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September 2019

Welcome to our September Update. This month we highlight the following issues:

  • making submissions on the review of the Plant Variety Act;
  • the upcoming local body elections;
  • another example of how our democracy is being undermined - the Hamilton City Council;
  • the Waitangi Tribunal's recently released report on our freshwater and geothermal resources.

No doubt you will be well aware it is local government election time again. It can all seem a bit complicated and hard to figure out who to vote for. Therefore, we strongly urge everyone to take every opportunity to question the candidates on the issues you are concerned about. To help you make an informed choice, one of our members has put together a list of questions which you may like to ask the candidates – please see ‘Vote for me! Local body elections 2019' further on in this newsletter. Once you have identified candidates you can support, maybe you could offer your help as they campaign.

Last month’s Democracy Action update featured the item ‘The PVR regime is undergoing a review, proposing a new decision-making process’, regarding the Government’s review of the Plant Varieties Act 1987. It was suggested you make a submission on proposals of concern. Please note that time is fast running out to have your say – 5pm on Monday 9th September is the deadline. Please see following article and our August newsletter for details.

Another organisation seeking feedback from the general public is Local Government NZ. They have released a discussion paper ‘Reinvigorating Democracy: The case for localising power and decision making to councils and communities’. We have been invited to read this paper, critique their ideas, come up with our own, and start a wider debate about where decisions on important matters should be made in New Zealand. Feedback is due by 15 December 2019. See the ‘Reinvigorating Democracy’ item in the August Update for details.

You may have noticed the recent release of stage 2 of the Waitangi Tribunal's inquiry into our freshwater and geothermal resources, which contains a number of highly controversial recommendations. While we have yet to read the 600 page document, our newsletter contains links to those who have offered an overview of the report. Please see 'Waitangi Tribunal releases report on freshwater and geothermal resources'

There are a couple of submissions currently in circulation you may be interested in signing. They are:


Please also share with your contacts.

Upcoming events which may be of interest:

  • Democracy Action working group meeting, Monday 9th September. All welcome. Please email for details: [email protected]
  • Gathering to commemorate Governor Hobson, Saturday 14th September, Grafton, Auckland. Please see article 'Event to commemorate Governor Hobson' for details.

 You are welcome to share the information in this newsletter with your friends, family and other contacts. Also, please direct to our website anyone who may be interested in the issues we cover and would like to be added to our mailing list. See: https://www.democracyaction.org.nz/about

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]

Time is running out to submit on the Plant Variety Rights Act

MBIE plans to share its decision-making power The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently undergoing a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. This Act is New Zealand’s plant variety rights law, which regulates intellectual property protection over new plant varieties.   Continue reading

Vote for me! Local body elections 2019

The upcoming election gives us the opportunity to voice our opinions, to hold elected representatives to account, and to vote for what we believe in. So please take all opportunities to question those standing for office. You could also identify those candidates you can support and offer your help as they campaign. We at Democracy Action believe our representatives should be voted on merit, not race. As Gisborne Herald columnist, farmer, community worker, and heritage consultant Mr Clive Bibby writes in his article 'Diversity best achieved naturally'  “The majority of people do not judge by colour, religion, age, sex or disability. They judge you by what you believe in, what you hope to do, what you bring to the table, whether you will work hard for them and represent their voices at the council or health board table.”     Continue reading

Racism in action - Hamilton City's race-based positions on council committees

Last year Hamilton City councillors joined those who are undermining our democracy by voting for Maori positions with voting rights on high powered council committees. Continue reading

Event to commemorate Governor Hobson

Auckland City Early Heritage Group seeks to revive the tradition of showing respect to the founder of Auckland and father of modern New Zealand, Governor William Hobson. This month marks 177 years since he died of stroke complications in the city he created. Today his remains are buried in Grafton Cemetery. Continue reading


Last week the Waitangi Tribunal released its report on stage 2* of the National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources inquiry. The report recommends two specific amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 and a number of paths and mechanisms for co-governance and co-management. Continue reading