You may recall from our last email on this issue that LGNZ sends a guide to Standing Orders, along with a template to use, to councils at the start of each term and that this year they have made significant changes from the last version in 2019, without announcement, fanfare, or scrutiny from the media.
We told you then that these new guidelines assert a new special status in decision making for Maori and iwi that will limit the democratic authority of those who were elected by the voters at large (which included Maori).
LGNZ have a role, ultimately funded by ratepayers, to advise councils. With these guidelines, however, they have recommended divisive, anti-democratic approaches to council decision-making processes that are not only not required by law (as they heavily inferred) but may well breach the law.
We were so concerned about the claims and recommendations pushed by LGNZ that Hobson’s Pledge engaged prominent public law firm Franks Ogilvie to provide a legal opinion on the advice provided.
It makes a compelling case for rejecting the LGNZ advice. I can particularly recommend the summary from paragraphs 4 to 11.
Hobson's Pledge have sent this report to all local and regional councillors and mayors in New Zealand, so they are armed with the case for equal citizenship in their councils rules.
Some may ask, why is this important?
Simply, it is because at the foundation of our democracy lies the assurance that every vote holds equal value and every citizen has equal access to their governing institutions.
An election is the opportunity for we, the people, to deliver accountability from our elected representatives. After that election, no one should get in ahead of the rest to set the agenda or screw the scrum.
LGNZ’s Standing Orders guidelines are promoting a form of co-governance that goes beyond mere consultation, attempting to incorporate an obligation to unelected representation.
You might expect a dramatic change in the law from Parliament or a policy change from the Government to cause this kind of shift in how LGNZ's Standing Orders guide is written, but none of that has occurred. They're simply making it up as they go.
LGNZ are promoting co-governance by stealth with dire legal and democratic implications.
Their advice holds weight with your councillors, who will have assumed LGNZ have provided reliable guidance.
That's why we've presented the Franks Ogilvie advice, so your councillors will know equal citizenship is on the line here.
Before our democracy is eroded further, LGNZ should be required to explain on what legal basis they have advised councils of this new approach.
Already, some councillors are replying, thanking us for raising the issue and saying they will be pushing back at their next council meetings.
Today, Three Waters was rammed through Parliament to become law.
Ignoring the lack of clarity, the outright mistakes, the many deceptions, the failures to follow due process and the concerns of nearly 100,000 New Zealanders - the controversial Water Services Entities Bill (AKA Three Waters) has been forced through by Labour.
No other party – not even the Greens or the Maori Party – voted for it.
As the media and most politicians dance around the central issue, Hobson’s Pledge will continue to clearly declare that the control of everyone’s water has been handed over to an unelected and unaccountable co-governed minority.
A minority who claims its dishonest mandate by virtue of their ancestry alone, while also being unaccountable to their own people. A doubled-edge sword piercing the very heart of our democracy.
Labour's blatant lies around 'ownership' are now irrelevant – let me be as clear as the water Mahuta is stealing, New Zealanders now have no control of their own water assets.
The justification given for this legislation was the claimed need for urgent investment in infrastructure and fear-mongering about water quality.
It has long since been clear that, in fact, this was and will remain a clear, naked and blatant power grab to transfer control of public resources to a select group of Maori, as foreshadowed by the infamous He Puapua Report.
This is clearly the ambition of He Puapua come to life, enshrined into New Zealand law.
What has been delivered is a complex bureaucracy that will operate, for at least half of the water entity boards, without any direct accountability to the people of New Zealand. And that half will have an effective veto, as the only ways to make decisions are either by consensus or by 75% majority.
Make no mistake, this is a dark day for New Zealand –
Our voices have been ignored
Unworkable and divisive legislation has been passed into law
No accountability has been delivered for countless mistakes and deceptions
Our democracy has been dismantled
Your support for the work Hobson’s Pledge is doing has become more important than ever.
As a nation, we are being reduced to “us” and “them”. We cannot allow this to continue or let this Government’s powerful Labour Maori Caucus operate unchecked like schoolyard bullies.
There is a better way. A way of living together where every New Zealander is equal under the law and the decisions about our collective property are taken by leaders accountable to the people at the ballot box and through public scrutiny by our institutions.
A way that is, in short, the promise of liberal democracy that is the heritage of all New Zealanders. A heritage that has been handed down to us by every generation before us.
Our Government is continuing to avoid accountability for failing to deliver a single positive outcome while it pushes through a storm of divisive legislation that it pretends will fix the failings of its spiralling and even more divided bureaucracy.
We know the Government does not speak for all New Zealanders, just as the Labour Maori Caucus and the Maori Party do not speak for all Maori.
Our mission now becomes to ensure severe democratic consequences for Jacinda Ardern, Nanaia Mahuta and Labour for this flagrant betrayal of our democracy.
Hobson’s Pledge will redouble our relentless efforts to make every New Zealander understand what is being done to their democracy and what that means for them and the country’s future.
We have already moved co-governance from the issue that politicians would rather leave unmentioned to a major topic of debate (even in the mainstream media!).
The next step is to make this theft of our democracy a key decisive issue for the next election – one that the major parties are forced to contend with at the ballot box.
We are currently planning our election year activity to push back against the division of New Zealanders euphemistically called "co-governance". This must be in front of every voter as politicians seek their votes.
It is more critical than ever that the average New Zealander understands just how dire the stakes are this coming election. Your support is essential in making this happen and bringing us back together.
I am delighted to tell you that our drive to publish our Open Letter to the Prime Minister in every major newspaper across New Zealand was successful.
Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts to make this reality - none of this would have been possible without you.
Together, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are now well-informed about just how much Three Waters will further detrimentally divide our society.
Yesterday, I personally sent the Prime Minister our Open Letter with my own covering letter. You can click here to view what I sent the Prime Minister.
But our fight is still not over. This Labour Government is still planning to ram through the enabling legislation for Three Waters sometime before Christmas.
Fortunately, there is still time and we are the organisation that will be relentless in fighting this Government every step of the way as they seek to divide New Zealanders, when we should be moving forward together as one.
In this Update we cover the new attempts to erode democracy that are hijacking the reforms of the Resource Management Act (RMA) and the further complications with Three Waters that are expanding the loss of democratic accountability from just water infrastructure to just about anything involving water.
Government undermines our constitutional foundations
But first, another controversy broke over the weekend as constitutional lawyers caught up with the unprecedented entrenchment amendment, under urgency, of the Three Waters legislation.
Under the cover of urgency and precluding any opportunity for public consultation or consideration by select committee, this Government has inserted a dangerous amendment into the Three Waters legislation at the last moment.
In the Waters Services Entities Bill, there will now be a requirement for a super-majority of 60% of MPs to amend or repeal a particular section.
The use of a super-majority is normally used only in constitutional matters, such as the term of Parliament. The insertion in this instance demonstrates the Government’s total contempt for the will of the people and is a direct attempt to circumvent democracy.
But, for now, back to the rest of the attacks on democracy.
The common thread for these is the insertion of new, unclear, and untested Maori words and concepts into our law, and then requiring compliance with these new concepts across complex and varying issues.
The uncertainty thrown up by this kind of law-making is causing havoc and the need for councils and courts to figure out what the law actually means will result in more delay and expense, along with less democracy and accountability.
RMA reform hijacked
The RMA reform announced last week was proudly introduced by Minister David Parker when he confirmed the introduction of the Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill.
While most parties agree reform is urgently needed, this already very complex area of law has two outrageous additions included by David Parker.
First, the new regional planning committees must have at least two Maori representatives on them. Not 50/50 co-governance as some were clamouring for, but still another undemocratic intrusion. And it turns out these committees can have 50/50 co-governance, if the relevant councils want them to – do you trust your council to stand up for your democracy?
Second, the new legislation contains a requirement that councils “recognise and uphold te Oranga o te Taiao.”
So we have another case of Maori words with a Maori concept being slipped into an English language Bill and an English legal framework.
This term, new to statute in New Zealand, is defined in the Bill but the scope is so broad that to suggest it will reduce complexity, as the Minister assures us, is naïve in the extreme.
Dr Oliver Hartwich, Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative, presented an excellent analysis of the legislation in his article in the Australian (paywalled).
He observes that “Tikanga is mentioned 31 times, Matauranga Maori comes up 26 times. Kaitiakitanga can be found in seven places. They all beat “property right”, which features only three times.
Dr Hartwich rightly observes that the Bill is taking the integration of purported Maori custom into the New Zealand legal system to a new level.
The nuanced definitions and attempts to recognise special interests are all underpinned by the so-called duty to give effect to the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi.
Besides the policy goals, each time this happens, everyone operating in the relevant space (and resource management affects everyone) is left uncertain of where the bounds of the new law are until the courts rule on it. But the courts also wind up with enormous space to define what these concepts mean, as there is very little in the way of agreed definition.
We the public lose direct democratic accountability over our politicians to achieve policy outcomes, as they hand over that power to the courts and new unaccountable bureaucracies with their vague law-making.
At least for now, we have the most direct form of democratic accountability still available to us, with a vote at the next election.
At the heart of each piece of new legislation or policy introduced by this Government – whether it is about education, health, water, environment, resource management, or local government – is a consistent and egregious fundamental principle, that New Zealanders are to be afforded different consideration based upon ancestry.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that the rapid and almost overwhelming pace at which these changes are being foisted upon us is intentional.
Distract, Divide and Overwhelm is a sound strategy for any power grab.
Submissions on the Natural and Built Environment Bill close on 30 January 2023. Perhaps influenced by the 80,000+ submissions received on the Three Waters legislation, the Government is hoping that New Zealanders will be too busy and distracted to challenge yet another enormous piece of divisive legislation.
When asked directly, the Prime Minister cannot guarantee that non-Maori and Maori will have the same level of representation and openly states that she believes one person, one vote is an “overly simplistic” approach to democracy. For this reason alone, we must brace ourselves for another battle that demands New Zealanders are treated equally before the law.
The layers of racial bureaucracy will see the wheels of progress grind to a halt, our nation further divided and all of that for no better outcomes for those who are in need, Maori or otherwise.
The many waters of Mahuta
The complexity of Three Waters reached an even greater muddle of confusion due to the change introduced at the second reading on 16 November 2022. The Bill is now awaiting Third Reading and will likely become law before Christmas.
Now included in the Bill is additional clarification of how the Te Mana o te Wai (the respect or authority of the water) provision should be applied. This expands the potential scope of the complex, co-governed Three Waters bureaucracy out to the coast (that’s right, foreshore and seabed all over again), geothermal water, and hydroelectric facilities.
The ambition is galling.
When the water entities are already structured in a co-governance model, with elected representation forming only 50% of the boards, that added layer of the Te Mana o te Wai obligations results in a further reduction in the influence the democratic sphere will have over water. The Prime Minister is lying when she claims that there is no expansion in scope to the Three Waters legislation.
Layers of Representation
While every Government agency and all new legislation are inserting obligations to a certain interpretation of The Treaty of Waitangi, the radical changes to Local Government New Zealand’s guidelines to your Council’s Standing Orders are another direct assault on democracy.
It is important that silence not be seen as tacit acceptance or endorsement of these new proposed Standing Orders
Stand up for democracy and tell your Mayor to do the same by actively rejecting the divisive and anti-democratic proposal to change council Standing Orders.
Less than three weeks ago, Hobson’s Pledge publicised the new standing order guide from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).
Standing Orders are the procedures that your council uses to conduct their meetings and the way they debate. Their purpose is to enable local authorities to exercise their decision making responsibilities in a transparent, inclusive, and lawful manner.
LGNZ send a guide to these standing orders, along with a template to use, to councils at the start of each term and they have made significant changes to this year’s guide from the last version in 2019, without announcement, fanfare, or scrutiny from the media.
These guidelines assert a new special status in decision making for Maori and iwi that will limit the democratic authority of those who were elected by the voters at large (which included Maori).
Tell your Mayor (and the Chair of your regional council, if you have one) to reject these radical and undemocratic changes at defenddemocracy.nz.
The new guidelines claim that iwi and hapu “have a mandate based on their role as the indigenous governors of the land”.
LGNZ does not explain how they came to these conclusions and, without a fundamental change in our constitutional law in the last three years, there is no legal basis for inserting this new status for iwi, even though they try to make it sound like councils have to comply.
You can read the guidelines here: StandingOrder_16_09_22.pdf (lgnz.co.nz)
Councils will be bureaucratically crippled in their decision-making by the cultural minefield that these recommended standing orders require.
Should your council adopt these guidelines there will be:
- Different rights based for some based upon ancestry
- More bureaucracy
- Delays in decision making
- Increased costs
- Less accountability
As the newly elected mayors and councillors begin their work serving your community, it is essential that they are reminded of their responsibility to be representative of all their constituents.
Send a message at our easy to use tool and demand that everyone have an equal say in your community. We make it simple to find your mayor with just your postcode.
Our communities need to be inclusive and representative of all New Zealanders, regardless of their ancestry. Do not allow this radical manifesto to differentiate one group of New Zealanders ahead of the rest. We must not be divided against ourselves and this wedge of bureaucracy will do just that.
Hobson’s Pledge is continuing to push back against racism and will continue demanding that all New Zealanders are treated equally before the law.
This update is a little longer than usual, to cover all the latest developments in the co-governance agenda.
But first, just yesterday Hobson's Pledge received a copy of the He Mata Whariki, He Matawhanui report on proposals for reform to local government in New Zealand.
We are working through the details, but it is clear that another nail is being set for hammering in to the coffin of New Zealand's democratic heritage.
More than ever, it is clear we must defend unity and equal suffrage.
Watch this space.
Jackson's folly hits a predictable snag
Astoundingly, there are many New Zealanders who believe that co-governance is merely due recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi. In reality though, it is a failed social experiment that has been unable to deliver a tangible benefit to anyone, including Maori.
The inability to reach final decisions due to co-governance is crippling progress, as endless consultation and consensus decision-making (read giving one side a veto) has become the new norm.
This is evident in nearly every public service that is tasked with improving outcomes for New Zealanders.
I am hoping you might indulge me as I write about the events of this week and how it demonstrates the dangerous path of division we are being forced down by a Labour Government controlled by its Maori caucus that is yet again demonstrating racist bullying that no other elected representatives could get away with.
On Wednesday I discovered a new hero, something that is rare in New Zealand at the moment.
ACT’s Karen Chhour demonstrated what it means to be a proud, dignified New Zealander who also represents Maoridom in a manner which is inspiring.
In her fight to protect the rights of vulnerable children, she was attacked by an individual that can only be described as a bully and a thug.
Supported by the derisive laughter of his peers, Kelvin Davis attempted to belittle the ACT MP, not by challenging the facts at issue, but by attacking her identity.
Sitting in the lofty heights as the self-appointed determiner of what Maori are and are not allowed to think and feel, he denied Karen Chhour her identity.
Let us not forget that Kelvin Davis, before Labour came into Government, made it a bottom line that he would resign from Parliament if Charter Schools were scrapped. Charter Schools were quickly scrapped under the Labour Government and, demonstrating the backbone of an invertebrate, Kelvin fell silent on his bottom line, with his forty pieces of silver including the deputy leadership.
Charter Schools were the most successful educational system for at risk and vulnerable Maori kids, achieving outcomes that were unprecedented. It seems, however, that once in government, Kelvin was not interested in what’s good for Maori; he’s only interested in advancing himself and a narrative of separatism.
Let us not get bogged down in the need to achieve real benefit for Maori when we can instead deliver a bunch of virtue signalling nonsense that benefits only an elite class of Maori, who can slap each other on the back enjoying the success of bullying those who are trying to advocate for the vulnerable.
But, of course, I will be classified by Kelvin as having the “vanilla lens” that prevents me for exposing a fraud and bully when I see one. I can’t possibly speak until, according to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, I “cross the bridge that is Te Tiriti o Waitangi” so I can get to understand my Maori world better.
I wonder by whose measure the understanding of my “Maori world” is tested. After six years of advocating for equality of rights for ALL New Zealanders in my role with Hobson’s Pledge, the attacks on my right to speak as a Maori are truly water off a duck’s back. Unlike the Kelvins of this world, I don’t claim to speak for ALL Maori. I am not afraid of my views being challenged and I will debate the issues and demand accountability. I do not need to resort to name-calling and insults that belittle those who have a different point of view. But in Kelvin’s case, I have decided an exception can be made.
Karen Chhour demonstrates the growing awakening of Maori who have tired of the bullies and thugs who claim to speak for “us”. She speaks for accountability, and demands delivery of better solutions without being distracted by this narrative that Maori are incapable of achieving on merit because of events that unfolded two hundred years ago.
Yes, New Zealand can do better in protecting the vulnerable and improving outcomes but this takes serious conversations by intelligent people. And, despite Kelvin’s protestations, being Maori or not has nothing to do with your competency to find solutions.Read more
Even with the strong public support we consistently see for the equal treatment of all New Zealanders, regardless of race, the mainstream media are working harder than ever to stifle important debates in our society by reducing these issues to purely concerns of race, rather than democracy and equal citizenship.
Simon Wilson wrote in the Herald, calling the opposition to Maori Health Authority and Three Waters, "straight-out racism," while failing to address any of the good faith arguments made against those policies.
ACT’s leader, David Seymour, has continued to speak strongly and responded appropriately to the flawed and naïve arguments put forward by the NZ Herald when he said:
"Our best future is a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democracy. Each of those words matters. We should be a leading society with an equal place for all. Nobody should be born special, nobody should be born a second-class citizen. It’s a sad sign of the times that you can have a regular column in the country’s largest paper, and think such beliefs are “racist”."
Labour continues their attempt to distance themselves from the He Puapua Report, which delivered the cocktail of initiatives to separate Kiwis on race - the actual racist agenda in New Zealand. But Willie Jackson, promising public consultation on the new “Draft Plan” to realise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, has deferred the public release of his new approach.
It is likely that there is much that in this new draft plan that will further outrage New Zealanders, motivating Labour to keep it under wraps until the controversial Three Waters legislation works its way through the select committee process.
The deadline for submissions on the Three Waters legislation, called the Water Services Entities Bill, is Friday, 22 July 2022. Submit at either the Parliamentary Submission Link or the Taxpayers' Union website Stop 3 Waters.
Meanwhile, the Minister responsible for this Bill is trying to avoid the controversy by claiming that any challenges regarding her many potential conflicts of interest are merely underhanded political attacks. Again, the media collaborate by alluding to a racist attack, rather than seeking the answers that are reasonable for the public to demand. In fact, Jack Tame played into the narrative by asking Minister Mahuta “Is it [the attacks] because you are Maori?”
More than the usual politicians' "nothing to see here", the approach now is to go on the offensive and call racist all those attempting any of the previously standard scrutiny.
Maori Health Authority
The co-governance model for public health services, in the form of the Maori Health Authority, was launched on 1 July, 2022, at Waitangi. Despite public health services not coming into existence for any New Zealander until 1938, the Government considered the site of the signing of the Treaty, over 100 years earlier, the appropriate venue.
The new Authority has given rise to more questions than answers on how health outcomes will be enhanced. In fact, the only matter to come to light so far is a $100 million budget for traditional Maori medicine, including practices based on the phases of the moon. Tipa Mahuta, who is both Nanaia Mahuta's sister and the co-chair of the Authority, has been notably absent from any public statements and the allegations of nepotism and conflicts of interest have been dismissed without any adequate explanation.
The Prime Minister has defended the co-governance structure of Health on the grounds of poor Maori health outcomes, but this bureaucratic change won't get a single extra doctor or nurse into work and the impact on how services will be allocated is yet to be seen.
With our health system struggling to meet the expectations of many New Zealanders, this divisive new structure will be the subject of further investigation by Hobson’s Pledge.
Virtue Signalling and Wokeness
Government agencies continue to be compromised by an agenda of virtue signalling and wokeness. They commit more and more funding to counter spurious claims of racism or bias, rather than selecting the most effective funding options.
While the Government leaves unanswered the heart felt pleas from business owners having their livelihood destroyed by increasingly brazen criminals, Police are spending $2 million to research racism.
The NZ Transport Agency takes the prize for political correctness gone mad, by calling for tenders to investigate how the Agency could “give expression to the treaty partnership by identifying Māori experiences, expectations and priorities for transport, to inform the development of key agency responses and help build capability within agencies.”
For example some of the research areas are:
- What are Māori expectations and priorities for transport, now and in the short, medium, and long-term future?
- What are the gaps between Māori expectations and priorities for transport and their current experiences?
- What are the gaps in data and other evidence that can be used to characterise Māori experiences and impacts on them of the transport system?
The use of public money to deliver on an agenda that continues to differentiate the treatment of New Zealanders based upon ancestry must be challenged and we will continue to fight for equal treatment of all New Zealanders.
Thank you for your support.
Hobson's Pledge Trustee Casey Costello spoke at the Taxpayers' Union Stop Three Waters Roadshow event in Auckland on 30 June 2022.
First and foremost, thank you for being here and taking an interest in the challenges we as a nation are facing.
In the interests of full disclosure, I would start my speech by confirming that, according to our new Minister for Broadcasting and Media, and Minister of Maori Development (based upon his assessment of anyone who does not advocate for Maori in a manner that he agrees with) I am a “useless Maori”.
In addition, despite my ancestry I do not believe I have the right to speak for ALL New Zealanders who identify to their Maori whakapapa or ancestry.
But I do, however, believe that “useless” or not I have the right to point out that there is a reasonable expectation that the role of Government is to advocate for better outcomes based upon true, factual and rational information.
It is this failure to recognise that we are able to debate important, constitutional shifting issues without it being from a position of racism that is so concerning.
My reason for speaking today is to encourage the debate, to scrutinise poor policy and legislation for what it is and not allow the discussion to be shut down because the Government has inserted a race component where it does not belong.
The mere suggestion that you question the concepts of co-governance is enough to send many into a spin.
We should all be engaged in this discussion; we should be demanding this debate. If it is a logical and rational position, then those advocating for it should be able to present the evidence of where it has succeeded and demonstrate the benefits.
But instead, the request for debate is devolved into name calling and hostility.
Despite the absence from your in-box, Hobson’s Pledge have been toiling away - kept busy by a Government determined to divide New Zealanders based upon ancestry.
This month alone this Labour Government has:
- Introduced the Water Services Entities Bill (which implements the Three Waters reforms) and taken it through the First Reading
- Proceeded with the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Bill, which has completed the second reading
- Received Royal Assent for the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, which implements, among other things, the Maori Health Authority
Behind these issues, we cannot lose sight of:
- Coastal claims under the Marine and Coastal Area Act
- Efforts to implement co-governance over the Hauraki Gulf removing council elected representation
- The review being conducted by the Department of Conservation as to the status of roughly one third of the public conservation estate, which is “stewardship land”.
- How the history curriculum will influence New Zealand’s education system
Hobson’s Pledge continues to work to expose these issues to greater public scrutiny, as we were able to do with the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill.
The separatist agenda has been given momentum by the He Puapua Report that this Government, despite commissioning the report in 2019, has attempted to distance themselves from.
Willie Jackson, the Minister for Maori Development, (and now Broadcasting) announced in April we had nothing to fear from co-governance and that a new report to realise the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) had been commissioned.Read more
Three Waters has been thrust upon us with gusto and, make no mistake, the extent to which you will have influence, control, or even interest, will be determined by your ancestry.
The Government has now announced that they are moving ahead with their Three Waters project, after making some merely cosmetic changes to the policy.
Wading through the Government's carefully selected terminology and doublespeak, Three Waters will still be an undemocratic and divisive theft from local communities. That they are continuing, in the face of strong public opposition, demonstrates this Government's commitment to differentiating interests in water by race.
Tuku Morgan, a member of the Three Waters working group, made it clear when he said about iwi:
“We have always said, that we’re not interested in owning the water assets. What we’re interested in is the proprietor rights over water, and that is a discussion to be had with the Crown, not with councils.”
Hobson's Pledge will continue fighting Three Waters every step of the way.
Local communities will be left with ownership in the technical sense only, while control is handed over to undemocratic co-governance.
To demonstrate this Government’s contempt for a unified New Zealand, they have even established a separate submission process just for Maori.
With your support, we were able to defend democracy by forcing a u-turn on the rushed Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill.
We can do this again.
The Three Waters project has long since lost the pretence of being about better water systems and is now clearly revealed to be a power grab that will not see better outcomes for anyone. All water users will pay more and all water users will lose the voice they currently have through local representation.
With clever spin and fear-mongering from the Government, as well as an uncritical, propaganda-spreading media, New Zealanders are being deceived. We have seen that the anti-democratic movement are not even beyond attacking our Bill of Rights to achieve their objectives.
Water is a fundamental human necessity. The idea that some New Zealanders have a greater vested interest than others in how water is controlled is an insult to all of us.
Hobson’s Pledge will be fighting against the coming legislation – this is a war on Democracy. What New Zealanders need is better outcomes from government, not more division. Undemocratic projects like Three Waters won't improve outcomes for anyone.
If you haven't already signed our open letter to the Prime Minister demanding a stop to Three Waters, click here to add your name.
As we saw with the Rotorua Bill, good old-fashioned people power can force Governments to change course. We must show the Government that they must kick out Three Waters.
For May the Fourth (Star Wars Day), Hobson's Pledge put an ad in the NZ Herald to sound the alarm on what the Government is doing with our democracy. Take a look below.
Your support is making this work possible, and we are making a difference.
Late this afternoon the Rotorua District Council and Labour list MP Tamati Coffey announced they were “pausing” their divisive Bill to do away with the fundamental democratic principle of one person, one vote.
While the Government is trying to save face by calling a mere "pause" to the Bill – make no mistake, this is a comprehensive win.
Technically, Parliament's rules mean a bill cannot be withdrawn while it's before a Select Committee, but with the Government pulling its support Mr Coffey's Bill is left high and dry.
And with the admission that making Maori votes twice the value of those of non-Maori cannot be justified, no amount of tweaking can make the Bill consistent with the NZ Bill of Rights Act. In short, the Bill is finished.
Your support has achieved this victory. More than 13,000 Hobson's Pledge supporters submitted to the Maori Affairs Select Committee to achieve today's victory. That volume stopped the outrageous rush to sneak this Bill through without it coming to the public's attention.
Of those, 4,620 submitters opted to also submit orally (via Zoom or in-person). Allocating just five minutes per person, meant it would have taken at least 39 days of ten-hour hearings for the Select Committee to get through those who wanted to have a say. This alone prevented the Bill from passing before 1 June, meaning it couldn’t possibly apply to this year’s local elections.
Seeing the writing on the wall, as well as our campaign (and public anger) heating up, Labour decided that the only option was to make this U-turn.
Thanks to the support of thousands of Kiwis like you chipping-in to this effort, more than one million New Zealanders have seen our TV ad with targeted advertising across YouTube and Facebook.
The Government knew that from tomorrow our advertisements were hitting newspapers across the country, and we have TV ads slots booked from this weekend.
Seeing the media blitz coming, Jacinda Ardern's office read the writing on the wall.
This is proof that well-organised people-power can win even against a majority government beholden to a Maori caucus. Despite the best efforts of the anti-democracy movement, democracy still works.
Michael, you stood with us for democracy and told them no. This is your win. Thank you for making it possible.
Where to from here?
We have won this battle, but the war isn’t over. Tomorrow the fight continues against the rest of the anti-democracy movement’s attempts to divide New Zealanders by race and undermine equality of citizenship.
We understand there is a major Three Waters announcement from Nanaia Mahuta tomorrow morning at 11am.
Thank you for your support.
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.
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 www.ruleitout.nz 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 | Stuff.co.nzRead more
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.Read more
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
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: https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/polling_report
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.Read more
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.
Thank you for your support.
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.
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 https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/peter_clark_dear_former_new_zealanders
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. https://www.1news.co.nz/2021/12/04/educators-say-publishers-books-anti-maori-hateful-and-untrue/
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.
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 https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/new_zealand_not_aotearoa 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 https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/letter_to_jacinda
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 https://www.change.org/beaches4all
Frequently asked questions
- What is Hobson's Pledge? Hobson’s Pledge supporters think it is absurd to argue in the 21st century that people who chance to have a Maori ancestor, always with other ancestors too of course, should have superior rights to those who don’t. And utterly absurd that there are politicians who want to be taken seriously who still push this nonsense.
- What are the issues we're facing today?
- What are our campaigns?
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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.Read more