The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu) Bill, creating permanent Ngāi Tahu representation on Environment Canterbury (ECAN), undergoes its third reading this week. This legislation represents a significant shift away from two key principles of democracy: equal suffrage and accountability at the ballot box.Read more
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta wants to make it mandatory for councils to consider Māori wards.
“Under the proposed changes, when councils undertake their regular Representation Review every six years, the first step must be a decision about whether to establish Māori wards or constituencies. Currently there is no obligation to consider Māori wards at all”, said Ms Mahuta.Read more
A Ministerial review into the future for Local Government is underway “to consider how New Zealand’s system of local democracy and governance will need to evolve over the next 30 years, in order to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and actively embody the Treaty partnership”. Ārewa ake te Kaupapa – Raising the platformRead more
As local body elections loom in September/October, concerns are being expressed that councillors are insufficiently resourced to effectively represent their constituents.Read more
Are the current murmurings of Mt Ruapehu a sign that the gods are not happy with the new Taupō Council agreement?
Taupō District Council recently signed a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe agreement with Ngāti Tūrangitukua that has taken a statutory obligation under the RMA much further than required under the legislation - to a whole new level of co-governance. This agreement includes of a range of policy, planning and operational areas outside of the RMA.Read more
Former Prime Minister Sir Bill English described Codes of Conduct as a threat to democracy a good 15 years ago, but we didn't heed his warning. Today they are being used by Councils as a tool to silence our elected representatives - blocking criticism by councillors. This is undermining the democratic process.
Codes of Conduct are designed to ensure the reputation of the Council is upheld within the community. They are not meant to be used as a means of preventing elected members from expressing their views. However, it appears this is happening to an alarming degree.Read more
Democracy Action does not support the Bill.
We do not support establishing iwi-based power by appointment in our governance arrangements. Therefore, we oppose the purpose of the Act, that is, to enable Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to 2 members to the Canterbury Regional Council.
We urge the Government to reject the Bill in its entirety.Read more
Local government is facing a wave of radical changes - such as the overhaul of the three waters sector and the resource management system - that will significantly affect their traditional roles and functions.Read more
Councils owe a duty of fair representation to all the citizens they represent, yet this fundamental principle of democratic governance is being ignored by councils as they build “Treaty partnerships” with their Māori citizens. This is very apparent at Rotorua Lakes Council, where undemocratic arrangements have been introduced to “strengthen the voice of Māori in our decision making”.Read more
Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has announced further details of the Government's regulatory and structural reform of water service delivery in New Zealand. The plan is for an unprecedented transfer of billions of dollars of ratepayer-funded assets from local bodies to four entities.Read more