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.” 


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?


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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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

Who really benefits?

On Tuesday night, TV1 News hosted the Kaupapa Maori debate, bringing together Maori representatives from Labour, ACT, Te Pati Maori, National, Greens, and NZ First. 

Watch Here: TVNZ Kaupapa Māori Debate

The most striking point of the debate was the difference of opinionevidenced by those jostling for political relevance. These diverse opinions from Maori representatives demonstrate the importance of democratic protection for every individual in New Zealand.

If we believe activists that co-governance of New Zealand would provide a single cohesive voice for Maori, how come Willie Jackson, John Tamihere, Karen Chhour, Marama Davidson, and Tama Potaka couldn't all agree on a single issue raised at the debate?

This debate should leave no doubt that the pathway to decision-making under the co-governance strategy would be fraught with costly delays and conflicts.

It is only through the ballot box that everybody’s voice can be heard.

Hobson’s Pledge has spent the last seven years advocating for the recognition that New Zealand must safeguard the democratic voice of each and every New Zealander, regardless of their ancestry. 

Silence is deafening for Maori seats in Auckland

Auckland Council’s call for submissions on the establishment of Maori wards also demonstrates that efforts to differentiate representation based on race hold more importance for bureaucrats than for ratepayers. 

NZ Herald: Auckland Council: Majority give ‘thumbs-down’ to Māori wards as council submissions close

With only 10,000 submissions from a council responsible for a third of the population of New Zealand, the vast majority oppose race-based representation. It appears that not even Maori have engaged in this process. Perhaps they recognise that the nearly invisible Independent Maori Statutory Board delivers more cost than benefit, making more race-based representation an unnecessary burden. 

Confusion on the Maori Roll

As the voting papers are being distributed, it has been brought to our attention that those who were encouraged through a determined advertising campaign to register on the Maori roll are now aware of the impact.

Although 5,371 voters moved onto the Maori roll, 4,674 moved onto the general roll. As voting papers arrived we have received feedback it is a surprise for some that being on the Maori roll means they are not able to vote in their local electorate.

It has also been noted that for Maori roll voters there is an average of 3.8 candidates per seat but in the general roll there is 7.2 candidates per seat.

The shifting between rolls and the varied political opinions from Maori voters demonstrates that democratic rights are an individual right. This would appear at odds with the Maori Party’s 2021 Policy that would commit ALL Maori to the Maori roll. 

Newsroom: I don’t want Te Pāti Māori choosing my electoral roll

Notable in this article is that Hobson’s Pledge's call for equality before the law and the protection of our democracy is supported:

“Māori do – and should – have the right to be represented by whomever they wish to be represented by. Some 4,674 voters made a conscious choice to move from the Māori roll to the general roll: is it fair to make their choice invalid?”

Protecting the rights of ALL, regardless of when we or our ancestors arrived in this country, demands that we make it clear that any candidate seeking your vote should know your bottom line. Tell them at: www.bottomline.co.nz 

PS If you missed out on bumper stickers last time, we have done a second run! We'll send you a set of 4 in exchange for a donation. Click here to order.


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

An important reminder

This week's TVNZ Leaders Debate placed co-governance at the forefront of election discussions, showing the critical importance of party leaders being required to answer tough questions about the democratic future of New Zealand.

Christopher Luxon's answers were far better than Chris Hipkins. However, they weren't without significant problems. Luxon's support for co-governance of local natural resources is something that Hobson's Pledge will continue to oppose. 

Although we would prefer to be focusing solely on the general election, we do unfortunately, have to bring your attention to the circus that continues at a local level.

Roughly three weeks ago, you received an email from us about the Auckland Council's consultation process for Māori seats.

The Council has been less than transparent in its efforts to solicit feedback on the establishment of Maori Wards.

Democracy Action's Lee Short explains the issue in more detail.

Remember that submissions for this crucial matter close on September 24, 2023. This weekend, if you can spare a minute, please make your voice heard by participating in the consultation.


It's important to recall that over a decade ago, when the Super City was established in Auckland, an assurance was made that a there would be a review of the mega council's structure. Although no such review has taken place, they have found the time and energy to consider race-based representation.

Auckland is not the only council rushing through consultation. Kapiti Council are also pushing ahead with an equally tight timeframe. They are seeking to make a decision at their Council meeting on November 14. If Kapiti Coast is your council, we encourage you to make a submission.


So this week, your action to focus on is to make a submission to Auckland or Kapiti council. 

There is still much you can do to fight for our democracy and ensure that the important issues are not lost amidst all the noise. If you want to know how you can take action, go to: https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/take_action

Don't forget that early voting for the general election starts on October 2, 2023.

P.S. Check out today's Herald...New Zealanders want OUTCOMES, not DIVISION.

P.P.S If you missed out on bumper stickers last time, we have done a second run! We'll send you a set of 4 in exchange for a donation. Click here to order.

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

New co-governance poll shows we need to keep pushing

In just over two weeks, advanced voting begins and, despite the efforts of media and many politicians, it is becoming clear that co-governance isn't something Kiwis are willing to blindly accept.

Yesterday, The Post (formerly The Dominion Post) reported on polling by Freshwater Strategy that shows that, with your support, Hobson's Pledge is helping to shift the dial.

For the past year, the most political parties have tried to dance around the issue, dismissing those who have had questions on or objections to co-governance. It has made it very hard to instigate sorely needed debate and research we commissioned at the end of last year showed most New Zealanders were confused about what co-governance actually is!

In fact, we discovered that some candidates have blocked e-mails coming from our candidate contact tool www.bottomline.co.nz.

This blatant refusal to even hear the concerns of voters, at the same time as they are asking for our votes, is an insult to our intelligence and to the spirit of democracy. Here's hoping they reconsider.

Last week, I urged you to ask questions and attend candidate meetings.

Don't stop now! Meet-the-candidate debates and catch-ups are continuing across the country. By showing up, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same, you can make sure that every electorate candidate knows opposition to co-governance will win votes this election.

Find tips and tricks on our website.

This week, we are focusing on taking action through a simple text!

Stand against co-governance by sending a message to your friends and family urging them to vote for parties that oppose co-governance. Feel free to copy and paste our examples, we've drafted a couple below:

“Hi there! I'm just contacting you because I'm really concerned about the direction New Zealand is going in. A crucial issue I believe we need to address is co-governance. It is fundamental to our democracy that every Kiwi has equal rights under the law. Co-governance divides us and creates separate systems, rights, and access to services dependent on race. We must make it clear to political parties and local candidates that we will not vote for division. If you're willing to speak up about this and send a message to your candidates, head to www.bottomline.co.nz. Let's protect our country's future for all New Zealanders."  

Or for friends you know are already opposed to co-governance:

"Hi there! I know you've been worried about co-governance. Check out www.bottomline.co.nz and send a message to your electorate candidates that your vote will only go to those who oppose divisive co-governance."

Keep an eye out for Hobson's Pledge action:

Starting on 20 September, thanks to your generosity we have full page adverts in regional papers and the NZ Herald calling for an end to co-governance because New Zealanders are better together. These ads are similar to the billboards we have up all over the country already.

We are also working hard online to ensure that our messages are getting out to New Zealanders. If you use Facebook or Instagram you'll likely see our ads pop up. Plus we have found that sometimes people aren't aware of the most outrageous things being said by co-governance proponents so we are running video ads on the Google Ad Network and YouTube. Here are two examples we currently have in circulation: Rawiri Waititi | John Tamihere

It is fair to say we are throwing the kitchen sink at this election. You can help by simply sharing any of our content or ads that you come across. Take photos of billboards and newspaper adverts, share posts on Facebook, send links to videos. However you can, just get the message out there.

The more people know that it is okay to discuss our democratic rights, the sooner we can have the vital conversations needed to secure equal democratic rights. 

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

Don't miss the Free Speech union democracy debate

Our work campaigning to protect democracy and advance equality before the law is impossible without the ability to speak freely about important, and often contentious, issues.

You may have heard of the Free Speech Union. We recently directed you to their submission tool to have your say on proposals to regulate speech on social media and traditional media platforms.

The Free Speech Union recognises that for New Zealand to flourish as a civil society we must protect the right to express opinions freely. They do not take a position on the substance of what is being said, rather they stand up for our right to say it. 

When so many are invested in preventing discussions about co-governance and matters involving the Treaty, Hobson's Pledge are constantly coming up against attempts to censor or shut us down. We know first hand the importance of this vital human right.

Seeking to foster open debate in the months leading up to the election, the FSU have been holding events around the country to discuss and argue some of the most highly political topics of our time. 

Two debates have been held so far tackling propositions:  

 "be it resolved, Governments should lead the fight to reach Net Zero."


"be it resolved, our tax system is unfair and the wealthy must pay more." 

I want to draw your attention to the next debate which is to be held this Wednesday 13th September at 7pm in The Atrium, Hamilton. 

The proposition being debated is right in our wheelhouse:

"be it resolved, ‘one person, one vote’ silences indigenous voices and must go."

The affirmative will be argued by Buddy Mikaere and former Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

The negative will be argued by - someone very familiar to Hobson's Pledge supporters - our former spokesperson, Casey Costello! She will be joined by politician Shane Jones.

Tickets are free, but you must register to ensure you get a seat.

>>> Click here to reserve your ticket <<<

If you are unable to be in Hamilton on Wednesday, you can access the Free Speech Union livestream to watch from wherever you are. 

2023 Free Speech Union Debate Livestream: One person, one vote

We don't get the chance to see the cases for and against co-governance debated so I thought it was important to make you aware of the event in case it was of interest.

All the best to the debaters.

I'll be in touch later in the week with some more tips for taking action this election.

P.S. The debate series concludes in Auckland on 26 September 2023 with the proposition:

“be it resolved, #nodebate: some discussions will only cause harm”.

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

Under a month until voting starts - take action

Undoubtedly, your inbox is overflowing with emails and directives regarding voting and election promises.

But rather than talking about what candidates will do for you, I want to talk about what you can do! This email outlines something you can do to make sure this election delivers an accountable Government that has no wriggle room when it comes to our democracy.  


As you know, Hobson’s Pledge believes that the critical issue affecting New Zealand's future is the steady implementation, by this Labour Government, of systems that undermine our democracy.

To push back, we urge you to attend as many candidate meetings as you can and ask direct questions.

Action 1: Ask Questions at Candidate Meetings

Remember, as tempting as it is to give your own opinions, it is best to keep questions short and to the point. You want to gather information to determine the candidates' position.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What are your views on co-governance?
  • How do you plan to address the impact of co-governance on our society if elected?
  • Do you believe in one person one vote?
  • What specific measures will you take to protect and strengthen democratic values?
  • What specific policies or initiatives do you propose to ensure that access to public services and opportunities is based on fairness and need rather than race or ethnicity?

Take action: Election 2023

You will get a lot of double-speak in response from those who are wanting to see our democracy traded off in order to appear to be honouring a misinterpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi. We need more than virtue signalling this election!

The double-speak was clearly evident in an email sent out a few days ago by Labour’s Duncan Webb in which he attempted to defend co-governance by putting to rest “a few myths and fears”.

I was compelled to challenge the content of that email as, quite frankly, it was a pathetic attempt to justify co-governance.


Those who argue for the erosion of our democracy under the guise of co-governance like to frame its opponents as fearful or racist. None of us have a concern about Maori having elected authority and in fact we proudly celebrate the inclusivity of our Parliament.

But we have no future as a country if we start preferring people based on who their ancestors were.  We need the very best people who are authorised through elections and can be voted out for failing to deliver what is promised.

So please, make sure your candidates know what voters want!

Ask the questions, attend the meetings, tell your candidate at: ­www.bottomline.nz­

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

We upset RNZ – by campaigning for belonging

I have written to you in recent weeks to talk about the actions that Hobson’s Pledge are taking to push back against division and change the race-based narrative as we head to the ballot box in a few weeks.

As part of that work, Hobson’s Pledge commenced a significant campaign to broaden our reach to New Zealanders who are concerned about the direction of the country, but reluctant to enter into any discussion about race.

 In short, we recognise that repeating our messages to people who are already in agreement with us is not going to shift the dial of public understanding of co-governance and its implications. 

We needed a plan to reach beyond to those who either aren't particularly political or who don't naturally share our politics. To do this we have to focus on our shared values, but communicate to them in a way that those we seek to reach relate to.

Thanks to the generous donations of Hobson's Pledge supporters like you, we were able to undertake thorough research into New Zealanders' understanding and perceptions of co-governance. This research told us that most New Zealanders value unity and our inclusive multi-cultural traditionsand had real concerns that we were being divided into a bi-cultural nation.

Taking on board the findings of the research, we launched a campaign website and Facebook and Instagram accounts.

This was the foundation of an online strategy to celebrate unity, belonging, and equality before the law.

Here are some of the messages we promoted:

We are proud to say that Hobson’s Pledge has been able to broaden the discussion and reach new audiences, particularly other minority ethnicities in New Zealand.

However, as the messaging began to touch on political commentary we made sure to meet our legal obligations by inserting the required authorisation statement.

Naturally some sharp-eyed journalists noticed and this generated media concern, particularly from Radio New Zealand. They were very suspicious of our messages of unity, which shows just how little they know about what we stand for.

For seven years, Hobson’s Pledge has consistently and repeatedly opposed racism and separatism. Our position has always been one of equality where every New Zealander is afforded the same rights and responsibilities. 

It is hard to understand why messages promoting inclusion and unity are so upsetting to the media, but we thought it best to address the matter. You can read the media release we have just sent out below. 

MEDIA RELEASE: Hobson's Pledge & belonging to Aotearoa


30 AUGUST 2023

Hobson’s Pledge has been operating a social media campaign arguing for a sense of belonging and inclusivity for ALL New Zealanders.  

We Belong Aotearoa has been operating on social media asking New Zealanders to think about what makes this country a great place to live and what values are important.

This work has been funded by Hobson’s Pledge, which has, since 2016, been advocating for equality before the law.

“Having completed independent market research, it was recognised that there were many New Zealanders who had begun to feel isolated and disconnected by the growing division,” explains Don Brash.

“Our research showed us that what was important to New Zealanders was that we are an inclusive, multicultural nation but that the Government’s promotion of co-governance and rights differentiated by race was undermining this.”

Hobson’s Pledge undertook a strategy to reach a different demographic that research showed had real concerns but no platform to connect with others who felt the same.

The campaign has been highly successful, allowing a broad group of New Zealanders to talk about inclusivity, belonging and even democracy as election campaigning started.

“As the messaging for We Belong Aotearoa started to touch on issues of democracy and topics that may be considered relevant for the election, the marketing was, as required by law, identified as being authorised by Hobson’s Pledge”.

The name We Belong Aotearoa was selected out of respect for a name often used to describe New Zealand. Although Hobson’s Pledge has campaigned strongly against the renaming of this country, that was not as a result of any objection to the name Aotearoa in itself but rather because of a strong objection to the renaming of our country without the slightest attempt to consult with the citizens of New Zealand about such an important issue.

“Just as most New Zealanders have no objection to being referred to as “Kiwis”, any move to officially have our citizenship renamed would rightly be put to the people for approval, as John Key did with the suggestion that we adopt a new flag. The same should apply to the renaming of our country.”

The marketing campaign received some interest regarding who was behind the initiative, which generated positive discussion and engagement about unity and belonging.  

“Hobson’s Pledge recognised that much of the debate that was taking place had neglected the many cultures and ethnicities that make up who we are as a nation. Our objective was to open up discussion to a value proposition that allowed people to think beyond politics. We are really proud of the platform and the ability to get more New Zealanders thinking about what kind of country we want to be.”

We Belong Aotearoa will continue to promote messages of inclusion, and encourage all New Zealanders to focus on unity as we move towards the election.

We remain committed to engaging in inclusive and sensible discussion on how we can hold onto the fundamentals of a single standard of citizenship. These discussions can be hand in many different ways, but ultimately it comes down to our shared values.

P.S. Don't forget to keep the pressure on candidates for the general election! Remind them that democracy is essential if we are to remain an inclusive, multi-cultural, liberal democracy.

Tell your candidate at: ­­­­­­­­­www.bottomline.co.nz

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

Race based representation – Auckland Council is trying to pull a swift one

This is important to all New Zealanders, but especially to those who live in the Auckland Council area.

At a time when everyone is extremely busy with the stresses of life and the upcoming general election, Auckland Council has taken a page from Labour’s playbook and is pretending to do a  “consultation” on a matter which strikes to the very heart of our democracy.

And although this mainly impacts only our Auckland-based supporters, it is something we all need to pay attention to because the decisions made by Auckland will inevitably set the precedent for other local authorities.

The issue at hand is Auckland Council's consultation on “Deciding whether to introduce Maori seats for 2025,” and the devil is in the detail.

Appallingly, the Council has a consultation timeline that opened just a few days ago and closes on 24 September, with a decision to be made in October. It is difficult to see why they thought the middle of a general election campaign was the best time to conduct this important consultation process. Was there some kind of rush? It is hard not to be suspicious of the timing.

When considering the matter of Maori seats, it's important to remember that Auckland Council already has specific Maori participation through the Independent Maori Statutory Board (IMSB).

In the complex Maori Seats consultation document, the information about the IMSB is misleading, particularly regarding the level of authority and influence the IMSB already has on the decision-making processes of the Council. It also avoids any clear statement explaining that the establishment of Maori Wards would be in addition to the IMSB.

This lack of clarity is compounded by the consultation response form making no mention of the IMSB at all, as if it isn't central to the discussion at hand.

You may recall that last year Hobson’s Pledge campaigned against the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Act. This legislation established permanent, unelected representation on that Council for the Ngai Tahu iwi. We expressed significant concern that a precedent for unelected representation on councils, with full voting rights, would be created.

Sure enough, Auckland Council’s consultation document references this kind of arrangement as one of the options for 'ensuring mana whenua representation'.

Also last year, we challenged the standing order guidelines issued by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) as they wrongly claimed that all councils had Treaty obligations. We confirmed through independent legal opinion that councils are not Crown entities and therefore are not Treaty partners, so no such obligations actually exist.

Despite this, Auckland Council’s consultative material infers that they have accepted LGNZ’s advice on the Treaty, and that there is an obligation for them to create separate Maori representation.

According to the Council's own advice, Maori make up just 11% of Auckland’s population and, of that, 80% of those Maori are associated to iwi outside of Auckland, in other words are not 'mana whenua'. This makes it very hard to argue that a separate representation model is needed to give 'mana whenua' a voice when it is likely not going to be 'mana whenua' that will be appointed or elected.

This whole consultation process should be alarming to ALL New Zealanders. It further entrenches race-based representation, and the groundwork was laid for this in advance.

Subsequent to the production of the He Puapua report, the then Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta, changed the law to prevent citizens being able to challenge changes to council representation via a referendum. Strange thing to spend time legislating against.

Coincidentally, Auckland Council has specifically referred to the previous ability to go to referenda as being one of the reasons they had not previously pursued the establishment of Maori wards. They clearly know that this racial division is abhorrent to most Aucklanders and would be strongly opposed.

Now that this mechanism to protect democracy has been removed, Auckland Council has quickly pursued changes having already held meetings with Maori prior to any broader consultation with the voting public.

I realise this is a complex issue and may not be seen as something that impacts you directly, but the erosion of local government accountability through changes to democratic process has sadly become a reality. This is the death of democracy by a thousand cuts.

If you are in Auckland please have your say - click here!

It is also possible to submit in person on 14 September 2023 and you can register for this by emailing [email protected]

P.S. Don't forget to keep the pressure on candidates for the general election! Remind them that democracy is essential if we are to remain an inclusive, multi-cultural, liberal democracy.

Tell your candidate at: ­­­­­­­­­www.bottomline.nz

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

Democracy is our bottom line

Just a quick note!

Over the weekend, Don asked you to take a positive action and tell your electorate candidates what your bottom line is this election.

Head to www.BottomLine.co.nz to check it out. 

Well, didn't you all create quite a stir!

So much of a stir that those candidates who do not actually like hearing from their constituents decided to mark your e-mails as spam.

It seems, for some, hearing from large numbers of potential voters was just too much to handle.

The impact of their action caused our tool to be put under review, and our activity suspended for 24 hours. This meant some of you may have received unusual error messages.

Please don’t be disheartened, we are back up and running again. If you used the tool during the suspension period, we were still able to collect your data, and we will send it separately.

Head to www.BottomLine.co.nz to check it out. 

While some candidates were quick to complain, others actually made enquiries as to why they stopped receiving e-mails. These candidates actually welcomed the opportunity to tell voters why they value democracy and express their concerns about co-governance.

Let’s continue to ensure that those who are asking for your vote know what is important for New Zealanders this election. Without an accountable democracy, all other promises are empty and hollow.

Don’t let the few candidates that don’t support democracy silence your voice. Tell them now at www.BottomLine.co.nz. Then send the link around to friends and family so they can do it too. 

PS – Just a quick tip, feel free to edit the e-mail template to your own words, let your candidates know what will influence your vote.

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

Now is the time to take action

I cannot stress enough how crucial these next few weeks will be. Our democracy is on shaky ground and we have a limited amount of time to make other New Zealanders aware and put pressure on politicians.

With this in mind, the team at Hobson's Pledge have been working on a plan to help you help us to shift the dial. We have a list of actions that aren't time consuming, expensive, or difficult and we will be sharing them with you each week and encouraging you to complete them.

First up is our most substantial action. We have created an online tool that allows you to locate your electorate and then send a message to all of the candidates for that electorate seat.

Head to BottomLine.co.nz to check it out. 

We provide a template letter on the site, but encourage you to put your own spin on it. Candidates will likely ignore too much repetition, so putting your feelings in your own words will be much more effective.

The website also outlines each party's position on co-governance and while these policies may seem set in stone, never underestimate the pressure that we all can generate through our electorate candidates. 

Politicians (and aspiring politicians) must know that protecting democracy and equality before the law are our bottom line. We will NOT vote for a candidate or party if they are pro-co-governance. 

Don't delay. Head to www.BottomLine.co.nz now and have your say. Then send the link around to friends and family so they can do it too. 

I'll be back next week with another action.  

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

Iwi leader threatens legal action "we have never lost"

It is sometimes difficult to write to you detailing the issues that threaten the future of our wonderful country, but as we approach this election, it is important that we do not forget what is at stake.

And nothing demonstrates this more than the opinion piece published by Tukoroirangi Morgan published in yesterday’s Herald. 

Read Tukoroirangi Morgan's opinions here

His statements make it clear that water reform is a bottom line for him, and he will drive this agenda without compromise. This will include taking the issue to the courts if the democratic process goes against his desires.

This not-so-veiled threat, that taxpayers will be forced to bear the burden of defending litigation, demonstrates that no matter what the democratic process decides, this will be challenged in the courts if the majority comes to a conclusion unacceptable to Tuku Morgan.

It should be noted that although Morgan was appointed to be the chair of Entity A, this was before the Three Waters structure changed from four entities to ten. Although he is prominent in the Waikato, he seems to have self-appointed himself as the chair for the new Entity A that does not include the Waikato area at all.

New Zealanders have been distracted by a legislative agenda and policy reform that has inundated us with the need to make submission after submission on undemocratic bills. This has made it hard to keep track of all that Labour is doing leading up to the election.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs' Three Waters program, three further pieces of legislation need to be passed into law before Parliament rises for the election. It is claimed that this will be completed by August 31, 2023, with nine more sitting days.

Don’t forget that this legislation received over 80,000 submissions opposing the Waters Services Entities Act.

Labour intends to implement a poorly developed, unworkably complex water management system through rushed legislation that is founded on co-governance. And, according to Tuku Morgan, if this does not happen, he will be off to court.

At the same time, many New Zealanders are also struggling to defend their property rights against classification, without consultation, as “Sites and Areas of Significance to Maori”. 

Find out more here

The next few weeks will be essential in ensuring that no one forgets what is at stake in this election.

We are a proud, inclusive, multicultural nation – don’t let co-governance rob us of our identity.