Paul Moon says about how the exercise was handled.  Continue reading