Terminated for saying "no" to cultural training - what's next?

Just a quick update on Janet's situation.

As I shared with you previously, the Real Estate Authority (REA) said they were going to cancel real estate agent Janet Dickson's licence for five years because she would not take a compulsory Māori culture course. 

Then, the real estate company she worked for decided to terminate her contract. We couldn’t share this with you at the time because it was important for Janet’s lawyers to try to save her ability to earn a living. Thankfully, they were successful and she has been offered her role back.

Her legal team have also ensured that Janet will remain licensed until the outcome of the High Court proceedings. The hearing will be in June so she can keep working at least until the decision.

Hobson’s Pledge supporters like you got in behind Janet. You’ve ensured that she wasn’t forced to cave in the face of the REA’s decision to go down the track of expensive litigation. Janet could not be more grateful to her lawyers, and to you who made it possible.

The REA isn’t making things easy for Janet though. They’ve applied for what is called "security for costs". This says they think that Janet won’t be able to pay up if she loses. They claim that only Janet benefits from winning the case, dismissing the great public interest in the case, including public support from the Deputy Prime Minister. They are also ignoring the many other real estate agents in the same boat. We’ve heard from a number of them.

We cannot understand how the REA can think that it is serving its proper purposes, or helping real estate customers and agents, in using its powers and funds to suppress dissent, instead of welcoming a chance to have the court decide who is right on the proper scope of its powers.

The next phase for the legal team is preparing for her judicial review. Meanwhile, Hobson’s Pledge is looking to find out if other Kiwis are experiencing similarly outrageous situations with their employers and licensing bodies. We are hearing that this goes far beyond the real estate field and that professions of all kinds are abusing their powers to force licencees into brain-washing with ideological cultural training.  

We’ve been told that lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and public service workers are all under this kind of pressure.

Send me a message if you have an experience that you would be willing to share with us. We can redact names and identifying details if need be.

As you can see, without the backing of our supporters Janet would not have had the excellent legal representation. It has proven its value already.

It makes me proud to see how Hobson’s Pledge can contribute to not only influencing policy and legislation, but also can actively protect democratic freedoms for a Kiwi who is standing up against the racialised politics we fight to resist.

Thanks for your ongoing support,

Don Brash
Trustee
Hobson’s Pledge

P.S. if you would like to join the fight for a New Zealand where laws and policy aren’t based on race, you can chip in to our fund here


You won't believe the email Greenpeace sent

A Hobson's Pledge supporter sent through this email they received from Greenpeace over the weekend. We've jotted a few thoughts down in the margins!

Aside from making assertions about the Treaty Principles Bill, a Bill no one has read yet, Greenpeace has waded into a political debate, advancing a political view that is not only unconnected to their purpose but will only benefit a small section of the public, putting their charitable status at risk.

We have seen other charities lose their status for much less.

I personally know of several supporters of Hobson's Pledge who have had to depart from supporting Greenpeace despite long term support because of their detour into race matters.

There are two things you can do to tell Greenpeace to stay in their lane:

1. Take Greenpeace's survey and tell them you don't support their involvement in race politics.

2. Send a complaint to Charities Services pointing out that their stated charitable purpose does not mention the Treaty or race relations.

 

New Zealand needs a robust and reasoned discussion about race and the Treaty, but we can't have people running charities inserting their own politics into them and turning them into de facto leftist activist groups.

Those invested in New Zealand becoming an ethnostate will pull every dirty trick in the book and we have to be ready to take action.  

Take the survey and lodge a complaint by clicking the buttons below.

 

Thank you for your support,

Don Brash


Why I'm joining Hobson's Pledge

Just a quick note to introduce myself as the newest member of the Hobson's Pledge team.

A quick bit about myself: I am a husband, dad, and proud New Zealander. I have ancestors from Niue, England, and Tonga, and I hail from the iwi, Te Āti Awa, and the hapū, Ngāti Raukawa. My kids are all that plus mixed with Chinese heritage. Multicultural!

I have worked with at-risk young people and communities for 20 years and have fought for equality in various contexts.

Like many Kiwis I've been watching the downward spiral of race relations in New Zealand in horror.

We live in one of the greatest countries on Earth with a proud history of democracy but now we find ourselves with different rights and representation based on if we have Māori blood.

I have Māori blood. I don't want this racist separatism.

Don and I go way back. We first met at a school in South Auckland where he was helping to empower the families and youth in our low-income areas. Since then, I have seen his work with Hobson's Pledge evolve over the years into a massive movement based on the simple idea that all Kiwis should have the same rights and representation. Nearly 150,000 Kiwis are signed up to Hobson's Pledge's supporter list.

I'm joining the Hobson's Pledge team because this is not the New Zealand I grew up inThe apartheid-style policies that have been implemented by recent governments have shocked me and then angered me.

I'm also joining because I have had enough of media and politicians acting like all Māori are on board with the extremism of Te Pati Māori.These extremist groups are attempting to rewrite history.

The recent Tūrangawaewae, Kīngitanga, and Waitangi events have shown that anti-equality groups will subject Kiwis to division, deception, manipulation and gaslighting.

We have a battle ahead to overcome what I consider to be a broken fourth estate.

They aren't going to report on this fairly.

They aren't going to be honest and say Hobson's Pledge stands for equality.

No.

They will print dramatic headlines and call us all racists.

I'm not going to take it lying down. I'm joining the team at Hobson's Pledge to stand up for justice, democracy and equality.

I don't care what your skin colour is or who your ancestors were. I will stand with you. Shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart.

He iwi tahi tatou. We are one people.

I'll be in touch soon.

Elliot Ikilei

P.S. If you feel as strongly as I do and want to contribute to the fund to fight for equality in New Zealand, click here.


Media sets sights on banned real estate agent

The stakes have risen! Janet's story has hit the media. Predictably much of the reporting is critical of her stance to refuse to take the Māori cultural training course imposed by the Real Estate Authority.

>>> Haven't heard about the appalling treatment of Janet Dickson? Read about it here <<<

We've heard that these mandatory cultural trainings are happening all over New Zealand and Hobson's Pledge supporters like you have been sharing their experiences with us. Submit your tip here.

With the hostile media now interested in Janet's case, she needs your support more than ever to get her case in front of a judge.

Hobson's Pledge are fundraising for Janet's fight because this case could set an important precedent regarding the right of employers and licensing bodies to impose compulsory political or ideological training on their staff or licensees.

We have not yet hit the target that is needed for Janet's fight. Will you chip in to get us over the line?

This battle is bigger than just Janet. It is about asserting the rights of all Kiwis to make their own minds up about political and cultural matters and be autonomous human beings with their own opinions. Click here to stand with Janet.

It is laughable that the Real Estate Authority in conjunction with Ngāti Awa has decided that their Māori training manual is the one true perspective on Māori values. 

Do you think it is right that a person can be sacked or banned for five years because they wouldn't take a training course on 'Māori values'?

Workplaces often have compulsory trainings for things like health and safety, but the Real Estate Authority is forcing a course that has little relevance to the work of realtors.

Join the fight.

For Janet, this is a matter of personal and professional autonomy and diversity of opinion. Faced with the choice of capitulating to the REA or losing her licence for five years, Janet has decided on a third option: judicial review in the High Court.

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, now is the time to get behind Janet and her judicial review. 

Now is the time for collective resistance. When we push back together it is much harder to ignore.

On behalf of Janet and the team at Hosbon's Pledge, thank you for your support,


DON BRASH: WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY DO WE WANT TO BE?

Last Sunday, the Sunday Star-Times recalled on its front page the “fiery debate” triggered by my speech to the Orewa Rotary Club just 20 years earlier. Articles by several authors in the same paper brought the debate up-to-date and warned of the dangers of ACT’s Treaty Principles Bill, which the National Party’s coalition agreement with ACT provides will be introduced into Parliament, will be passed at First Reading, and will be referred to a Select Committee – but with no commitment from National to support the Bill beyond that.

It is not my role to support any political party, though in the interests of full disclosure I am a member of the ACT Party and was very briefly (in 2011) the Leader of ACT.

But what the ACT Party is arguing for is of foundational importance to New Zealand’s future. What is surprising is the reluctance of the other coalition partners to endorse ACT’s proposed Bill: historically, both the National Party and New Zealand First have had a commitment to equal citizenship.

In recent years, more and more people have been led to believe that the Treaty of Waitangi – or Te Tiriti o Waitangi if you prefer – created a partnership between two distinct groups of New Zealanders, with those who chance to have one or more Maori ancestors (now always with other ancestors as well) having an inherently superior constitutional status.

According to this view, those with some Maori ancestry have a superior right to be consulted about a whole range of policy issues, including what may be done with, or built on, land which has long been in private ownership.

According to this view, those with some Maori ancestry have a superior constitutional right to decide what may be done with water resources, which the rest of us have long regarded as being in community ownership.

According to this view, those with some Maori ancestry are entitled to separate political representation in Parliament and in local government.

David Seymour totally rejects this interpretation of the Treaty and argues that having a society where some citizens have rights which are inherently superior to those of other citizens is inconsistent with any reasonable definition of democracy. He argues that we have no future as a democracy if rights are dependent on who our ancestors were.

Moreover, he argues that the words of the Treaty actually support what he proposes that the Treaty Principles Bill will provide – that the government has the right to rule, that we all have rights to our own property, and that all citizens have equal rights.

Really? The government has the right to rule? That implies that the chiefs who signed Te Tiriti surrendered sovereignty to the Queen. Certainly. We know with a high degree of certainty what the English words given to the Rev Henry Williams to translate into te reo actually said, and they unambiguously envisaged Maori chiefs surrendering sovereignty to Queen Victoria.

The speeches made by the chiefs who read or heard the Treaty in te reo – speeches written down at the time by Colenso – show that they fully understood they were being asked to surrender sovereignty to the Queen, and some of them strongly objected (even though most of them eventually did sign the Treaty). Speeches made by the large number of chiefs who assembled at Kohimarama in 1860 clearly show that they accepted the Queen as sovereign.

For most of the years since that time great Maori leaders accepted that the Crown was sovereign, with the greatest of these being Sir Apirana Ngata.

And for all of the time since 1840, most Maori New Zealanders have behaved as if they accepted that the Crown was sovereign – they have been employed by the state as teachers, nurses, doctors, soldiers and sailors, they have paid taxes to the state, and received benefits from the state.

It’s interesting to speculate how things would evolve if the notion that Maori have inherently superior rights to the rest of us became entrenched. At the moment, the legal definition of a “Maori” is anybody with a Maori ancestor. That definition almost makes sense today, but in three or four generations? A friend of mine told me several years ago that he had 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 15 of whom were from England, 10 from Ireland, four from Scotland, two from Wales, and only one Maori. He is legally entitled to join the Maori electoral roll and presumably qualify for other government programmes reserved for “Maori”. That seems ridiculous, but it is only slightly more ridiculous than the present situation, where people who had far more ancestors who were not Maori than who were are entitled to government programmes reserved for Maori.

I have no idea of course what will happen to ACT’s Treaty Principles Bill when it comes before Parliament. But whatever happens to that particular piece of legislation, it is imperative that as a community we resolve whether we wish to be a democracy where all citizens have equal political rights or whether we want to descend further into the awful morass where rights depend on who our ancestors were.

SOURCE: BASSETT, BRASH & HIDE


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,


Stop the misinformation about the Treaty Principles Bill

Waitangi Day is fast approaching and tensions are expected at official events. Kiwis can hardly be blamed for the widespread confusion behind the tensions related to the Treaty Principles Bill, which incidentally hasn't even been written! 

Sign our open letter to the Coalition Government calling on them to stand their ground!

At this point, it can be credibly argued that there is a deliberate effort to spread false information about what the Government, the ACT Party, and David Seymour are proposing with the Bill.

No one is suggesting a referendum on the EXISTENCE of the Treaty of Waitangi, for example. Recent media stories have often seemed to suggest otherwise.

What the ACT Party is arguing for is of foundational importance to New Zealand’s future. It is important New Zealanders understand it.

In recent years, more and more people have been led to believe that the Treaty of Waitangi created a partnership between two distinct groups of New Zealanders, with those who chance to have one or more Maori ancestors having an inherently superior constitutional status. 

According to this view, those with some Maori ancestry have a superior right to be consulted about a whole range of policy issues, including those regarding land use, natural resources, and political representation.

David Seymour totally rejects this interpretation of the Treaty and argues that having a society where some citizens have rights which are inherently superior to those of other citizens is inconsistent with any reasonable definition of democracy. He argues that we have no future as a democracy if rights are dependent on who our ancestors were.

Moreover, he argues that the words of the Treaty actually support what he proposes that the Treaty Principles Bill will provide – that the government has the right to rule, that we all have rights to our own property, and that all citizens have equal rights.

I have no idea of course what will happen to ACT’s Treaty Principles Bill when it comes before Parliament.  But whatever happens to that particular piece of legislation, it is imperative that as a community we resolve whether we wish to be a democracy where all citizens have equal political rights or whether we want to descend further into the awful morass where rights depend on who our ancestors were.

Central to the opposition to this political equality is the relatively new assertion that Maori did not cede sovereignty to the Crown. This is not a credible position given the obvious practical sovereignty of the Crown in New Zealand since 1840. 

For most of the years since, great Maori leaders accepted that the Crown is sovereign, with the greatest of these being Sir Apirana Ngata.

And all New Zealanders have engaged with the sovereignty of the Crown – they have been employed by the state as teachers, nurses, doctors, soldiers and sailors, they have paid taxes to the state, and received benefits from the state.

Those of us who believe in the superiority of democracy and that equal rights are a cornerstone of such a system must hold the line. 

There will be uncomfortable conversations and tensions as we work through these matters, but if we give up on equality and democracy now, I fear we will never get them back.

No doubt this Waitangi Day we will hear all sorts of other false claims about what the Bill seeks to do. Please remember the Treaty Principles Bill simply seeks to create clarity and consensus on what the Treaty means. It seeks to halt the creative and expanding principles the judiciary have attributed to the Treaty.

We have more than 22,000 signatures on our open letter to the coalition asking them to hold line. Will you add your name if you haven't already done so?


Maori activists claim sovereignty at Kiingitangi hui

Things are heating up and it looks like we might just get the conversation about the Treaty that we have been asking for. But if you think that the activists with their extremist interpretations of the Treaty are going to play fair, think again.

We must step up and stand strong. There is no other option. Defending democracy and true equality under the law for all Kiwis is simply too important.

I'll be honest with you, after the huge push we did for the election, we had a long, hard look at what the future of Hobson's Pledge might look like. But seeing the viciousness of the opposition and frankly the disingenuousness of the media, we concluded we have no option but to keep going.

In fact, we need to kick up a gear. This is a pivotal moment in our nation's history and we either seize it or accept a future of separatism and disunity.

You will have seen how effective we can be throughout the election period, but that will all be for nothing if the separatists and their friends in the media can browbeat Christopher Luxon. He needs your support. Hobson's Pledge cannot do this alone. 

>>> Will you chip in to our Fight For Equality Fund to ensure that we can help the Government dismantle race-based policies and keep the pressure on the one-sided media? <<< 

Over the weekend the Māori king hosted an event that was dubbed the National Hui for Unity.

Before I go on, it is important to note that the Māori King is not recognised by all iwi and so his title is somewhat inaccurate. Large iwi like Tuhoe, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāpuhi have historically rejected the Kiingitanga movement. And of course most New Zealanders don’t recognise him as king at all.

Thousands of people attended the event, including Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka and fellow National MP Dan Bidois. Leader of the Opposition Chris Hipkins attended also.

However, New Zealand First gave the event a miss with Minister Shane Jones predicting it would be a "moan session".

The whole point of the meeting was an attempt to unify Māori activists in asserting that Māori never ceded sovereignty to the British Crown. This is a radical and dangerous rewriting of history. It is a far cry from what was said at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and what prominent thought leaders like Sir Apirana Ngata have written over the years.

Even before the gathering commenced media were engaging in a misinformation campaign that appears designed to whip up opposition to the government. TV One, our state broadcaster, described the proposed Treaty Principles Bill as a "rewrite" of the Treaty. This is a complete lie and has never been proposed.

Inflammatory statements calling the government and its leaders "white supremacists" were also blatant lies and designed to create more division. Unity was supposed to be the theme of the day but it was evident that the only unity hui leaders were interested in was between those organising against those New Zealanders seeking true political equality. A definite 'us versus them' dynamic was present.

We must reject this drive to split New Zealand even further by race and we cannot allow ahistorical rewrites of the Treaty to become entrenched. As we should have learned by now, when these things are embedded it is very difficult to undo them.

It is now or never.

We either fight for an equal and unified New Zealand now or watch this beautiful country continue to slide into a race-based caste system. Can we count on you to stand with us?

Don't be fooled by the Māori King Tuheitia's rhetoric about unity.

Remember that this is the man who said:

"We have always owned the water!... In the eyes of our people, Pakeha law was set up to minimise our mana and maximise their own."

These are not the words of a man who respects the law of the land. He has already won the battle for the Waikato River and would like to see all water under Māori ownership.

Can you see the precarious position New Zealand is in? We are on the precipice and it could go either way. Our Fight For Equality Fund will determine how aggressively we can fight racial separatism.

>>> Will you contribute so we can make more New Zealanders aware of what is going on and equip them with the means to speak up? <<<

I'm not someone who likes to overstate things so please hear me when I say that 2024 may be one of the most significant years in our history when it comes to democracy and who we are as a nation.

The past few decades of activism and constant chipping away at our democratic principles are culminating in a big, organised push for co-governance, separatism, and Māori ownership of natural resources.

Let me be clear, what we stand for is plain and simple: equality. Only then can New Zealand look forward to more prosperity for both Māori and non-Māori.

Do you share our belief that equality and democracy must be fought for and defended? With your support we can grow our Fight For Equality Fund and put up the fight of our lives for these precious values.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to ensure that the battle for our democracy is won.

The time is now.

Thank you for your support,


🎄 A Christmas message from the team 🎄

As the year draws to a close, we want to express our gratitude for your dedication and unwavering support of Hobson's Pledge.

Throughout this year, our collective efforts have significantly influenced and reshaped the future of governmental policies and legislation. Together, we've remained steadfast in our commitment to ensure equal rights for every individual, regardless of their ethnic background, and been staunch protectors of our democratic values.

Every petition signed, letter written, submission made, and generous donation has been instrumental in our success this year. From our short and sharp campaigns to halt anti-democratic agendas in local councils to our extended election strategy to change the Government and ensure the new one opposes co-governance, we were driven by people power.

The belief that we should all be equal before the law is held by many, many New Zealanders. It is a minority who are driving division, but unfortunately they have had disproportionate power. This year we significantly destabilised their agenda and in 2024 we cannot let up. 

 

On behalf of Hobson's Pledge I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. While there's more work ahead on our journey, we hope you have a restful and joyful summer break.

We will be taking this opportunity to recharge, as we prepare to continue the fight in the coming year.


My letter to Te Papa

Many New Zealanders were angry at the news of an attack on the display depicting the English version of the Treaty of Waitangi at Te Papa this week.

The disrespect shown by the vandals to our national museum and the Treaty is utterly unacceptable.

Since the incident, the media have already begun publishing calls for the English version to be removed from Te Papa entirely. This is an outrageous example of historical revisionism and imposing the politics of the present on a document signed in 1840.

So often we are seeing that bullying, aggression, and the 'thugs veto' are successful tactics for certain activists and radicals in New Zealand. They simply cannot be allowed to get their way in this instance.

I have written to CEO of Te Papa Courtney Johnston expressing this view on behalf of Hobson's Pledge. You can read the letter below.

Dear Courtney Johnston,

I write to you on behalf of Hobson’s Pledge and our supporters.

Hobson’s Pledge is named in reference to the words of Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson following each signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6th 1840: “He iwi tahi tatou” which translates to “we are [now] one people”. We believe that the best way forward for New Zealand is to return to the spirit of those words as we became a nation. It is a simple message of unity and equality.

First can I express our dismay at the recent vandalism to the enlarged display of the English version of the Treaty at Te Papa and at the disrespect shown to our national museum. Protest is a part of living in a democratic society, but the manner in which the vandals chose to express themselves was utterly unacceptable.

Secondly, and more substantively, I write to you to implore the executive team at Te Papa not to be swayed into devaluing the English version of the Treaty by the aggressive tactics of vandals. Calls for the removal of the English version entirely have been promoted in the media and by activists since the vandalism.

The fact that there are small discrepancies between the English version of the Treaty and the Māori version does not diminish the importance of either of the versions. Calls to remove the English version entirely are ahistorical, politically-motivated, and must be resisted.

You, of course, will be acutely aware of the risk of imposing the politics and perspectives of the present onto historical events. We must preserve as much as possible the history of the Treaty of Waitangi as it was in 1840. There is value in telling the stories of the evolution of interpretations and associated political tensions, but that is another matter.

The note accompanying Henry Williams’ translation demonstrates that there was an awareness of the difficulties of providing a literal translation at the time and this has never been in contention. However, both the Māori and English texts were ultimately sent to London as the official versions and to devalue and disrespect one of those versions is appallingly inaccurate.

Current tensions and heightened levels of activism cannot be justifications for historical revisionism. I urge you to resist these pressures and continue to display the Treaty as a reflection of its true history, warts and all.

Regards,

Don Brash

I will be in touch if there are any updates regarding this letter, but rest assured we will be keeping an eye on the situation.

We are in a period of elevated tensions as we navigate the new Government's vision for a more equal New Zealand. Some Māori activists are resisting the changes signalled by the coalition. Allowing a radical minority to decide that the English version of the Treaty no longer has any value and should effectively be deleted will not help tensions in the slightest.

More than ever we at Hobson's Pledge need to be a voice for the reasoned perspectives of the majority who want New Zealand to be a reflection of Hobson's words at Waitangi: "we are now one people".  


Will you sign our letter to Luxon, Peters, & Seymour?

It was sadly predictable. 

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote to you celebrating the strong commitment which the three parties which form our new Government have made to restore our democracy, where every citizen has the same rights before the law.

I particularly liked their commitment to scrap all vestiges of co-governance in public services – including their commitment to scrap Labour’s racist Three Waters proposal and the separate Maori Health Authority; their commitment to scrap references to ill-defined “Treaty principles” in legislation; and their commitment to remove an obligation to give special preference to tribal groups in resource management decisions.

The commitment to require all local authorities which have voted for Maori wards to seek a public mandate by means of a referendum was also very welcome, as was the commitment to give priority to the English names of government departments, given that English is the main language spoken by all those born in New Zealand. 

In short, they made a strong commitment to uphold the principles of liberal democracy, including equal citizenship and parliamentary sovereignty.

And all this from a Cabinet of 20, seven of whom, including the Deputy Prime Minister, are Maori.

But already we are seeing very strong push-back from those who claim, against all evidence to the contrary, that the Treaty of Waitangi was intended to mean that for the rest of time those with any trace of Maori ancestry should have a constitutional preference as compared with all other New Zealanders;that New Zealanders with any trace of Maori ancestry should be entitled to special consideration when it comes to controlling our water and other natural resources, should be entitled to foist on all our children a narrow and distorted view of our history, and should be entitled to preferential treatment when it comes to local body planning rules.

Today, we have seen that six of the people elected in the race-based Maori electorates – electorates which should have been scrapped in 1996, when MMP was first introduced, as the Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommended in 1986 and which the National Party has repeatedly promised to scrap – have changed the words in the oath of allegiance to the Crown. One Maori journalist has reported that they called King Charles a "scab" in their oath.

The same six, elected on the Maori Party platform, have succeeded in disrupting traffic and the lives of thousands of New Zealanders because they fundamentally reject the basic principles of democracy, and have said so.  They do not want a society where all of us have the same rights: they want to retain the preferences which successive governments have been willing to give them, none more so than the Labour Government of Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins.

Well, it’s crunch time. We either fight for a society where all citizens have the same legal rights or we surrender, and descend into a race-based society where those with a smidgeon of Maori ancestry have a legal preference over all the rest of us for the rest of time.  The Treaty of Waitangi provided that all New Zealanders would have the rights and duties of British subjects, an extraordinarily enlightened vision for 1840.  And frankly, if it had not provided that, we would long ago have had to abrogate the Treaty because there can be no basis for an harmonious future where rights depend on who our ancestors were.

So we have drafted a letter to the Leaders of the National, ACT and New Zealand First parties, congratulating them on what they have agreed to accomplish over the next three years and urging them to stand firm behind those commitments. It Is imperative that our leaders know that many hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders stand behind them, and support their commitment to restore a colour-blind democracy.

>>>If you agree, I urge you to sign the open letter HERE<<<

I will be writing to you in a couple of days with some other ways for you to get involved.


No place for race in freshwater policies

While it is an exciting time in central government politics, I need to direct your attention to another local government matter.

Auckland Council is developing its freshwater management plans and has put some documents out for consultation with the public. As I am sure you can imagine, we have identified some issues...

  • For a start, the Council states: “Freshwater is precious and limited, a taonga of huge significance, and of particular importance to Māori.”
  • They also mention that in addition to the public consultation, “There is a separate and ongoing programme of engagement with mana whenua in Auckland.” 

MAKE A SUBMISSION BY DECEMBER 4TH

The documents reveal a persistent presumption that Māori have a special relationship with water that is not shared by the rest of the community and that they have “stronger ambitions to improve our waterways”.

Water is the essence of ALL life, so everyone has an interest in healthy water. All Aucklanders should be equal stakeholders in how freshwater is managed in their city.

In the far-reaching consultation document, Auckland Council presents the idea that Māori are entitled to be involved to a much greater degree in the decision-making, monitoring and management, plus allocation, of Auckland’s freshwater.

They’re now asking for Aucklanders‘ input to this new policy, yet engagement with mana whenua has already been undertaken through a separate process.

Hobson’s Pledge doesn’t claim to be an expert on the scientific or regional issues covered by the Council’s proposals, but we do recognise the potential for frightening consequences from giving exclusive, unaccountable rights over water to one sector of the community.

We say people must not be divided by ancestral lines. Policies and rules must apply to us all equally.

What can you do?

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SUBMISSION

All questions are optional. You will first be asked to choose which sections you wish to give feedback on. Select as many as you like.

We suggest that if you want to submit on the racial aspects of the plan you should select ‘A. Long-term vision’ and ‘C. Waterbodies where special management is required’.

You can also provide feedback in the box labelled G. Other Feedback.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ADVICE FOR SUBMITTING

Please tell Auckland Council what you think by 4 December 2023.

 


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!

 


Another council is trying to ram through Maori wards

Yes, it's me again. I wish that I didn't need to contact you again so soon, but yet another urgent matter has arisen.

On Tuesday, Hutt City Council will vote on whether to establish a Maori ward. The so-called submission process they pretended to engage in only resulted in 25 responses from the public. This from a population of approximately 100,000.

It is evident that Hutt City Council did not want its residents to know this matter was being discussed. They did almost nothing to advertise the opportunity to engage with the process, and Councillors were ordered not to speak with the appointed Panel tasked with consulting with the public. That is simply not good enough. In fact it is downright cynical.

Lower Hutt is another example of the contempt that New Zealand's mayors and councillors have for the people they represent. Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Kapiti Coast District Council are just two other councils which have recently totally ignored the overwhelming opposition to Maori wards and voted them in.

Hutt City would rather not hear from those they represent at all.

Why are so many councils rushing to establish Maori wards now? There are two main reasons:

  1. Time is running out to make changes before the 2025 local elections. The cut off day for councils to resolve whether or not to have a Maori Ward in 2025 is 23 November 2023.
  2. A centre-right government will soon be formed and they recognise that some of the coalition members have promised to end Maori wards, or at very least restore the rights for citizens to demand a binding referendum on whether such wards should be established, a right cynically removed by the Labour Government. Councils know it is harder to unwind things that are already done.

Even worse is that Hutt City Council is attempting to misrepresent the degree to which democracy would be compromised if they establish a Maori ward. They have claimed there are around 12,000 people on the Maori roll. The true figure is about 6,000.

What does this mean?

Each of the wards in Hutt City has about 12,000 voters on the general roll. This means 12,000 people per councillor. A Maori ward would have twice the representation with only 6,000 people per councillor.

Of the twelve Hutt City councillors elected in 2022, four are Maori. In addition, there is an unelected Iwi Representative who already sits on a number of sub-committees and iwi generally already have special representation and voting rights on council sub-committees. The proposed new Maori ward would be additional to all of this.

I don't need to rehash all the reasons why representation based on race is terrible for our country. The reasons are consistent whether we are looking at Auckland Council or Hutt City Council. You know by now the dire situation this puts local democracy in.

What can we do?

We can make ourselves heard regardless. Below you will find the email addresses for the Hutt City councillors to copy and paste, and a suggested email to send them.

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

Suggested email:

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

I am writing to you to express my strong opposition to the establishment of a Maori Ward in Hutt City. 

I was very disappointed to learn that such poor public consultation was undertaken, resulting in just 25 submissions from the public. I am sure many more people would have submitted had they known the matter was being discussed.

It is important that you are all aware of the concerns that many New Zealanders hold about basing political representation on race. Even worse when that representation is providing more political influence for some than for others. We understand that most of the existing wards in Hutt City contain some 12,000 general voters on their electoral roll, whereas any Maori ward established would have only some 6,000 people. The power of the vote becomes dependent on the race of the person casting it.

Maori are already well represented around the council table and iwi already have special voting rights, together with an appointed iwi representative who sits on many council sub-committees.

When you vote on whether to establish a Maori ward on Tuesday, I urge you to oppose race-based political representation, particularly where the weight given to any Maori ward would be quite disproportionate to the number of Maori on the Maori roll.

Regards,

Do write your own email if you prefer. The important thing is that the message is heard by these councillors.

Hopefully it will be at least another few days before you hear from me again, but with the speed with which these issues are hitting my desk, it will probably be sooner rather than later.

Your voice matters. I wouldn't ask you to take action if it didn't.


Treaty Referendum hangs in the balance ⚖️

We need a referendum on the Treaty! If National won't do it, we will demand a Citizens Initiated Referendum.

It’s rumoured that one of the sticking points in reaching agreement between the three political parties which are trying to form a coalition Government is ACT’s call for a referendum on what the Treaty means.

Christopher Luxon has repeatedly made it clear that he is opposed to New Zealanders having a say on such an important constitutional matter.

But this is an insult to all New Zealanders who believe we should all be treated equally and have the right to be heard on fundamental constitutional matters.

Yesterday, we sent you an email asking that, even before the new Government sets about fixing the egregiously racist policies put in place by the last Government, it should fix the serious mistakes of the previous National-led Government, in particular the Marine and Coastal Area Act.

It is quite outrageous that the National Party Leader now wants to deny New Zealanders a say on whether we are going to be a country where all citizens are equal before the law, or whether, on the contrary, we are going to be forever divided based on who some of our ancestors were.

If it helps everybody save face, perhaps the referendum should not be about the Treaty per se.  Instead, let’s have a referendum on whether these principles are a fundamental part of our constitution:

  1. All citizens of New Zealand have the same political rights and duties.
  2. All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.
  3. New Zealand is a multi-ethnic liberal democracy where discrimination based on ethnicity is illegal.

For the avoidance of doubt, these principles prevail over any contradictory enactment by Parliament, or finding by the Courts.

We need a referendum to show the liberal elite that they are out of touch with the voters.  We need to deliver the kind of message that the Voice referendum in Australia delivered.

We need those who think they know better than us to show the courage of their convictions by making their arguments in a referendum campaign, not just lecture us in the media.

If National does not agree to a referendum, we will work with similar groups to demand a Citizens Initiated Referendum affirming that we are a country where all citizens have equal political rights.  New Zealanders deserve the chance to pass judgement on the divisive, expensive, and destructive path the political elite in both National and Labour have taken our country on. This will only occur through a referendum.

If you agree that this is of fundamental importance, I urge you to tell Christopher Luxon your view on the issue by heading to his Facebook Page now.

We are too short on time to launch a full correspondence campaign, but making ourselves heard on social media will have an impact. Simply commenting on Christopher's posts, urging him to get on board with the referendum will do the trick.

Let's keep our comments measured and polite. You catch more flies with honey!

Don't delay. Coalition talks are in their final stages. Click through to Christopher's Facebook page now!


The first mistake National must fix

While we all wait for our new Government to be formed, we are witnessing a huge mistake made by the previous National-led Government play out.

There are many awful things the last Government did which need to be fixed urgently but as a very high priority National must clean up its own past mistakes – starting with the foreshore and seabed legislation.

In 2011, the National-led Government passed the 2011 Marine and Coastal Area Act (MACA). Then Prime Minister John Key and Attorney General Chris Finlayson stated that the legislation would result in very few successful claims for our foreshore, seabed, and territorial waters, and that the concerns by many over the loose legislation were unfounded.

Predictably, the 2017 deadline for lodging claims under that Act resulted in opportunistic claims being lodged for New Zealand’s entire coastline.

Currently, 200 of these claims are cluttering up the High Court and another 385 are subject to behind-doors negotiation with Government. Sadly, the ongoing consequences are draining the time and coffers of self-funding counterclaimants, Councils, RMA applicants, and the taxpayers who are obliged to fund all Māori claimants. There are community disputes at several beaches around the country.

"Pākiri beach whānau impose rāhui on beach to protect kaimoana" - Te Ao News

In an extreme example of judicial activism, the Court of Appeal has just last month supported the rulings made by Justice Churchman in an earlier case related to this piece of legislation.

The Courts have deemed that the requirement for claimants to have ‘exclusively occupied’ an area has no connection to any dictionary definition nor even what was intended, and the highly variable concept of ‘tikanga’ is the overarching consideration in the hearing of claims. 

These interpretations of the law facilitate our coastline, beaches, estuaries, harbours, rivers, and territorial sea passing into the control of various groups which identify as Māori. This control extends to the airspace above, the water space, plus the subsoil, bedrock, and mineral wealth below.

The longterm impacts of this in terms of our country’s unity, economic development, business costs and efficiency, corruption levels, conservation efforts, citizens’ recreation, law and order, and race relations would be very serious.

We must help the new National-led Government reverse this destructive legislation.

What can we do?

For starters, take action by:

  1. Writing/emailing your National, ACT, and New Zealand First MPs, calling on them to stop the undermining of our country’s unity by restoring Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed.
  2. Signing this petition, which will be delivered to the incoming Government.
  3. Writing to the editors of newspapers, reaching out to journalists, and contacting media organisations.

If you have any other ideas for action, please get in touch. We are always open to hearing ideas.


We will not cower to threats. NZ's future is too important.

We've had an incredible few weeks here at Hobson's Pledge, and we couldn't be more appreciative of your support and dedication.

Our campaign to oppose unequal fishing rights in the Hauraki Gulf gained media attention. Read the article here.

And you may have already heard the news: the Auckland Council has voted against the introduction of Maori seats at the 2025 local body elections. Read more here

This crucial decision came about as a result of our collective efforts, as Hobson's Pledge supporters "bombarded" councillors with their opposition to the creation of Maori seats.

In fact, our Double Dip website featured on the 6 o'clock news and in a Newsroom article.

Without the commitment of supporters, like you, this divisive proposal could have easily passed, highlighting the power we possess when we stand up collectively against racist policies and legislation, whether it's in local or central government. 

One interesting voice in this debate was Tau Henare, Deputy Chair of the Independent Māori Statutory Board - an unelected co-governance position.

His threat, to punish Auckland Council by voting 'NO' on all committees he is on, is only possible because of the lack of accountability for iwi appointments. We cannot vote him out.

It's essential to note that the public, both individuals and organisations, overwhelmingly opposed the proposal to create Maori wards, with 68 percent of individuals and 54 percent of organisations voicing their disapproval.

But, Tau was just the first of several political threateners in the past few weeks! In fact, threats have been flying at New Zealanders and the new Government.

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer threatened that if there was any attempt to change the Marine and Coastal Areas Act there would be an"uprising of the hikoi of all hikois."

While Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said that "conversations on Te Tiriti are absolutely about causing social unrest."

And Labour Minister Willie Jackson said of ACT's proposed Treaty Referendum "if they try push that through, It'll be '81 Springbok Tour, civil unrest times five, times ten."

If this is a trend that continues, New Zealanders might struggle to find a piece of legislation that a politician hasn't threatened them about!

This kind of behaviour from elected representatives is appalling and Hobson's Pledge will not give in to such attempts to shut down discussion of important matters of New Zealand's future. And neither should the new Government be intimidated.

We will always advocate for democratic processes that enable Kiwis to be involved and have their say. Every Kiwi voice matters and politicians should welcome this. 

Your support and dedication have made a difference, and we will continue to stand up for what is right.


UPDATE: the Select Committee tried to dodge your submissions

It has come to our attention that the link we shared with you on Saturday was changed very quickly after we sent it to you.

We were very concerned that this would result in fewer submissions and reached out to the Select Committee to enquire why this had happened.

They said it was part of a planned outage on the site, but that doesn't explain why the link address was changed. 

>>> HERE IS THE NEW LINK <<<

A brief recap:

This is about the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill. 

It proposes that only Māori be allowed to fish, trawl, and gather seafood in the Gulf. 

SUBMISSIONS CLOSE IN JUST TWO DAYS, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TO VOICE OUR CONCERNS.  

Make a submission by 11.59pm on Wednesday November 1st.

We have drafted a template response below that you are welcome to use, or write your own:

  1. I support the proposed extensions of the two existing marine reserves: Cape Rodney – Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) near Leigh and the Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve on the Coromandel Peninsula – where all fishing, trawling and harvesting of seafood is banned for all people. 
  2. I oppose the proposed Seabed Protection Areas, which allow ‘customary rights’ to be exercised by tangata whenua, while banning all other New Zealanders or visitors. Instead, I would support these areas of seabed being protected from all people and visitors, no matter their identity or ancestral lines.
  3. I oppose the 12 proposed 'Highly Protected Areas’, which allow ‘customary rights’ to be exercised by tangata whenua, while banning all other New Zealanders or visitors. Instead, I would support these areas being made marine reserves, and thereby protected from all people and visitors, no matter their identity or ancestral lines.

Please make your submission by 11.59pm on Wednesday 1st November 2023. Click here to find the online form.


Race-based restrictions WONT protect the Hauraki Gulf

Do you want only Maori to be allowed to fish, trawl & gather seafood in the Gulf?

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill seeks to do just that.

Rust never sleeps, and it seems neither do those intent on creating a racially divided New Zealand. 

>> Submissions for this bill will close on November 1, and we are urging you to voice your concerns <<

The legislation progressing through Parliament aims to triple the area within the Hauraki Gulf for special protection.

Fishing, trawling and seafood harvesting in most of these areas will be restricted to those identifying as ‘tangata whenua’ (Maori people of a particular locality).

The Hauraki Gulf is a massive area of more than 1.2 million hectares. It serves a significant proportion of New Zealand’s population and includes more than 50 islands within the Gulf, including the Mokohinau, Little Barrier, Kawau, Waiheke, Noises and Great Barrier Islands. 

The opportunity to protest this racially based preference ends at midnight on Wednesday 1st November 2023. 

We are asking you to make a quick submission on the link below, simply cutting and pasting the following, or stating in your own words:

  1. I support the proposed extensions of the two existing marine reserves: Cape Rodney – Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) near Leigh and the Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve on the Coromandel Peninsula – where all fishing, trawling and harvesting of seafood is banned for all people.
  2. I oppose the proposed Seabed Protection Areas which allow ‘customary rights’ to be exercised by tangata whenua, while banning all other New Zealanders or visitors. Instead, I would support these areas of seabed being protected from all people and visitors, no matter their identity or ancestral lines.
  3. I oppose the 12 proposed 'Highly Protected Areas’, which allow ‘customary rights’ to be exercised by tangata whenua, while banning all other New Zealanders or visitors. Instead, I would support these areas being made marine reserves, and thereby protected from all people and visitors, no matter their identity or ancestral lines.

My Reasons:

  1. If the need to restore the Hauraki Gulf’s health is to be credible and the true purpose is to regenerate fish stocks and marine plants, then all of these areas should be no-take marine reserves. The restrictions on fishing, trawling and seafood harvesting must apply to all New Zealanders and visitors, no matter how they identify or who their ancestors might be.    
  2. While ‘customary rights’ are claimed as an entitlement by tangata whenua, it would be appropriate for them to lead by example for the benefit of future generations, instead of prohibiting takes by everyone but themselves.
  3. The policing of these areas and the race-based entitlements within them pose all sorts of logistical and societal problems which will only foster more division, resentment and hostility in our country.
  4. Finally, the growth in the numbers identifying as Maori is predicted to grow significantly. For this reason, partial race-based restrictions will not be sufficient to protect the health of the Hauraki Gulf.

Please make your submission by 11.59pm on Wednesday 1st November 2023. Click here to find the online form.

 


Vigilance in Local Government

As we await the final count of special votes for the Parliamentary election, our focus remains on local government.

Legislation relating to Three Waters and resource management reform has a significant impact on councils that are grappling with a myriad of obligations and duties including co-governance.

Councillors who recognise that differentiating rights based solely on race is unjust face criticism and even personal attacks for defending the principles of a fair and democratic process.

It is important that these councillors are supported, and that all councillorscontinue to be made aware that they are accountable to ALL ratepayers.

This is why, in our previous email, we urged you to contact councillors directly as they deliberate on the establishment of Maori Wards for Auckland Council at their upcoming meeting this Thursday, October 26th.

The meeting will convene at 10:00 am in the Reception Lounge of the Auckland Town Hall. If you are in the Auckland area, we encourage you to attend and stand in solidarity with those councillors who are opposing further race-based representation.

Council agenda available here

The 195-page report summarising the outcomes of the consultation process is an interesting read.

Council report on Maori Seats available here

68% of respondents expressed opposition to the introduction of Maori seats. The report also highlights specific consultations with Maori communities, showing 772 submissions in support and 609 in opposition.

The following text is excerpted from page 19 of the report:

"Of the 11,732 individual responses,68 per cent do not support introducing Maori seats for the 2025 local elections, 30 per cent did support it, and two per cent provided another response.

Of the 40 organisation responses, 53 per cent do not support introducing Maori seats, 45 per cent did support it, and three per cent provided another response.

Of the 15 Maori entity responses, 13 support introducing Maori seats, one does not support it, and one provided another response."

It is important to remain vigilant in matters concerning local government.

Last week, we became aware of an initiative by Waikato Regional Council to establish a joint Iwi and Council representative body that would operate similarly to the proposed Three Waters "entity" structure.

The initial proposal was "to enable the Waikato to speak with one voice and articulate the preferred position of the Waikato representatives (council and iwi)."

The likely repeal of Three Waters legislation after the recent general election would remove the co-governance structure, but it appears that there are individuals who wish to continue pursuing similar arrangements directly through local councils.

Hobson’s Pledge will continue to monitor these types of proposals and recommendations from Councils and encourage you to engage with your local council and be vigilant in the protection of our democracy.

Thank you for continuing to engage in the protection of our democracy and equality before the law.

 


More erosion of democracy in local government

Auckland Council will be making a decision next week about whether or not to establish Maori Wards for the 2025 local body elections. 

Can you take the time to tell Councillors that we do not want more division?

I asked you recently to make submissions to Auckland Council regarding the establishment of Maori Wards. Despite a strong response opposing this race-based representation, Auckland Council is still going ahead and will be voting on the matter shortly. Unfortunately, there are some staunch supporters of Maori Wards on the Council.

Surprisingly, this seems to be a difficult subject for Councillors to take a stand on and we want to remind them that it is not racist to defend democracy.

We have written up a template letter to help you easily e-mail Auckland Councillors to ask them to oppose Maori Wards. You can find it here.

Auckland Council has some big challenges ahead, but prioritising race-based representation on their to-do list does a disservice to Aucklanders and to our democracy.

I am asking you to take a moment to send a message that will support those councillors who are opposing division by race and remind those who are undecided what you expect of them as representatives of ALL Aucklanders.

Your voice does make a difference. Please take a moment to keep our elected representatives focused on what is needed to improve outcomes for us all.


What should National prioritise in order to end division?

From the moment the first numbers came in on Saturday evening, those of us hoping for a change of Government could take a deep breath. New Zealand had voted for change. 

Over the coming days, there will be much hype and analysis over how the next Government will be formed and who will hold key positions.

Regardless of how it plays out, we know that a majority of New Zealanders voted for parties that have committed to undoing the race-based division that has been forced upon New Zealanders over the past six years.

BUT, our work is not over. Far from it.

Over the next few weeks, we will work through the policy commitments made and make sure that we are ready to keep the pressure on National, Act, and New Zealand First, so that these commitments are realised.

We cannot be complacent. National Governments have historically had a tendency to pick up where Labour left off rather than reset according to the mandate they have from voters. 

Now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal.

As this new Government is formed and coalition talks progress, National must prioritise:

  1. Delivery of health services on the basis of need, not race.
  2. Dismantling of the Maori Health Authority.
  3. Removing of co-governance.
  4. Protecting the name of our country: New Zealand.
  5. Rewriting the ahistorical history curriculum for schools.
  6. Returning to use of English in public service, road signage etc.
  7. Resolving the increasing conflict around the role of tikanga in law.
  8. Re-establishing the right of ratepayers to decide whether to have Maori wards

I know that there needs to be a pause while the incoming Government sets the wheels in motion, but we shouldn't allow ourselves to get distracted or complacent.

With your support, Hobson's Pledge can play an important role in holding this new Government to the promises it has made.


Did you see our final election newspaper ad?

Tomorrow evening, we will be counting votes to find out if we have succeeded in voting out Labour.

Hobson's Pledge, with your support, has campaigned for equality and unity. We have advocated for democracy and against race-based law-making.

This week, we placed this full-page advert in newspapers across the country. 

Your vote can ensure that this Labour Government receives a clear message that their agenda of division is not acceptable to New Zealanders.

I know that a change of government is not the endgame.

There will be much to be done to hold the political parties and politicians accountable for the promises they have made.

But for now, just make sure that you and your friends and family vote.

Finally, thank you for your support in this fight for democracy. We have done all we can to make our voices heard; it would not have been possible without you and your willingness to engage in this important issue.

Bring on the 54th New Zealand Parliament.


Do you belong in NZ?" What Kiwis told us.

A few weeks ago, we told you that Hobson’s Pledge had been supporting a social media campaign to connect to more New Zealanders and talk about race relations.

Through this campaign, we found that race-based division is effecting many Kiwis from all walks of life. Here are some examples of what they have been saying:

   

What is clear is that race-based division is impacting the lives of Kiwis whatever our ancestry or our race.

These comments, and the many others we read, are confronting and demonstrate how far racism has been allowed to infiltrate our day-to-day lives under false interpretation of the obligations from the Treaty of Waitangi.

This election your vote can send a clear message that New Zealanders do not want to be differentiated in our legal or democratic rights based upon when we or our ancestors came into this country.

Firstly, the most important thing is that you VOTE. Vote now, vote any time between now and Saturday evening, just make sure you VOTE. This election is far from “in the bag” and every vote will count.

Secondly, vote for the parties that have committed to stopping race-based division.

With your vote we can bring about a correction shifting away from the agenda of co-governance that is delivering unelected, unaccountable appointments that undermine the democratic authority of our elected representatives.

Finally, make your vote count by voting for parties that will, on latest polling results, pass the threshold of 5%, or pick up an electorate seat, and therefore make it into Parliament.


Why is it all about race…….

As we reach the final week of political campaigning and media posturing, it is a good time to reflect.

When Hobson’s Pledge was launched to defend equality before the law and to protect our democracy, we faced skepticism and dismissal from both the media and politicians of the day.

Seven years on, there is not a single public meeting, media interview, or political debate that does not include a question about race and division.

We think the facts are clear: without Hobson's Pledge's lobbying, campaigning, and petitioning, the whole issue of race and co-governance would have been largely swept under the carpet.

Over the last few weeks, we have published full-page adverts, billboards, and even circulated bumper stickers in defence of equality and unity.

  

Even a year ago, such publications and images would have sent the media and some members of the public into a frenzy with accusations of racism.

The fact that, rather than attacking the messenger, we are able to debate issues is a victory for democracy, and I thank you all for your continued support that has made this possible.

Professor Elizabeth Rata highlighted the need for rational communication in her recent article:

Elizabeth Rata: Two Treaties of Waitangi: The Articles Treaty and the Principles Treaty – Democracy Project

Her words highlight the importance of engaging in the discussions this election, asking the difficult questions, and ensuring your voice is heard:

“Democracy is not just arriving at a decision. It is the act of rational communication that enables the decision to be made.”

We have seen recurring instances of accusations of racism and the use of victim narratives to silence sensible discussion.

Professor Rata’s observations are very poignant: “Let us insist on democracy’s rational communication in all its complexity and disturbing power so that we know what we mean when we speak and we can justify the meaning in explicit argumentative logic. Let us insist that our parliamentary representatives do the same."

Just this week, the co-leader of the Maori Party expressed his disdain for democracy when he stated, “I am not a fan of democracy because democracy is the tyranny of the majority.”

This election offers us an opportunity to ensure that our government truly represents ALL New Zealanders and holds those elected accountable for delivering outcomes that do not divide us based on who our ancestors were.

Co-governance is an attack on our democracy.

And, according to the latest polls, the parties likely to enter Parliament after October 14 have all taken positions on co-governance.

Click here to find out where the parties stand

Your vote is crucial in this election. It's your chance to send a clear message that we want better governance, not co-governance.

Authorised by: Hobson’s Pledge, Suite 311, 184 Symonds Street, Auckland 1010



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