Welcome to our monthly update. We begin this month with some good news. After seeing off an attempt by their council to introduce race-based wards earlier this year, the citizens of the Western Bay of Plenty challenged a proposal put forward by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to scrap its democratically elected community boards and replace them with community committees, to be made up of council-appointed members. And they won! The Maketu community alone made 300 public submissions – overwhelmingly in favour of the democratically elected boards. The council had no option but to listen to their citizens, and back down.
Waihi Beach Community Board chair Allan Sole is very pleased his board is to stay, saying:
“A large number of the community spoke and supported the idea of community boards and democracy”.
This is a very good example of people power in action. It shows what can be done when ordinary citizens combine into something much bigger.
Our working group continues to be busy. Listed below are just some of the projects we are currently working on, with which you can help, e.g:
- keeping up-to-date with developments regarding the claims under the Marine & Coastal Area Act, and making preparations to become involved when the time comes. A spreadsheet outlining all 202 applications received by the High Court, the area they are claiming, their counsel, and when the next action is occurring, is available on the High Court website HERE
- urging NZ First MPs to stand by the party’s pre-election promise of a referendum on the Maori seats. See below for a link to the MPs email addresses, and another link to the petition calling on Winston Peters to use his power to force a referendum on the existence of Maori seats;
- lobbying the Ports of Auckland to change its commemorative plaque marking the founding of Auckland to reflect the facts – please see below for details;
- contacting Auckland Councillors, demanding Paul Beverley not be engaged as legal counsel for Auckland, with reasons why. For details, please see September newsletter item on Paul Beverley. You can also access a copy of the item by clicking HERE.
In addition, please do come along to the meeting on 7th October, at which Councillor Mike Lee will be presenting his thoughts on the Sea Change Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. Mike is very concerned about proposed threats to democracy as advocated in the plan. He outlined his concerns in an article first published in the Gulf News on 21 June, now available on Mike’s website HERE. See ‘Sea Change versus democracy in the Hauraki Gulf.’
WHEN: Sunday 7th October, at 1:00pm
WHERE: Titoki Room, 1st floor, Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Rd, Parnell.
We would love to see you there. Please click HERE for more information.
You are also welcome to join us at our next monthly meeting on 8th October at 7:00pm, 21 O’Rorke Rd. Penrose.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Several members who were unable to attend our special meeting on Sunday 7th October have requested a report on the ‘Sea Change versus democracy in the Hauraki Gulf’ presentation given by Auckland Councillor Mike Lee.
Mike has been a local body representative in the Auckland region for over 26 years, having lived and worked in the Hauraki Gulf and Waitemata ward for most of his life. He was invited to address Democracy Action about the power play currently underway for the control of the Gulf.
The process is underway to hear the applications for the recognition of customary interests that have been registered in the High Court. The initial focus has been on applications where the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, on behalf of the Crown, has already decided to engage. They are listed on the Ministry of Justice website - to view please click HERE.
According to a NZ Herald report, the ‘Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti’ agency will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship – moving beyond the settlement of treaty grievances into what it means to work together in partnerships. It will also provide leadership across the public sector on other matters including the constitutional and institutional arrangements supporting partnerships between the Crown and Māori.
A bill seeking to entrench the Māori seats into New Zealand electoral law – requiring a 75 per cent majority of Parliament to get rid of them - has passed its first reading in Parliament with the support of New Zealand First. See news report HERE.
The citizens of the Western Bay of Plenty have shown us the way once again. After seeing off an attempt by their council to introduce race-based wards, the citizens have actively challenged a proposal put forward by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council (WBPDC) to scrap its five democratically elected community boards and replace them with three community committees, to be made up of council-appointed members. The Maketu community alone made 300 public submissions – overwhelmingly in favour of the democratically elected boards. With such a result, the council had no option but to back down.
In 2014 the Waitangi Tribunal released a controversial report that claimed Maori did not give up sovereignty. "That is, they did not cede authority to make and enforce law over their people or their territories," the Tribunal said. In a brief statement responding to the report, Attorney-General and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said: "There is no question that the Crown has sovereignty in New Zealand. This report doesn't change that fact."
The new memorial plaque on the Ports of Auckland frontage, on Quay St, states "Te Kawau gifted 3000 acres to establish the City of Auckland." It replaces a plaque which referred to a purchase rather than a gift.
According to the law firm Chapman Tripp, a recent Supreme Court decision will reshape expectations on central and local Government on their approach to dealing with iwi interests. The decision allows Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to continue to argue their legal rights as mana whenua in the Tāmaki isthmus, and continues to establish the place of tikanga in the common law of New Zealand said. Nick Wells, Chapman Tripp’s Hoa Rangapū Whakarae (chief executive partner) says:
A North Waikato land owner has made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about the Waikato Regional Council's proposed Plan Change 1, which would allow iwi to develop land and change land use when everyone else with similar land is denied the same right. Click HERE to read a news report on this issue.