Late this afternoon the Rotorua District Council and Labour list MP Tamati Coffey announced they were “pausing” their divisive Bill to do away with the fundamental democratic principle of one person, one vote.
While the Government is trying to save face by calling a mere "pause" to the Bill – make no mistake, this is a comprehensive win.
Technically, Parliament's rules mean a bill cannot be withdrawn while it's before a Select Committee, but with the Government pulling its support Mr Coffey's Bill is left high and dry.
And with the admission that making Maori votes twice the value of those of non-Maori cannot be justified, no amount of tweaking can make the Bill consistent with the NZ Bill of Rights Act. In short, the Bill is finished.
Your support has achieved this victory. More than 13,000 Hobson's Pledge supporters submitted to the Maori Affairs Select Committee to achieve today's victory. That volume stopped the outrageous rush to sneak this Bill through without it coming to the public's attention.
Of those, 4,620 submitters opted to also submit orally (via Zoom or in-person). Allocating just five minutes per person, meant it would have taken at least 39 days of ten-hour hearings for the Select Committee to get through those who wanted to have a say. This alone prevented the Bill from passing before 1 June, meaning it couldn’t possibly apply to this year’s local elections.
Seeing the writing on the wall, as well as our campaign (and public anger) heating up, Labour decided that the only option was to make this U-turn.
Thanks to the support of thousands of Kiwis like you chipping-in to this effort, more than one million New Zealanders have seen our TV ad with targeted advertising across YouTube and Facebook.
The Government knew that from tomorrow our advertisements were hitting newspapers across the country, and we have TV ads slots booked from this weekend.
Seeing the media blitz coming, Jacinda Ardern's office read the writing on the wall.
This is proof that well-organised people-power can win even against a majority government beholden to a Maori caucus. Despite the best efforts of the anti-democracy movement, democracy still works.
Michael, you stood with us for democracy and told them no. This is your win. Thank you for making it possible.
Where to from here?
We have won this battle, but the war isn’t over. Tomorrow the fight continues against the rest of the anti-democracy movement’s attempts to divide New Zealanders by race and undermine equality of citizenship.
We understand there is a major Three Waters announcement from Nanaia Mahuta tomorrow morning at 11am.
Thank you for your support.