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October 2023

How many times have you recently heard the comments: “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” and “There’s a lot at stake in this year’s election”? Or uttered them yourself? There is no doubt many New Zealanders are feeling very uneasy about the direction our country is taking. Democracy depends on the guarantee of equal rights under law and freedom from discrimination for all individuals in a society. But under the current government’s divisive laws, we are on a downward spiral towards two standards of citizenship with different rights depending on our ancestry.

We are very fortunate to live in a democracy, a system fundamentally about fairness. Voting is one of the most significant democratic rights we have, but not the only one. For instance, we can also contact our elected officials with any concerns we might have, and just before general election is a great time to do so. Please keep the pressure on candidates over the next two weeks. Make it very clear to them the issues causing most concern. For some tips please read below ‘The days of ‘she'll be right’ are over’.

Time to vote!

Early voting starts on Monday 2 October. On election day, Saturday 14 October, voting places will be open from 9am to 7pm. Find a Voting Place at: https://vote.nz/2023-general-election/how-to-vote/find-a-voting-place/

And what to do at: https://vote.nz/2023-general-election/how-to-vote/what-to-do/

P.S. What the Electoral Commission says you can’t do on social media on election day

We all know that paid online election advertising is prohibited on election day. But did you know that you can’t post or share any content that’s likely to - or is intended to - influence someone’s candidate vote or party vote on election day. The rules make no exemption for the expression of personal political views online from midnight before election day until 7pm on election day.

Dedicated Māori seats on council - yes/no?

Under changes to the Local Government electoral legislation, it is now mandatory local authorities review dedicated Māori representation every six years. Auckland Council is currently undergoing this process, as is the Kāpiti Coast District Council. Public submissions have closed for Auckland, but citizens of Kāpiti can still have a say – until 5pm Friday 13 October. Read more about this below at: Kāpiti Coast Council proposes Māori ward.

Even though you may live outside the Auckland or Kāpiti Coast areas, this may also be coming to a town near you, so please keep a look out!

Thank you to all who made submissions on Auckland Council’s plan to establish Māori wards. Almost 10,000 submissions were received, most of which have given the proposal a decisive ‘thumbs down.’

Democracy Action Chair, Lee Short, will be presenting our case against the establishment of Māori seats to the Auckland Council Governing Body at 10:30 am on Monday 2 October. Please come along in support. The venue is the Reception Lounge, Level 2, Auckland Town Hall.

Further upcoming events

  • The Stop Co-Governance Tour is holding a public march, Wellington. Saturday 30 September. Meet at Civic Square at 10am. March starts 11am.
  • Groundswell DRIVE 4 CHANGE Tour
  • POLICY BONFIRE event 1799 Great South Road, Ramarama. Saturday 30 September 4-4.30pm.
  • Groundswell DRIVE 4 CHANGE Tour Round Up, Ellerslie Racecourse 1pm Sunday 1st October. All welcome.

Race-based fishing rights in the Hauraki Gulf…….

It is well documented that the Hauraki Gulf is at risk and its ecosystems are under immense pressures, causing concerning declines in marine life and sea bird populations. To help improve the marine environment, there have been several attempts to implement further marine reserves, the latest being the Hākaimangō-Matiatia marine reserve northwest of Waiheke Island. Despite garnering much support from the public, this project stalled following opposition from iwi groups - even though Marine Reserve status provides the highest level of marine protection and has proven to be a successful conservation tool. Instead, the government recently introduced legislation - the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill - which will create ‘protected’ areas that recognize and allow for Māori customary rights. Public submissions on the Bill have been called for. We have until 11.59pm on Wednesday, 01 November 2023 to have a say. You can read more about this below at ‘New marine protection reserves not created equal for all’

       …... and Northland

In another development with a similar provision, two areas in Northland – around Mimiwhangata peninsula and between Maunganui Bay/Deepwater Cove and Oke Bay in the Bay of Islands – are to be acknowledged as rāhui tapu and fishing will be prohibited – except for non-commercial Māori customary fishing rights. These customary fishing rights will be controlled by local iwi. Read more about this below at: ‘Māori customary fishing rights skirt ban'.

Recommended reading Remember to check out the Democracy Action Facebook page regularly, where we post interesting articles as they come to hand. Please  ‘like’ any posts that appeal to you, and share with others who may also be interested. For those who don’t belong to Facebook, we have a sample list of interesting commentaries below at ‘further news, views, opinions………’

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]

The days of ‘she'll be right’ are over

We have been very fortunate successive governments have faithfully upheld policies to protect our democracy as sacrosanct. That is, up until recently. Sadly, we are now on a downward spiral towards two standards of citizenship, with different rights depending on our ancestry.   Continue reading

Kāpiti Coast Council proposes Māori ward

Kāpiti Coast District Council is seeking the community’s views on whether to establish a Māori ward. A Māori ward councillor would represent citizens on the Maori roll. Feedback closes at 5pm Friday 13 October. See: https://haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz/MaoriWard Continue reading

New marine protection reserves not created equal for all

Under special legislation recently introduced to parliament, marine protection areas are to triple the total area under protection in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. These areas include some of the most favoured fishing spots in the Gulf and the Coromandel coast, such as parts of the Mokohīnau Islands, the Noises, Aldermen Islands, western and northern Coromandel, Little Barrier Island, Kawau Island, and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Continue reading

Māori customary fishing rights skirt ban

New no-take (for most) fishing areas have been formally adopted by Northland Regional Council (NRC) following a ground-breaking* Environment Court decision that confirmed fishing – including recreational – is no longer permitted from Maunganui Bay (Deep Water Cove) to Oporua (Oke Bay) in the Bay of Islands as well as around the Mimiwhangata peninsula, which is 50 kilometres north of Whangārei. Continue reading

News, views, opinions........

MARY-LOUISE KEARNEY: CO-GOVERNANCE - "IT’S THE VETO ISSUE, STUPID” Dr Mary Louise Kearney writes that very few people know about the veto aspect of co-governance or its significance because this is rarely mentioned by the media and politicians. “Whether negligent or deliberate, this helps fan the apathy of New Zealanders and their dangerous ignorance about co-governance (and similar major policy issues) overall”. READ MORE Continue reading