Protect Democracy

Despite being one of the oldest continuous democracies in the world, today our democracy faces threats we have not seen before. These extraordinary challenges come from an ambitious Labour Government-led programme to reformulate our constitutional arrangements, mainly driven by a desire to implement a plan to recognise the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and embed te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) into our constitution.

Earlier this year Democracy Action engaged Professor James Allan to review the He Puapua Report. This report, commissioned by the Labour-led Government in 2019, has served as a roadmap to constitutional and democratic change for New Zealand.

The result of Professor Allan’s analysis - "The Report of Professor James Allan on He Puapua: The Radical Prescription for Undermining Democracy and the Rule of Law" - provides a valuable critique of He Puapua and how this impacts our democracy.

About the events

Democracy Action is hosting events in Auckland and Christchurch featuring Professor James Allan, at which he will speak about his critique of He Puapua, the likely implications for New Zealands liberal democracy, and what this means for the people of New Zealand.

Come along to hear what Professor Allan has to say. You can RSVP to your nearest event today - spaces are limited.

  • The Auckland event will be held at the Events Centre, Ellerslie Racecourse, on Tuesday 21 June 2022.
  • The Christchurch event will be held at the Sudima Christchurch Airport Hotel on Thursday 23 June 2022.


RSVP to Auckland event


RSVP to Christchurch event


What is He Puapua?

In 2019, a government-appointed working group was tasked with creating a plan to realise the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) here in New Zealand. On the first page of the working groups report, the authors define He Puapua as:

He Puapua” means a break”, which usually refers to a break in the waves. Here, it refers to the breaking of the usual political and societal norms and approaches. We hope that the breaking of a wave will represent a breakthrough where Aotearoas constitution is rooted in te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.

Although the current Labour Government has attempted to distance itself from He Puapua, with assurances that it is not a plan nor is it Government policy, evidence of its implementation continues.

Two examples of this are the Water Services Entities Bill (Three Waters), which was introduced to Parliament on 2 June, and the Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill (Health Reform), which has currently entered its fifth stage of the legislative process. These are both specific objectives referenced in He Puapua.