< July 2019 newsletter

The undermining of our democracy continues apace

Please see below some examples from around the country:

Earlier this year the Minister of Conservation signed a partnership agreement between the ministry, DOC and Auckland iwi Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, to share in the management of natural resources, and cultural and historical heritage. Ngai Tai ki Tamaki’s role is that of guardians and stewards. They are seeking to establish an ‘iwi conservancy’ over land and taonga species. They are based at Umupuia, just south of Maraetai, on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf. Yet they claim an area of interest, and therefore influence, that stretches from north of Auckland, down to Tauranga, including the whole of the Coromandel Peninsula; much of the Manukau Harbour in the west, and out past Gt. Barrier Island in the east, as shown below.

The Minister of Conservation has been contacted for an explanation of the extent of the powers afforded the iwi with this agreement. Her reply is below.


Tasman Council to add a kaihautū to its staff to support partnerships with iwi

During the development of the Tasman District Council’s Long-Term Plan 2018-28 and previous LTPs, iwi requested among other things, that the council appoint a kaihautū (leader) and support Māori involvement in decision-making. In a report, council chief executive Janine Dowding said a kaihautū would also support the development of enduring partnerships with the eight Te Tau Ihu iwi and Ngāi Tahu.

"More recently with the fire events and other operational matters, iwi have reiterated that request," Dowding says in her report. "Last year, in order to help us fill this need, we attempted to find a suitable person on a temporary fixed-term contract. However, we were unable to attract the level of skill required for a position unless we remunerated at exorbitant consultants’ rates."

See Stuff: Tasman district council to appoint fulltime kaihutu: (leader)


Maori become key partners in local board decision-making in West Auckland

The Henderson-Massey, Waitākere Ranges and Whau local boards in west Auckland have recently adopted a plan to guide and support their decision-making on matters important to west Auckland Māori. Tracy Mulholland, Whau Local Board Chair, says “This plan partly complements those in terms of enabling us to respond better to our community, but more importantly it will support the local board in meeting our obligations to Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and responding better to local mana whenua and mataawaka as our key partners in decision making”.

See Our Auckland: New approach to Māori decision making for west Auckland boards


Ngāti Hinerangi Treaty settlement includes co-governance arrangement

See Media release from: Andrew Little.


Otago Regional Council to allow Ngāi Tahu to hand pick two candidates to sit on the council's policy committee

RNZ report: Council's move to have committee members picked by iwi labelled 'worse than racist'


Maori seek to control NZ response to climate change

Māori leaders say the government needs to let Māori determine climate change policy - not just be consulted.

See RNZ report: ‘Māori seek direct input into govt's climate change policy’

Go back to the July 2019 newsletter


More councils adopt racially-selected appointees

Despite constituents strongly opposing separate race-based representation, as shown in referenda held in 2018, the number of councils across New Zealand which have appointed unelected members with voting rights to council committees has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. The following are examples (by no means the total number) of councils who have recently taken the obligation to consult with Māori to an undemocratic level: Continue reading

Yahoo! A double win for democracy

We end the year with the welcome news that the bill making it harder to remove the Māori seats from Parliament has been voted down at the second reading, with New Zealand First opposing the change. Only Labour and the Green Party supported the legislation. The bill cleared its first hurdle in Parliament last year with the unlikely support of New Zealand First, which opposes the Māori seats. The party wanted to use the bill as a vehicle to hold a two-part referendum on the seats, asking whether they should be entrenched or done away with altogether. But no referendum was added after the select committee stage. Continue reading

Local Body Elections 2019

The Democracy Action working group is preparing a set of questions to ask candidates. Please take the opportunity to call radio shows with guest candidates, and attend public meetings, to ask a question or two. Continue reading

‘Partnership’ - a way of heading off costly litigation?

Last month we reported on the Horizons Regional Council vote to create a committee of councillors and iwi leaders to come up with strategies for managing Manawatū waterways. Continue reading

Auckland Plan 2050 Adopted – With The Anti-Democratic Provisions

The Auckland Plan 2050, the long-term strategy for Auckland’s growth and development, and which provides a framework to inform decisions, has been adopted by Auckland Council. Continue reading

Implementation of Treaty settlements creating significant cost pressures

The Waikato Regional Council’s draft submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Local Government Funding and Financing reveals that the implementation of Treaty of Waitangi settlements creates significant cost pressures for Council. The submission states that “the Council wishes to work with its iwi partners in partnership but notes that the costs to do so is significant to its ratepayers”. Continue reading

Hastings District Council joins the Hall of Shame

A big thank you to those who contacted Hasting District councillors to encourage them to vote against the proposal to enable four members of the Maori Joint Committee to sit and vote on the council’s four standing committees. Unfortunately, enough councillors (10-4) felt able to turn their back on democracy by appointing unelected Maori to all committees.  Continue reading

Good News - designated seats for Ngāi Tahu voted down

New Zealand First has scuppered Labour's bid to give Ngāi Tahu permanent seats on the Canterbury Regional Council, saying its special treatment for Māori. Shane Jones acknowledged the party's long-held position against separate seats for Māori on local body councils. Continue reading

Auckland Council’s ‘Our Water Future’ - Remember to have your say

Auckland Council recently released a discussion document on developing ‘a water strategy to ensure a secure, sustainable, and healthy future for water in Auckland’. We covered this issue in the March update, but to briefly recap, as to the advancement of a co-governance agenda, concerns centre on the following statements: Continue reading

The Waikato District Council Blueprint Project

It appears every act of special entitlement is simply used as a stepping stone to further power. We see an example of this in the Waikato District Council’s Blueprint project, with its pitch to build on the Joint Management Agreements and other agreements with iwi, and the proposal to appoint a ‘Maori Partnership Manager’ “to sit with the CE group, which will, appropriately, facilitate a “chief to chief” relationship” – with the assistance of an operational support person. There are only a few days left to have provide feedback. Go online to have your say by 5pm Monday 8 April. Continue reading