Co-governance presents a challenge to the fabric of democracy in New Zealand. Like many New Zealanders, Hobson’s Pledge firmly believes that a fair and democratic society requires equal representation and treatment under the law. With the election almost upon us, our priority is ensuring that whoever makes up the next Government agrees that all New Zealanders should be treated equally under the law and that co-governance is the anthesis of that.
Now is the time for action; to tell parties and candidates that co-governance is a significant issue for you. It is also the time to reach out to friends and family (even strangers) and make sure they are up to date with what is going on.
We will be sharing some different ways you can take action before October 14th. Including the easy-to-use tool that we've set up for you to reach your local candidates to tell them how you feel about co-governance.
Action 1: Ask Questions at Candidate Meetings
Gather insights into your candidates' stances on co-governance by posing questions at candidate meetings. Let's hold our candidates accountable and ensure they prioritise democracy, fairness, and transparency. 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?
Action 2: Inspire Change with a Text
Stand against co-governance by sending a message to your friends, urging them to vote for parties that oppose co-governance. Feel free to copy and paste the text, we've drafted a couple below:
“Hi there! I'm just reaching out because I'm really concerned about the direction New Zealand is going in. The upcoming election presents us with an opportunity to make it clear that we are not happy with how things are going. A crucial issue I believe we need to address is co-governance. It is fundamental to our democracy and equality that every Kiwi has equal rights under the law. Co-governance splits us in half 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."
Action 3: Writing to the Editor
Reach out to your local newspaper editors to express your thoughts on co-governance and its societal implications. We've simplified the process by providing direct links to the main regional papers' email addresses for submitting letters to the editor.
Send your letters to:
Action 4: Find out where the major parties stand on co-governance
Labour is in favour of co-governance and has implemented it in areas such as natural resources, public services, and the health system.
National is opposed to co-governance and believes that New Zealand’s public service should be governed under one system. However, they also believe that co-governance of natural assets involving iwi working with central and local government in the context of Treaty settlements is long-standing and they continue to support it.
Action 5: Find out where the minor parties stand on co-governance
The Act Party is opposed to co-governance and believes that it undermines the concepts of universal human rights and democracy.
The Green Party is in favour of co-governance. They believe co-governance arrangements should be implemented in local government and that it is essential to partner with local iwi and hapū.
The Māori Party
The Māori Party is in favour of co-governance and advocates for their whanau, Hapū, and Iwi in Government to “realise the true intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.
New Zealand First
New Zealand First opposes co-governance and believes that democracy and co-governance cannot co-exist.
Democracy NZ opposes co-governance and stands for democracy and equality.
New Conservatives reject the unwanted proposals of divisive co-governance that are being forced on New Zealanders.
New Nation Party
Although New Nation Party has not publicly opposed co-governance, the party states its opposition to Three Waters and He Puapua, saying that we are one nation and one people.
The Opportunities Party
The Opportunities Party has not stated its position on co-governance.
Action 6: Remember key talking points
It is easy to get lost in the weeds of the issue and when discussing co-governance you can find yourself veering off on a tangent. Try to stick to the main points and keep it simple.
- Co-governance is anti-democratic
Modern liberal democracies are centred on the idea that each individual has the same rights, freedoms, and obligations. To differentiate based on race is entirely antithetical to democracy. Co-governance is predicated on the idea that one race of people are entitled to different rights and privileges purely by virtue of the race of their ancestors. In New Zealand we have seen local government become completely captured by co-governance with councils adopting structures that reserve voting seats for unelected iwi representatives. These are appointments and so cannot be held accountable for their actions by being voted out. The establishment of the Māori Health Authority split our system into Māori and non-Māori
- Co-governance does not work
Splitting our systems and creating a society of uneven rights does not even do what co-governance advocates claim it will. Māori health, education, and justice outcomes do not improve just because they have a separate system to go through. The Māori Health Authority is a good example of this. It was recently independently reviewed and although expressed in as polite terms as possible, the report was damning. From tensions between the Authority and the Ministry of Health to poor organisation and lack of strategy, the review deduced that there is no way projected goals for Māori health improvement were going to be met.
- Co-governance is expensive and bureaucratic
Where we have seen co-governance implemented in the public service it has resulted in the doubling up of roles and the blowing out of costs. Just look at Te Pukenga, the polytech super merger. In the fraught process of amalgamating the polytechs, Te Pukenga chose to create several duplicated highly-paid senior roles throughout the regions. They were hired to do the same role, but one was Māori and the other was non-Māori. If this practice is duplicated across the public service the cost to taxpayers is going to be immense. Additionally, it would be onerous to get anything done with twice the hands for anything to pass through.
- Co-governance fosters division
- Co-governance promotes inequality
Action 7: Tell your candidates about your bottom line
Bottom Line serves as a straightforward tool for you to inform your local candidates that your vote depends on their commitment to protecting democratic values. Simply provide your postcode, electorate, or Māori electorate, and your local candidates will be displayed. Customize our pre-made template to convey the message clearly: New Zealand does not want more co-governance.
This is the moment to take action, and we've made it easy for you to follow three simple steps demonstrating to our leaders that we reject policies and regulations that differentiate New Zealanders based on their ethnicity or ancestry.
Action 8: Just vote for change