The first mistake National must fix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can we do?

For starters, take action by:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


UPDATE: the Select Committee tried to dodge your submissions

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

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

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

>>> HERE IS THE NEW LINK <<<

A brief recap:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Race-based restrictions WONT protect the Hauraki Gulf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Reasons:

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

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

 


Vigilance in Local Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

Council agenda available here

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

Council report on Maori Seats available here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


More erosion of democracy in local government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What should National prioritise in order to end division?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Did you see our final election newspaper ad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring on the 54th New Zealand Parliament.


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

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

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why is it all about race…….

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Co-governance is an attack on our democracy.

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

Click here to find out where the parties stand

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

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


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.

>>HAVE YOUR SAY AUCKLAND<<

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.

>>HAVE YOUR SAY KAPiTI<<

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."

and

"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.  

ASK QUESTIONS AND DEMAND ANSWERS OF YOUR CANDIDATES 

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.

DON BRASH: 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.


You have every right to be upset about this

There has been an outcry in recent weeks about the race-based differentiation of access to, and allocation of, health services. The spotlight on health came from the confirmation that identifying as Maori is a factor in determining a patient’s position on surgical waiting lists.

This discrimination is not new but has been escalated by the establishment of the Maori Health Authority. 

The severing of our health system into two was opposed and challenged by academics, health professionals, and those of us who believe all New Zealanders should be treated equally and that allocation of services should be based on need, not race.

And wouldn't you know it, all of our concerns, fears, and submissions have come to fruition in a review of the Maori Health Authority released by the Ministry of Health at the end of last week.

I won't bore you with all 36 pages of review, but there are some excerpts of interest. In particular, the document reveals multiple pressure points where the views of Te Aka Whai Ora (Maori Health Authority), Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ), and Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) have tensions and disagreements. Despite splitting our health system in two there are concerns that the existence of the MHA might take away from Health NZ's "Māori capability". 

"...challenges arose in the relationship between those Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora managers due to differing views on how the strategy development process should run. This has yet to be resolved."

"Tension surfaced between Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora with regard to their respective roles of monitoring in the system...

"The interim Hauora Māori Strategy is expected to be delivered by June 2023. However, tensions described between Manatū Hauora and Te Aka Whai Ora teams working on this require an intentional reset of the ways of working."

"Concerns were raised about staff transfers not being focused on the critical skills and expertise needed, and on the potential for the focus on Māori personnel / team transfers to diminish Te Whatu Ora’s own Māori capability."

Additionally, the review found that the promised gains in outcomes were not going to eventuate due to a number of issues:

"The Board appears to have made little progress in establishing a governance level risk monitoring and management framework, despite repeated requests."

"Te Aka Whai Ora staff have significant workloads and are struggling with forward planning."

"Projected underspend from finance of approximately $66m means the highly anticipated boost in services for Māori will not be fully realised in FY22/23."

"Organisation-wide planning and prioritisation work for FY22/23 is evident, but below the level of the SOI and SPE..."

"...discretionary choices made by the Board and/or executive have occasionally detracted from Te Aka Whai Ora’s delivery of its core functions."

"...there have been delays in the development of the monitoring framework due to insufficient deployment of resource (capacity) and capability to date, and this area not being sufficiently prioritised."

"...we tried to source a Board-approved implementation plan that outlined the Year One priorities for Te Aka Whai Ora and set out the detail on how these will be planned, delivered, managed and monitored...There appears to be no such overarching plan." 

David Seymour called it “a damning assessment of the Maori Health Authority that shows that it has failed on every level." While, National's Dr Shane Reti said:

“Labour’s bureaucratic health restructure has cost taxpayers half a billion dollars, and for there to be no plans or details for a whole year on how to better improve Maori health is shocking. No other public service would be allowed to operate like this.”

The defence that it is early days for the Authority should be rejected outright as the criticism is not limited to outcomes but also notes failure to even establish targets and performance indicators.

Of course, the Maori Health Authority is doomed to fail as there is simply no empirical evidence that outcomes are impacted due to systemic racism or, more fundamentally, because they are Maori.

The New Zealand Initiative completed a detailed review on the matter and made the case for equal treatment. 

In the foreword of the Initiative's report, Emeritus Professor Des Gormon, professor of medicine at the University of Auckland, says:

“We can all agree that the time to address the underlying causes of this [health outcome] inequality is well overdue. However, what is needed are objective data about what leads to improved outcomes rather than political rhetoric."

Another report, produced last month by Tailrisk Economics’ Ian Harrison, highlights the same lack of evidence.

Read the Tailrisk Economics Report here.

The research report concludes with an extract from the 'Waitangi Tribunal 2000 Napier Hospital Report' which states:

“The chief difficulty with the claimants’ position is not the goal of equal health outcomes but the one-track focus on healthcare services as the means to achieve it. More ambulances under the cliff cannot remove the factors causing people to fall off.”

This Government has staunchly held their position that racism is the cause of all failure to improve Maori outcomes and have refused to listen to medical professionals and academics with evidence to the contrary.

In April 2022, co-leader of the Maori Party, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer also promoted the idea that the MHA would be a fix-all: 

“With the establishment of the Māori Health Authority a new era in Māori health is arriving. It’s crucial that this is done right, and there is no other way of guaranteeing that than letting Māori lead. We must not have a situation where the Māori Health Authority can be vetoed or underfunded by Pākehā bureaucrats.”

Despite the establishment of this Maori Health Authority, in the general health system wait-listing has become race-based, grocery vouchers have been offered to Maori women in exchange for getting mammograms, and, most recently, $100 worth of Prezzy cards to entice pregnant Maori women to attend two prenatal appointments.

Maybe Minister of Maori Development, Willie Jackson was correct when he stated in May:

“Most Maori are not attached to a lot of our Maori organisations.”

And yet, the Government is ploughing on with these separatist systems.

As a nation, we were sold the importance of co-governance as being THEsolution for resolving inequity. 

Friday’s MHA report demonstrates everything we have criticised in co-governance – added cost, increased bureaucracy, lack of accountability – and NO IMPROVEMENT IN OUTCOME.

For better outcomes, and for New Zealand, we must end co-governance. 

Sign our petition for equality in healthcare.

P.S. Take a moment to check out our billboard, now live in Lower Hutt. Thank you for your ongoing support in making this possible... let’s make sure everyone knows what is at stake this election.

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


How we are taking action to protect democracy

New Zealanders are being led to believe that co-governance is necessary, inevitable, and does not impact our democracy.

It is nothing to be scared about, according to our current Prime Minister. One person, one vote is too simplistic, says the Prime Minister before him.

WE ARE BEING LIED TO. 

Co-governance is not co-operation and consultation as we are being told. It is division and discrimination.

Co-governance is the appointment of the unelected onto councils and in roles that make important decisions simply because they are Maori. Democracy does not exist where 50% of the decision makers are not elected. Nor where 20% or 1% are not elected.

Democracy is equal suffrage. Equal voting rights. You can't have a partial democracy. It is all or nothing.

As highly respected economist Thomas Sowell says:

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

When decisions are made by those who cannot be voted out when they get it wrong, and who have no mandate through a democratic process, our democracy is lost.

I will say it again: co-governance is the appointment of the unelected, to make decisions that will affect us all.

This election we are voting to protect our rights to make sure the power of government remains with those who are elected by the people of New Zealand.

Never before has it been more important to have your voice heard.

You will hear a lot of discussion about co-governance in the weeks leading up to the election and you will hear lots of commentary about democracy. You may even spot a billboard or two...

We will be working to counter the false and sanitising narrative that co-governance is an obligation and therefore a done deal. 

New interpretations of the Treaty are used to make outrageous claims about what the Government 'owes' Maori, but we have an existing system to deal with historic wrongs and we should be avoiding racialising the future of our country at all costs. 

Co-governance isn't a power tussle between Maori and white New Zealanders. It isn't just those with European ancestry who are on the other side of this division of our country. It also involves every single New Zealander from any one of the around 200 ethnicities represented here. 

Why should any New Zealander - of any ancestry - have less of a say in electing representatives and decision makers?

In the next few weeks Hobson’s Pledge is rolling out a plan to empower you to fight alongside us to defend our democracy.

Our first tool is coming next week. It will allow you to easily and quickly send a message to the candidates for your electorate to inform them that a commitment to ending co-governance is your bottom line. It also will lay out for you the positions of each party on co-governance. 

Please use the tool and then please share it around your friends and family. 

We will also be spreading the 'End Co-governance' message throughout the country on billboards, radio, and print media.

Thank you for all you have done to make this action possible. Everything is at stake. I will be in touch next week with the Bottom Line tool.


Online speech regulator to protect Maori rights...what about everyone else?

With all that has happened this week, and with the focus on the election, I am asking you to take a moment to speak up for equal speech rights.

The Department of Internal Affairs released a proposal for a new way to regulate social media and traditional media platforms.

Like any proposal that comes from this Government, the recommendations in this document are yet another departure from equality before the law. Among the many proposed changes, there are specific protections proposed for Maori to be able to speak freely without the limitations applied to others.

This is an outrageous affront to the human rights of every New Zealander who does not have Maori heritage. It is vital that we respond to these proposals with strong opposition. 

We have provided some information and suggested comments on our website and a link to the tool on the Free Speech Union website.

It is clear that there is an intention to restrict open dialogue in media and on online platforms. What is very important for Hobson's Pledge supporters like you to know, is that these kinds of restrictions would apply directly to the communications from advocacy groups. We cannot allow ideological regulators the power to shut down the work that we do.

I know this is yet another submission tool, but this is about what information you will be able to see online in the future. It is about what groups like Hobson's Pledge will be able to talk to supporters about. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is another attack on the fundamentals of democratic engagement.

Please make a submission today. 

Do it today. There are just five days until submissions close.

As we defend our democracy this election, the reality is that without the ability to share information and engage in public discourse we would have already lost.

Please take the time to make your voice heard, before it is too late.


82 days until the election: time to dig deep

As you probably heard over the weekend, our spokesperson Casey Costello has announced her intention to run for a seat in Parliament.

She has fronted for Hobson’s Pledge on many challenging issues and we are in no doubt that she would make a fantastic Member of Parliament, taking up the issues we all care about to those in power.

We are so proud of Casey for her boldness and the principled way in which she has represented us, and for having the courage to put her hand up for this next challenge.

As Hobson’s Pledge isn’t aligned to any political party, Casey has stepped down as our spokesperson and as a trustee. I’m sure you will join me in thanking her for her service.

The fight goes on and with 82 days until Election Day we are kicking things up a notch!

You will be hearing more from me over the next few months. We have a full plan for how we can maximise the time we have left to persuade New Zealanders we must act now to save our democracy.

We will be providing you with tools to reach your candidates and with advice on how to talk to the people in your life. We will also be running awareness and education campaigns online to reach New Zealanders who still don’t understand what co-governance is and why it is a terrible problem.

The costs of this all add up. We cannot defeat our well-resourced opponents without resourcing ourselves as best we can.

If you feel strongly, as we do, that this election is make or break for New Zealand, please consider donating what you can afford to this cause.

New Zealand is relying on us to demand that our politicians reverse the path of division and return us to a democratic state of equal rights before the law.

82 days. We have to throw everything at them.


Why I am stepping down as spokesperson of Hobson’s Pledge

It has been an honour (and sometimes a challenge!) to be a spokesperson for Hobson’s Pledge for the past seven years, but I am now stepping down.

I am leaving, not because I no longer believe in the cause, but because I think I can best serve in another way, by getting a seat in Parliament.

I am excited to announce I have accepted New Zealand First’s nomination to stand as a candidate at the upcoming election. Since Hobson’s Pledge is mission-driven and not party aligned, this means I must stand down as a spokesperson and trustee.

I’m sick to death of listening to political parties avoid the reality that race-based division has foisted upon us. I’m also sick of listening to many Maori politicians stand on the shoulders of our most vulnerable in order to chase power, status, and relevance. Instead of delivering practical outcomes they have perpetuated an environment of despair and robbed our young people of opportunity to excel through a narrative of victimhood.

You can be confident that I will approach politics in the same manner I have approached my work with Hobson’s Pledge, with equality under the law as my fundamental bottom line. 

Reflecting on my time at Hobson’s Pledge, I am proud of the work we have done on a range of issues. I’m particularly proud of how we have been able to reach out to so many New Zealanders, expanding our supporter base to around 160,000 people. It is hard to believe we are such a big team.

Seven years ago, almost to the day, I met with a group of New Zealanders who believed all Kiwis should be treated equally before the law, irrespective of when we or our ancestors arrived in this country.

From this meeting Hobson’s Pledge was established.

Hobson’s Pledge resonated with me because differentiating the rights of New Zealanders based upon ancestry is wrong. Although I am incredibly proud to whakapapa to Ngapuhi/Ngati Wai, I am equally proud of my Anglo-Irish ancestors who first came here in the 1860s. Becoming a nation where ethnicity differentiates your rights as a citizen is unacceptable. Too many individuals, without elected authority, claim to speak for ALL Maori and promote a narrative of despair that does no good for anyone, particularly Maori.

I have been proud to stand next to Don Brash advocating for equality before the law. It still baffles me that our consistent calls for equal rights have been cast as somehow racist by certain sections of the media and political class.

As it turned out advocating for better outcomes based on need, not race, was enough to be condemned as racist regardless of my ethnicity.

Despite the often vitriolic attacks by a small number of New Zealanders, I have been immensely privileged to be able to give a voice to an issue that needs to be shouted from the roof tops. Our democracy and equal rights are too important to allow anyone to be bullied into silence.

Over the years, we have worked to change the political agenda under both National and Labour-led Governments. It is important to remember that, despite the extraordinary acceleration of anti-democratic policies under this current Government, systems of co-governance have been implemented by both Labour and National and that, no matter the result of this election, we must continue to advocate for equality before the law.

Hobson’s Pledge has been able to empower many Kiwis to feel okay to talk about race-based division honestly. We have been able to expose appalling legislation and create a political will to stand against race-based policy.

I don’t believe it is hyperbole to say that this election is the most important in my lifetime. It will determine what type of country our children’s children will inherit.

The dial needs to be shifted substantially and that needs to happen through pressure both inside and outside Parliament. I am going to do my very best to get my foot in the door.

Hobson’s Pledge is in great hands, and I will remain a committed supporter of the cause and the other trustees.

For now, I thank you for your willingness to engage with, fund, and support the work of Hobson’s Pledge. Without you, none of the work of the past seven years would have been possible.

If you would like to stay in touch you can connect with me here.

It has been a pleasure fighting the good fight with you.



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