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November 2023

As a result of the election, I hope you share with us a glimmer of hope for our country, which has been suffering under a government showing no respect New Zealand’s core values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights. There sure is plenty for the new government to unpack to restore the fundamental principles of democracy and the concept of equal citizenship, long accepted as the key to successful human society.

Our job now is to hold the politicians to account for the promises they made - especially those concerning democracy, co-government, and equal rights. We have put together a list of policy statements made by National, Act, and NZ First candidates during the election campaign. See below at ‘Election Promises’.

The latest intake of MPs needs to know they have support as they honour our expectation to defend democratic principles, (especially in the face of threatening rhetoric by the likes of Willie Jackson, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Tau Henare and John Tamihere). Please let them know why you voted for them and ask them to stand strong. The list of current MPs is available by clicking HERE

Despite the change of government, the anti-democratic juggernaut continues to roll on. For example, the Human Rights Commission this week released a fact-sheet (their description, not mine) to convince New Zealanders that co-governance is consistent with a ‘modern’, liberal democracy, and is necessary to uphold human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi. Only it’s not a factsheet but a shameless piece propaganda that promotes a revisionist interpretation of te Tiriti and misconstrues New Zealand’s obligations to the United Nations. Act Leader David Seymour certainly has a point when he called for the abolition of the Commission. At the very least it needs a good clean out to rid us of those using this organisation as a platform to push for radical constitutional change.

Another issue the new government must urgently address concerns the outcome of the most significant court case of recent times - the Court of Appeal hearing seeking to overturn a High Court decision to grant multiple customary marine titles over a 40 km stretch of coastline near Ōpōtiki. The Appeal Court judgement, released the week following the election, affirms tikanga as the dominant consideration when assessing Customary Marine Title applications under the Marine and Coastal Area Act. Because of this landmark case, the hurdles to gaining ‘customary’ title are now so low that most of the claims are likely to succeed. This will apply to virtually the entire New Zealand coastline – right out to the 12 nautical mile edge of the Territorial Sea. See more below at ‘Tikanga Trumps 'State' Law’

It is important it is to ensure that all the coalition leaders are committed to changing the law as a matter of urgency, so please get in touch with your contacts in National, ACT and New Zealand First, impressing on them the crucial importance of sorting this out as a priority.

The Marine and Coastal Area Act decision highlights the danger of including ‘tikanga’ in the law, as it can be interpreted to mean just what tikanga experts, known as pūkenga, choose it to mean. Any plain reading of the Act would determine that overlapping claims would fail to meet the exclusivity test. But, since tikanga includes the concept of shared authority, the courts interpreted "exclusive" as "shared exclusivity”. See ‘A Recipe for Chaos?’ below for more about the push to have ‘tikanga’ (generally speaking, traditional Māori customary practices or behaviours) recognised as a third legitimate source of law in New Zealand. 

Attention, people of Auckland

  • Consultation is now open on setting the direction for improving freshwater in Auckland under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. We have until 4 December 2023 to have our say. The Auckland Council consultation document is available HEREThe link to an information webinar on the night of Wednesday 15 November, 5.30pm - 7.30pm, is available HERE.
  • Last month, Auckland Council voted against Māori seats, resolving instead to conduct a review into the Council's representation arrangements. The Council's public consultation showed that 68% were opposed to Māori seats. Thanks to all who submitted, and contacted councillors. We can make a difference! 
  • “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” appears to be the tactic behind the repeated claim by Ngāti Whātua that they ‘gifted’ the land for the founding of Auckland. This is despite well-documented evidence that the land was purchased by Governor Hobson on behalf of the Crown. You can read more about this below at: The Founding of the City of Auckland’

In other news

Additionally, there is a sample list of interesting commentaries below at ‘Further news, views, opinions………’ Please see more posted on the Democracy Action Facebook page.

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]

Election promises

Promises, promises: it’s easy for politicians to forget what they pledged when they take the reins of power. We're determined to hold our governing parties to account, and to that end have compiled a list of the promises regarding democracy/constitutional issues made by National, Act and NZ First.  Continue reading

Tikanga Trumps 'State' Law

Image: Ōhope Beach with Ohiwa Harbour in the background. The Great Beach Grab! The long-awaited Court of Appeal judgement under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (MACA) was released the week following the general election. Continue reading

A recipe for chaos?

RULE OF LAW refers to a system whereby the Government and citizens (and other individuals) are bound by the law, and all are accountable under the law. Everyone must be treated under the same laws and possess the same rights. Simply put, this means that no one is above the law. RULE BY LAW is a concept that sees the governing authority as somehow being above the law and has the power to create and execute law where they find it to be convenient, despite the effect it has on larger freedoms that people enjoy. Continue reading

The Founding of the City of Auckland

Auckland, also known as Tamaki Makau Rau or Tāmaki Makaurau, was originally a Māori settlement. New Zealand’s first Governor, William Hobson, established Auckland as the nation’s capital in 1841 on land offered by Ngāti Whātua, following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Continue reading

Further news, views, opinions.......

Please see more posted on the Democracy Action Facebook page. ELIZABETH RATA: TWO TREATIES OF WAITANGI: THE ARTICLES TREATY AND THE PRINCIPLES TREATY Elizabeth Rata, a professor of education at the University of Auckland explains how parliament’s failure to define the principles of the Treaty has led to claims of co-governance rights. READ MORE Continue reading