It's time to take legal action

Many Hobson's Pledge supporters have contacted us in recent years with stories of cultural training in their workplaces. As time has gone on, what began as optional courses are now more often than not compulsory and highly politicised. I know that this has been an issue of immense frustration for many people.

That's why I am introducing you to Janet Dickson.

Janet is a real estate agent with more than 30 years experience, but the Real Estate Authority is threatening to cancel her licence for five years.

Why? Because Janet is taking a principled stance in refusing to complete a compulsory online course instructing real estate agents on te reo Māori, tikanga, and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Her refusal is based on concerns that an industry body can force members to complete training on a subject only very loosely connected to their job under threat of losing their right to work. It is also a key concern to Janet that the online course Te Kākano is a singular perspective on the subject matter when there is a variety in opinion and understanding within Māoridom and all New Zealanders.

For Janet, this is a matter of personal and professional autonomy and diversity of opinion.

Faced with the choice to capitulate to the REA or lose her licence for five years, Janet has decided on a third option: judicial review in the High Court.

The review could serve as a critical tool in addressing the overreach by other professional organisations who force diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training on workers via mandates too. Her lawyers believe it could establish a precedent that will inform the conduct of other professional regulatory bodies.

But judicial reviews don’t come cheap.The entire process is likely to cost more than $150,000 and Janet needs $50,000 to kick it off and get this in front of the High Court.

Will you back Janet and this opportunity to rein in radical policies being pushed through companies and organisations via employee or licensee training? She needs support to maintain her principled stance to reject mandates and to challenge the idea that the writers of Te Kākano are an infallible authority on all things Māori.

Now is the time for collective resistance to safeguard the major principles of our democracy. It is imperative to ensure that Janet's voice, and those similarly situated, are not silenced. We need a unified stand to uphold the fundamental values of professional autonomy and democratic freedoms.

Contribute to Janet's legal fund

This case has the potential to be groundbreaking. It is our best opportunity thus far to draw a line in the sand around our rights. It is a clear cut case where the punishment for not completing the training is so obviously disproportionate. We simply couldn't pass up the chance to support Janet's effort. Will you join us?

It is quite laughable that the Real Estate Authority in conjunction with Ngāti Awa has decided that their Māori training manual is the one true account of New Zealand history, Māori culture, and the Treaty of Waitangi. 

Not only does Janet have a different perspective from Ngāti Awa's Te Kākanotraining, but I strongly suspect many other iwi would disagree with the training materials too! Making this training compulsory is an attempt at indoctrination.

If you want to see professional bodies and employers reminded that they don't have a right to own our opinions nor the right to impose their particular cultural perspectives on their employees and members, you need to get behind Janet and her judicial review. 

Back Janet Dickson's judicial review and say 'no' to compulsory Māori cultural training. 

On behalf of Janet, thank you for your support,