Death knell for democracy with racist Rotorua representation Bill

The co-governance movement is making its most direct attack yet on the fundamental democratic principle of one person, one vote.

Yesterday in the House, Labour List MP Tamati Coffey's Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill passed its first reading, with Labour, the Greens, and the Maori Party in support, while National and Act were opposed.

This Bill not only divides Maori and non-Maori voters, but it gives Maori voters more seats on the Council than their proportion of the population.

The 22,000 Maori Roll voters will get three seats, while the 56,000 General Roll voters also get three seats, despite being more than twice the number of people.

This kind of arrangement is prohibited under existing electoral law, which requires adherence to the one person, one vote principle. So the Rotorua District Council and Tamati Coffey have brought this Bill to Parliament to override that legal protection for democracy.

Tamati Coffey has sent his Bill to the Maori Affairs Committee, which he chairs with a Labour majority, and has outrageously limited the window for submissions from the public to just two weeks. 

Hobson's Pledge, with your support, will be fighting this racist bill every step of the way.

Copied below are my comments to the media.

Thank you for your support.


Casey Costello
Hobson’s Pledge


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Defending Democracy

Co-governance has been placed under a spotlight thanks to the referendum call from ACT. Support the Referendum

Regardless of your voting intentions or political affiliation, support for this petition is essential if New Zealanders are to have a say. ACT’s Karen Chhour spoke passionately in the House confirming the party’s position.

In his speech at the Milford Rotary Club, David Seymour articulated the key issues.

His comments included: But here’s the thing. Not all Māori are struggling and not all those struggling are Māori. The best way to address unequal outcomes is to improve ALL our health and education policies – not to single out one group for special treatment because of their ethnicity.”

Concluding with a commitment that ACT will campaign for a referendum on co-governance has catapulted the issue into the political arena. Full speech here

Making an Impact

Co-governance is also being highlighted by Hobson’s Pledge supporters. After the Maori Party announced that they would only be willing to go into a post-election coalition with a party committed to co-governance, the National Party were sent a clear message that they must rule out coalitions that would further separatism. Nearly 10,000 people used our on-line tool at to send e-mails to MPs, calling on National to rule out a Maori Party coalition.  

The submissions to the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill also received some media exposure, with Hobson’s Pledge directly responsible for three quarters of the submissions against that Bill. Full article here: Democracy or division: The wrangle over Ngāi Tahu and ECan |

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Higher standard needed for History

This is a longer update than usual, with so much to cover in recent weeks.

In today's update, we look at the divisive new history curriculum, the Government running full steam ahead with the separate Maori Health Authority, shocking comments from MPs attacking democracy, and unfortunate developments with the Hauraki Gulf Forum.

Higher standard needed for History

The new history curriculum, announced last week, will become a tool for dividing New Zealanders, with its clear focus on two types of citizenship.  

With a failing education system producing shameful outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and even attendance, this Government continues to evade accountability by distracting New Zealanders with ideology.

Although originally scheduled for introduction to schools at the beginning of 2022, there was a range of criticism, including the strong influence of ideology and the complete omission of many important aspects of our history, which caused a 12 month delay. The delay was defended by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

The feedback the Ministry received was wide-ranging, clear, and at times confronting. New Zealanders have a lot to say about how our nation’s histories should be examined and discussed, and that is a good thing,” Chris Hipkins said.

The new curriculum requires students to make “informed ethical judgement(s) about people’s actions”.  Making ethical judgement is not the role of history and the question must be asked as to who defines “ethical”.

Analysis of the curriculum shows the strong influence of separatist ideology.  This will do little to reduce division or encourage unity.  ACT’s education spokesperson Chris Baillie expressed valid concerns about the curriculum. 

…Labour is trying to make New Zealand an unequal society on purpose. It believes there are two types of New Zealanders. Tangata Whenua, who are here by right, and Tangata Tiriti who are lucky to be here. We should be learning the history of our multi-ethnic society.”

New Zealanders – heal thyself

Funding of $22 million has been announced for the Maori Health Authority, which is being established under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, even though the Bill is still with the Select Committee.

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Three Waters still means no democratic control

Today the Working Group on the divisive Three Waters reforms published their report, leaving the fundamental problem - co-governance - still threaded through their recommendations.

While various headlines have talked up the report proposing shares for councils based on population, those councils would still be subject to a co-governance model stripping local, democratic control from New Zealand's water infrastructure.

This is why Hobson's Pledge, with your support, is sounding the alarm and showing the public the dangers they face with ever-expanding co-governance. 

Copied below are my comments to the media.

Thank you for your support.

Don Brash
Hobson’s Pledge


9 MARCH 2022

Recommendations by the Three Waters Working Group announced today reaffirm the theft of water assets from local councils and the Government’s commitment to have half of all the board members of the regional entities set up to manage the country’s water infrastructure appointed by iwi, said Hobson's Pledge spokesman Don Brash.

“The announcement today tried to provide an assurance of ownership retention through a complex shareholding model."

“But despite the PR spin, councils would not have ownership in any meaningful sense."

“In October last year, it was clear that the legislation was intended to implement a co-governance model that would deprive councils of ownership in any real sense. Our predictions have been realised.”

“Local Government NZ has announced their support for the recommendations, claiming that the Working Group’s recommendations strengthened public ownership.”

But Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has made his dissenting view clear in the Working Group’s report, noting that “democratic accountability, through elected representatives, to the people who funded the water infrastructure in Auckland valued at many billions of dollars and who continue to pay for its operation is critical.”  

He went further, noting that “It is not appropriate to cede control over this infrastructure to other councils and mana whenua and to remove existing accountability to Aucklanders through elected representatives.”

“Misreading the concerns of every community in New Zealand, the Working Group has sought to provide additional reassurance of protection against privatisation,” said Brash.

“But for most New Zealanders the worry is that the Government’s proposal would strip away the ownership of assets paid for by generations of ratepayers and hand control to unelected and unaccountable tribal representatives under a co-governance model which is 100 miles from any concept of democracy, and bears no relationship to what the Treaty of Waitangi provided.  Mr Goff is right.”

“LGNZ’s statement demonstrated its total disregard for ratepayers by concluding that public consultation should be restricted to the Select Committee process.”

“The arrogance with which this Government is deceiving ratepayers is staggering and, contrary to the assurance from Willie Jackson, it would seem New Zealanders have every reason to be afraid,” said Brash.


Division the new norm


Independent polling by Curia Market Research, commissioned by Hobson’s Pledge, shows that 72 percent of voters say our country is more divided today than 12 months ago.

This is a damning indictment on this Government’s separatist agenda.

Claims that the He Puapua Report – which recommends radical policy based on race – was a separatist agenda were denounced by Prime Minister Ardern when she assured the public that the Report did not reflect Government policy

But despite this assurance it is clear that the reality is very different.  

“The divisiveness perceived by the public is striking and should give the Government pause concerning the breakneck pace with which it is upending the foundations of democracy in New Zealand,” said Don Brash.

A copy of the polling report can be found at:

Since the report’s reluctant release after the election in late 2020 the attacks on democracy and equality before the law have continued unabated, and indeed have accelerated.

But, as explained by Jacinta Ruru, one of the authors of the He Puapua report, there is more to come.

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The fight for equality before the law

We have started 2022 with the reminder that our “team of 5 million” is yet again being called upon to unite in the protection of our vulnerable and achieve the best outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Since 2016 Hobson’s Pledge has been advocating exactly that message –New Zealanders are one people.

We fight for unity and equality before the law for the "team of 5 million".

Ironically, our opponents misconstrue this message to allege that any discussion challenging the practice of differentiating New Zealanders based on ancestry or race is taboo.

We can't let our opponents succeed in shutting down the defence of equality for all using labels of 'racism'

In 2022 New Zealanders must be afforded a voice to freely and openly discuss social policy, legislation and systems without fear of reprisal and accusations of racism.  

If Kiwis can't have constructive discourse on important issues we will never achieve better outcomes for anyone. The answer is not always more government money and increased intervention.  

The speed with which the Government is forcing us down the path of separatism makes it difficult to refute the conclusion that the He Puapua agenda is being implemented by stealth. It's time this vale of secrecy was removed and that's what Hobson's Pledge will be ensuring in 2022.

More so than ever before, we cannot allow our nation to be further divided based upon what sound like lofty ideals but which actually serve only the narrow interests of a minority who claim to represent all Maori. So often there is a lack of accountability or transparency in the delivery of these race-based initiatives.

The investment in social policy is often skewed by statistics being used to support a conclusion rather than to illuminate the issue. For example, 99.53% of Maori are not in prison but we are reminded constantly of the proportion of the total prison population that is Maori. Based upon these statistics ethnicity does not pre-determine your likelihood of going to prison.  

If the objective is to justify separatism and secure the funding to maintain these policies then this agenda works perfectly. Failure to deliver is almost expected and throwing more money at the solution is always justified.

Generally, New Zealanders have been unwilling to challenge the concepts of co-governance and equity of outcome for fear of the labels that are targeted against anyone that speaks out. Even without our opponents using the smear of 'racism', these conversations aren't easy.

But the narrative of victimhood and the poor outcomes that are cited as justification for separatism must be scrutinised. The blind acceptance of bad social policy justified by reference to unequal outcomes will fail all of us, particularly those who actually have the greatest need.

This social experiment of affirmative action, positive discrimination and separatism has failed wherever it has been implemented.

We cannot encourage and support better outcomes while telling some New Zealanders that they cannot achieve on their own merit and through their own capability due to events that unfolded nearly 200 years ago.

Here at Hobson's Pledge, we've spent the summer planning how to respond to the challenges this Government poses. We're full of energy, urgency and have big plans for the year ahead. We are confident that with your continued support, 2022 can be the year that we change the narrative and stand up against racism in all its forms.

It is not an exaggeration to say, as Don did in his pre-Christmas letter, that we fight for the soul of New Zealand.

To make a confidential donation to Hobson's Pledge, click here.

Thank you for your support.

Casey Costello
Hobson’s Pledge

Fighting for New Zealand

What a year 2021 has been!  For many people, especially those of us who endured the near-four-month lockdown in Auckland and for the many more throughout the country hugely impacted by that lockdown, it has been a truly awful year.

For us at the Hobson’s Pledge Trust, 2021 has brought the realization that we are fighting for the very soul of New Zealand. 

Are we to be a country where every person, regardless of when they or their ancestors came to New Zealand, has equal political rights, as Article III of the Treaty of Waitangi unambiguously promised?

Or are we to become a nation permanently divided by race, with those who chance to have one or more Maori ancestors (always with ancestors of other ethnicities too of course) having forever a preferred constitutional status?

What brought this issue to the attention of all New Zealanders was the release in April of the He Puapua document, prepared during 2019 at the request of the Labour-New Zealand First Government but not released to the public – or even apparently to the New Zealand First part of the Government – until after the 2020 election.

What that document makes crystal clear is that its authors envisage a “co-governed” New Zealand.  Those with some Maori ancestry would have a perpetually privileged status, with their own chamber in a three chamber Parliament – one for those who chance to have some Maori ancestry, one for the rest of us, and a third joint chamber, with a Maori veto, for negotiation between the two divided “partners”.

The Prime Minister denies that this document reflects her Government’s policy, but she has to be telling us less than the whole truth because almost every aspect of her Government’s policy platform this year has reflected the thinking behind He Puapua:

  • The plan to confiscate the Three Waters assets of all the local bodies in the country and place them into four enormous entities, drawn along tribal boundaries, and controlled by an equal number of tribal appointees as local body representatives.
  • The plan to create two separate health systems, one for those with a Maori ancestor and one for all the rest of us – though with both systems funded by the general taxpayer.
  • The removal of the right of ratepayers to have a say about whether they want race-based wards – with legislation passed under urgency to minimize the time ratepayers had to express their views on the matter.
  • With moves afoot to give those with a Maori ancestor permanent representation on Environment Canterbury, and plans to create separate Maori wards in Auckland, where there is already an Independent Maori Statutory Board with strong representation on most Auckland Council committees.
  • The constant reference to the name of our country in all government documents as Aotearoa, or Aotearoa New Zealand, despite most New Zealanders not wanting any name for our country but New Zealand (as established by a scientific opinion poll), and the ever more frequent use of Maori words in government communications and on taxpayer-funded media, often without any translation – and this despite the fact that only a tiny minority of New Zealanders speak the Maori language.
  • The bribery of the media to promote a particular re-interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.

And it is that interpretation of the Treaty which lies at the heart of the issue.

Did the Treaty involve Maori chiefs surrendering sovereignty in return for being guaranteed their property rights and political equality with all “British subjects”, or did it involve no surrender of sovereignty but instead the promise of some kind of partnership with the head of the mightiest empire the world had seen to that date?

Speeches made by chiefs at the time, and again at Kohimarama in 1860, make it quite clear which of those two interpretations was understood at the time.  And indeed, that is the interpretation which prevailed for nearly the next century and a half.

More importantly, it is the only interpretation which is consistent with a peaceful future, where all citizens have equal political rights without any preference based on race, as politicians as different as David Lange, Winston Peters and David Seymour have made clear.

At Hobson’s Pledge, we are acutely aware of the stakes.  And acutely aware also that without your continuing support we can achieve nothing.  We hugely appreciate that support, and note that it has grown strongly over the year as more and more people have seen the disastrous path the Government is leading us down. 

Our registered supporters now number more than 50,000, and we’re aiming to build that number substantially over the year to come to help us to get politicians to listen and understand: only when politicians of all political stripes can see that we New Zealanders are deadly serious about preserving a colour-blind society will there be a change in direction.

So there is much work to do in the New Year – but until then, thank you for your continuing support for Hobson’s Pledge and New Zealand, and all good wishes.

Don Brash
Hobson’s Pledge

Three Waters plan was mandated from the start

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta refused to rule out making the reforms mandatory, only confirming the legislated approach in late October.

Cabinet agreed on June 14, 2021, to a mandated approach to the Three Waters reform and spent the next four months telling councils that the plan was voluntary and councils could opt out, according to Cabinet papers quietly released last month.

Radio New Zealand reported this late on Friday afternoon, after news the previous day that introduction of a Three Waters bill would be delayed until next year, See Mandated

“Discussions (during a two-month consultation period) would have been "quite different" if councils had been told about the mandated plan from the outset,” Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai said.

According to sources in Wellington, there is a standoff between Labour's Maori caucus (who want co-governed water) and the provincial Labour MPs and Cabinet Ministers who are feeling the political heat from widespread opposition to the Government’s proposal.

Dear former New Zealanders . . .

Here is a letter sent in to us:

“I left what was previously known as New Zealand on Friday. No longer could I take the constant racial and cultural division. The communisation and Marxism of the nation that once was the blood that flows through my veins. A sixth-generation New Zealander, my family elders helped build that nation. We even have a small town named in honour of our family.

“I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. My passport says so. My birth certificate says so. Every legal document I have says so. But all I got for the last four years was Otautahi. Aotearoa. And a whole bunch of other words that I don’t understand because they’re not the nation I was born into, or my children, or grandchildren, or my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, my great-great-grandparents. No, we were all born in New Zealand.

Read the full letter at

He Puapua author fights book-ban attempt

Dr John Robinson, who wrote He Puapua: Blueprint for breaking up New Zealand and other books, has taken One News to task for broadcasting an appeal last week to bookstores to refuse to stock his book and books by his publisher, Tross Publishing.

The claim of “half-truths and out-right lies” (in his He Puapua book), unsupported by any clear example, is unacceptable from anyone, let alone a university lecturer (who attacked him on television), Dr Robinson wrote in a statement titled “TV1 News has proposed a ban on sales of books”.

“As my book makes clear, the separatist movement that is clearly described in the He Puapua report is aimed at destroying democracy and setting up a three-chamber legislation for New Zealand (one for Maori, a second for the others but with a strong Maori presence, and a third joint chamber, with a Maori veto, for negotiation between the two divided ‘partners’),” he wrote. 

“There are no “half-truths and out-right lies” here. These comments are supported by quotes from Maori activists and lengthy quotes from key sources, such as the He Puapua report,” he wrote.

Campaign update

Since the Maori Party declared war on “coloniser names”, and since Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta revealed that the Three Waters plan would be forced on councils, we have experienced a surge both in numbers of supporters and donations, for which we are deeply grateful.

Your financial support enabled spending on three advertising campaigns.

Thirteen billboards erected in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, during November, reminded everyone that we live in New Zealand, not Aotearoa. The billboards certainly attracted attention. Every billboard was attacked.

A dual New Zealand, not Aotearoa/Three waters social media campaign, active until just before Christmas, helped increase signatures on our petition and on our letter to the Prime Minister. 

A two-week Three Waters radio campaign on the NewsTalk ZB network throughout New Zealand widened awareness of the co-governance aspect of water infrastructure seizure.

Buying advertising space is not cheap. Those three campaigns chewed through around $60,000.

Your engagement as citizens concerned about the racist Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill led to thousands of submissions being sent in.

For five years, we have been keeping pressure on MPs over pending race-based legislation, and on councillors, over tribal appointees and Maori wards.

The decision to defer introducing three waters legislation could be a sign that this work is making a difference.

New Zealand, not Aotearoa

Nearly 35,000 have signed our petition calling on our Prime Minister to affirm publicly that the name of our nation is New Zealand, not Aotearoa. If you have not yet signed, click here and like and share the page.

Dear Prime Minister . . .

More than 14,000 have signed our open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern which says that we are especially worried about the iwi entitlement to governance of Three Waters. If you have not done so already, you may sign the letter at

Dump two governments plan

Nearly 24,000 have signed our He Puapua petition calling on the Prime Minister to reject outright and cease implementing all aspects of the two-government plan as described in He Puapua, the plan presented as realising in New Zealand the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If you have not already done so, click here to sign  Reject co-governance.

Beaches for us all

And our petition which asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, and repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights, has picked up nearly 48,000 signatures. The petition may be signed at

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Iwi checkpoints are back after quiet law change

Former MP and founder of Te Tai Tokerau Border Control Hone Harawira flying the Maori sovereignty flag at a checkpoint.

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Please submit against racist health system bill

Time is running out to make your submission against the racist Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill that is currently being rushed through Parliament. The Bill will replace the New Zealand Health and Disability Act 2000 with an apartheid structure presented as Treaty partnership in action while claiming it will achieve equitable outcomes for Maori health.

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Thank you for supporting massive protest

Thank you for supporting massive protest

Thank you to those who taped a sign to your vehicle and drove the Groundswell route through the town nearest you on Sunday.

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Thank you for your support on Three Waters

National MP Nicola Willis showed the unprecedented Three Waters headline to Parliament. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta accused councils of spreading misinformation.

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Customary rights trump law in coastal judgement

One of a number of billboards around our cities drawing attention to the actual name of our country, not the mythical name that is being quietly imposed. Our petition calling on the Prime Minister to delete any reference in official communication to any name for our nation other than New Zealand may be signed at

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Water ‘partnership’ added to law

You may have missed it but the Water Services Act that became law a week ago quietly added to legislation water “partnership” while establishing a framework “to provide transparency about the performance of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater networks and network operators”.

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Three Waters all about iwi ownership, control

The Three Waters Plan centralizes national water management while indulging iwi demands for ownership of water, according to businessman Gary Judd QC.

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He Puapua lead planner says Govt ‘lacks legitimacy’

It’s questionable that the New Zealand Government has any legitimacy, the state must give up some power, and New Zealand has a lopsided view of democracy, which should not be tyranny of the majority.

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Seymour’s reply to the vaccine code outraged

ACT Party leader David Seymour hit a “perfect symbol of something the left worships as sacred” this week when he dared to question race-based policy by tweeting a Covid-19 vaccination priority access code for Maori. The New Zealand Herald printed Mr Seymour’s reply to the hornets who swarmed out of the nest, and that reply was top of the Herald's website all night. Mr Seymour’s reply is a succinct statement of all that Hobson’s Pledge has been fighting for. The full text is reproduced below. Please enjoy: 

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Seymour fingers state racism

Seymour masked

ACT Party leader David Seymour.

ACT Party leader put the spotlight on state racism when he tweeted an image of a code reserved for Maori and said: "If you're worried about vaccination waiting times, you no longer need to make an appointment. All you need to do is use this access code."

The outrage was predictable. However, none of the outraged have provided any evidence of any person disadvantaged in the vaccine rollout by the fact that they have a Maori ancestor.

"The virus doesn't discriminate on race, so neither should the rollout," Seymour said. Hobson’s Pledge agrees.

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Silence is compliance

This is a brief update on developments since you signed our petition rejecting He Puapua, which is Labour’s plan to establish two governments in New Zealand by 2040, under which tribal elites will exercise authority over all major aspects of New Zealand’s governance.

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We want a vote on Napier Maori ward

The Napier City Council was one of five councils that voted against establishing Maori wards for next year’s local body elections. The vote was unanimous. However, after substantial pressure that included a Treaty of Waitangi claim, the Council started consulting Napier residents on whether they want to establish Maori wards for the 2025 local elections. We need a city-wide vote on whether Napier should proceed with a Maori ward.

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Marx, Muldoon, and the Mongrel Mob

E-Tangata magazine managed to get German socialist revolutionary Karl Marx, former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, and the Mongrel Mob into a single article and that was in an interview this month with Harry Tam.

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Mathematician tears apart He Puapua

In a new book titled He Puapua – Blueprint for breaking up New Zealand, mathematician John Robinson, tears apart the He Puapua plan for two separate governments, one by Maori for Maori, and the other, a “fully bicultural” administration for everyone else.

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Three waters plan ‘He Puapua in action’

Imposed without warning or any electoral mandate, the total upheaval of water services in New Zealand - designed to deliver control to Maori - is He Puapua in action, commentator Muriel Newman said at the weekend.

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Ministry spends $700,000 to foster white guilt

Almost $700,000 has been spent on making half of the Ministry of Education bureaucracy feel guilty about the colour of their skin, according to emails released under the Official Information Act.

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