Have you seen what was in the coalition agreements?

We have a coalition government!

We've spent the past few hours going through the agreements between Act, NZ First, and National, as well as the ministerial appointments, with a fine-tooth comb so we can provide you with the highlights.

First of all, I’m sure I speak for all those who have supported Hobson’s Pledge since our formation in 2016 when I say how absolutely delighted we are that Casey Costello has not only been elected to Parliament but has stepped right into a ministerial role inside Cabinet.

Casey will be Minister for Seniors, Minister of Customs, and Associate Minister for Health, Immigration, and Police.

We can be confident that there will be at least one minister at the Cabinet table speaking up for what we stand for!

The three parties have agreed to 'On-going Decision-Making Principles' to underpin their work together. I want to draw your attention to the principle they are calling 'Pro-democracy':

"upholding the principles of liberal democracy, including equal citizenship, parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law and property rights, especially with respect to interpreting the Treaty of Waitangi."

Reading this in the list of 8 principles, I couldn't help but feel hopeful about the rest of the document. And that hope wasn't misplaced. Both the Act/National and the NZ First/National coalition agreements have significant policies for Hobson's Pledge supporters.

NZ First/National: 

  • Abolish the Māori Health Authority.
  • Commit that the name of New Zealand will not change unless a referendum is conducted.
  • Ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori.
  • Require the public service departments and Crown Entities to communicate primarily in English.
  • The Coalition Government will defend the principle that New Zealanders are equal before the law, with the same rights and obligations, and with the guarantee of the privileges and responsibilities of equal citizenship in New Zealand.
  • ...will not advance policies that seek to ascribe different rights and responsibilities to New Zealanders on the basis of their race or ancestry.
  • Commitment to remove co-governance from the delivery of public services.
  • ...it is the Government’s expectation that public services should be prioritised on the basis of need, not race.
  • Restore the right to a local referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Māori wards, including requiring a referendum on any wards established without referendum at the next Local Body elections.
  • Stop all work on He Puapua.
  • ...the Coalition Government does not recognise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as having any binding legal effect on New Zealand.
  • Amend section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Area Act to make clear Parliament’s original intent.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of all legislation that includes “The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” and replace all such references with specific words relating to the relevance and application of the Treaty, or repeal the references.

Act/National (we won't repeat the policies already mentioned above):

  • Restore balance to the history curriculum.
  • Examine the Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme (MAPAS).
  • Immediately issue stop-work notices on Three Waters (with assets returned to council ownership).
  • Uphold the principles of liberal democracy, including equal citizenship and parliamentary sovereignty.
  • Ensure government contracts are awarded based on value, without racial discrimination.
  • Issue a Cabinet Office circular to all central government organisations that it is the Government’s expectation that public services should be prioritised on the basis of need, not race, within the first six months of Government.
  • Repeal the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Act 2022.
  • Introduce a Treaty Principles Bill based on existing ACT policy and support it to a Select Committee as soon as practicable.

Notable ministerial appointments:

  • Simeon Brown - Local Government
  • Paul Goldsmith - Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
  • Judith Collins - Attorney-General
  • Tama Potaka - Conservation, Māori Crown Relations

As you can see, we have a lot to be excited about. However, there are a few areas of weakness that we will be keeping our eyes on. Most obvious, is the specific language of removing co-governance from public service. That wording leaves room for co-governance of natural resources which the Prime Minister has previously expressed a willingness to continue.

Tama Potaka will be a minister to watch as he is the new Minister of Conservation and will have direct involvement with co-governance arrangements in places like the Ureweras. He is also the Minister of Māori Crown Relations.

It is disappointing to see the concessions David Seymour had to make regarding Act's proposed referendum on the Treaty Principles. However, the Treaty Principles Bill being supported to select committee will allow Hobson's Pledge and all our supporters to make sure we are heard. We will keep you in the loop with this bill when it appears.

These commitments and agreements are only worth the paper they are written on until they are actioned. It is crucial that we don't get complacent and take our eye off the ball. We need to be ticking each thing off the list until we can safely say that New Zealand is a nation where people are treated equally before the law.

We also need to be vigilant for anything that councils are sneaking through while the Government is getting established. Up and down the country there have been last ditch attempts to bring in Māori wards and race-based rights. I will email you in the next couple of days about one such matter.

I hope this summary has been helpful and that you get behind the Hobson's Pledge team as we hopefully see these changes implemented swiftly!