< December 2019 newsletter


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.

Additionally, last week the Government signalled it will not change the law to prevent Maori wards being subject to referenda. The Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta cited the makeup of the coalition Govt not being supportive of a law change.

Messages of appreciation to NZ First MPs for protecting the integrity of our democracy would not go amiss.

The news engendered a sour grape response from the sponsor of the Bill seeking to entrench the Māori seats, Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene. He accused New Zealand First and National of pandering to anti-treaty rights group Hobson’s Pledge. However, this accusation misrepresents the view of Hobson’s Pledge in relation to the Treaty. As Don Brash writes in Hobson's not "an anti-Treaty rights" group, “Far from being an “anti-treaty rights group”, Hobson’s Pledge contends that the Treaty of Waitangi was an extraordinary document for its time in guaranteeing equal rights to all New Zealanders”. Don’s statement was reiterated in an interview with Waatea News on 9th December. It is available here: https://www.waateanews.com/uma/play_podcast/x_podlink/ODMxMzQ=/

Media Coverage

WaateaNews: No change to Maori seat veto

WaateaNews: NZ First death knell for Tirikatene Bill

WaateaNews: Maori ward inaction decried by Maori Party

However, on the other hand………..

Renewed call for local body seats dedicated to Māori

Despite many councils taking steps to include Māori at the decision-making table, TV1 reported recently that there is growing support from Māoridom to legislate Māori seats in local Government. A submission calling for changes in the way Māori participate in New Zealand's local government elections is to be presented to the Tai Tokerau Maori Advisory Committee on Thursday 12 December. The submitter, Rihari Dargaville, wants it adopted nationally by Local Government New Zealand and the Minister for Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta.

Media coverage

1 News Now: Lack of Māori being voted onto local body councils called out as racism

RNZ: Call for statutory Māori seats in local government to increase representation

Mike Hosking: Leave democracy alone!

Well known broadcaster Mike Hosking responds to the calls for Maori seats on local bodies by making a plea to leave democracy alone:

 “Democracy is not perfect. But it beats no democracy and it certainly beats trying to gerrymander it to suit your political purposes”.

To read Mike’s commentary published by the NZ Herald, ‘Why are we messing with democracy?’ please click HERE

Go back to the December 2019 newsletter


RELATED ARTICLES


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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”.  Continue reading

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Local Government update

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The cost to ratepayers of implementing the partnership principle

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Government legislates away a democratic right

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Step by step, the undermining of democracy continues……….

Maori wards are not the only avenue for separate local government representation for Māori. Continue reading

No respect for democracy - Government to muzzle citizens

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We want a vote on Māori wards!

The Local Electoral Act’s binding poll system is a form of direct democracy that enables local electors to choose for themselves by simple majority vote whether or not they support race-based council representation. However, to trigger a poll 5 percent of electors must support a petition to hold the referendum. Campaigns to do so have already started in several regions. Please offer your support and encouragement to those who are standing up for the right to have a say on whether we support designated race-based seats at the council table. Continue reading

Mayors seek law change to thwart citizens’ right to have a say on Māori wards

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Local Body Elections 2019

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

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Auckland Plan 2050 Adopted – With The Anti-Democratic Provisions

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Hastings District Council joins the Hall of Shame

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The Waikato District Council Blueprint Project

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He Puapua: The action plan to destroy democracy

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The ‘partnership’ myth - the single biggest threat to our democracy

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