< September 2023 newsletter

Where the parties stand on co-governance

Many of us are opposed to co-governance and believe that decision-making must be fair, transparent, and democratic, with all decision-makers accountable to the citizens. This being so, we have reviewed the main political parties to find out their stance on co-governance - both in general and specific to the Hauraki Gulf. The parties appear in alphabetical order.

We'd like to thank Hobson's Pledge for providing the information on where the parties stand in general. They have created an easy tool for us, the public, to tell candidates that our vote depends on whether they will protect democratic values. Go to: https://bottomline.co.nz/


In general  The Act Party is opposed to co-governance and believes that it undermines the concepts of universal human rights and democracy.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

The Act Party is opposed to race-based fishing rights in the Hauraki Gulf.

"The Government’s plan to roll out more fishing reserves will be welcomed by some, but it shouldn’t be used to smuggle in a co-governance agenda," says ACT Leader David Seymour.
"Revitalising the Gulf is the latest example of the Government’s drive to give power to people based on who their grandparents were through co-governance.
A fishing reserve is not a cultural construct, it’s just a place where fishing is banned to give fish a chance. There is no need for special Māori knowledge. We can all see that if you stop catching fish in certain areas there will be more of them.
Not only is co-management unnecessary, it is divisive. It can only mean that some people will get a greater say, and perhaps greater rights according to who their grandparents were.
There is no doubt there will be a rahui here and a customary catch there, meaning reserves are not created equal for all people.
Fish don’t do race. The protection of the Hauraki Gulf should be based on good science to maximise fishing opportunities for all New Zealanders.
ACT supports marine reserves, but allowing some Māori to customary take in a fishing reserve makes the policy more about race than fishing."


In general  The Green Party is in favour of co-governance. They believe co-governance arrangements should be implemented in local government and that it is essential to partner with local iwi and hapū.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

The Green Party does not appear to have a policy relating to co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf.

"Thanks for getting in touch regarding co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Currently, the Green Party’s main focus is to restore the health of the Gulf by banning the most ecologically harmful and destructive commercial fishing practices such as bottom trawling and dredging. We don’t currently have any policy relating specifically to co-governance for the marine park, and believe the priority right now is to ensure that the gulf can have its health restored.
That said, the Green Party is a Te Tiriti based party which advocates for the upholding of Tino Rangatiratanga for tangata whenua. Going forward, we would like to see more focus on kaitiakitanga and co-governance of natural resources for iwi and hapū, recognising their unique relationships with our natural environment and the important contribution that matauranga Maori can make.
The Hauraki Forum has for several years had co-chairs one being a tangata whenua representative and one a council representative. That has strengthened the way the Forum has operated.  Having a strong te Ao Māori perspective in governance enriches our management of nature and ways of working together."


In general  The Labour Party is in favour of co-governance and has implemented it in areas such as natural resources, public services, and the national health system.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

The Labour Party is committed to evolving and strengthening the partnership relationship.

"Co-governance arrangements are a form of partnership with groups of special standing or expertise. They are about governments working together with communities, experts or other partners to provide direction over a sphere of shared interest to achieve better outcomes. They have taken many forms and have been used to get the best outcomes for our land, resources and for our communities.
Co-governance is a way for us to come together for a collective goal.
The relationship between Māori and the Crown continues to evolve and strengthen, and this means we’ll continue to be called on to give effect to Treaty obligations and shared outcomes that we are seeking to achieve as a nation."


In general  The National Party is opposed to co-governance and believes that New Zealand’s public service should be governed under one system. However, they also believe that co-governance of natural assets involving iwi working with central and local government in the context of Treaty settlements is long-standing they continue to support it.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

The National Party do not support the co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf Forum*, and major decisions regarding the Hauraki Gulf should not be made without the full input of all hrough their local councils.

"National’s position on co-governance is clear and will be applied by us in government.
We do not support co-governance of public services.
We are one country, we deliver our public services to people on the basis of need, not ethnicity. And we're all equal under the law, one person, one vote.
In regard to the Hauraki Gulf Forum specifically, we don’t think expanding the membership to include equal numbers of mana whenua and Crown/local government representatives is necessary.
What is important is that the forum is operating effectively.
We are the party of local democracy and we do not believe major decisions should be made about the Hauraki Gulf without the full input of all through their local councils."

* Comment: It must be noted that the Hauraki Gulf Forum is not the same as the Hauraki Gulf.


In general  NZ First opposes co-governance and believes that democracy and co-governance cannot co-exist.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

NZ First opposes co-governance, and will do all in their power to repeal the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011.

"In 2005 New Zealand First, from opposition, presented the policy solution to the then Helen Clark led Labour government in the form of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which arose from the Marlborough case presided over by Judge Hingston.  Sadly, the John Key National led government repealed that legislation, in favour of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 - a disastrous change which has led to hundreds of claims for the coastline of New Zealand and indeed the development of the subject of your email to me.  
We are against co-governance, and we will do all in our power to repeal the 2011 legislation and restore the 2005 legislation.
This country has become the victim of a separatist political agenda, sadly subscribed to by a number of political parties with an appalling understanding of our history and constitutional construct. Which means that New Zealand has reached an inflection point where, if these matters are not immediately resolved after the 2023 election, the downward spiral of this country with two standards of citizenship, will be a continuing inevitability."


In general  The Maori Party is in favour of co-governance and advocates for their whānau, hapū, and iwi in Government to “realise the true intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

Re the Hauraki Gulf

No reply, even after three requests for a response.


Go back to the September 2023 newsletter


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