We can quietly accept what the governmet is trying to foist upon us or we can demand a debate:
Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says New Zealanders are being left out of important decisions by the Labour Government and today she has launched a campaign for Kiwis to ‘Demand the debate’.
“The Labour Government continues to make policy announcements that were never campaigned on and will have a significant impact on New Zealanders.
“From the Car Tax, cancelling promised infrastructure projects, the $785m Auckland cycle bridge, rushed law changes to deliver Māori wards, to the hastily announced oil and gas exploration ban; New Zealanders are starting to feel left out.
Not just starting to feel left out. We are being left out.
“At the same time more than 4000 children are left to grow up in motels, mental health services are in crisis, the Government is looking to criminalise speech they disapprove of and tell you what car you can drive.
“Let’s be clear, Labour was elected on a Covid-19 mandate and nine months later we are still waiting for border workers to be properly vaccinated and MIQ beds sit empty while migrant families wait in desperation to be reunited. We are still last in the developed world for Covid-19 vaccinations. Kiwis deserve better.
“Every week, I’m contacted by thousands of Kiwis who are worried they just don’t have a say in the future of their country anymore. They’re being kept in the dark and their questions go unanswered by Ardern’s Government. So today, we launch the first in a series of billboards on important issues that Kiwis deserve to have their say on.
“The first campaign relates to the Government’s 2019 He Puapua report. Kiwis were never told about it at the time and it was never campaigned on by Labour. It has recently been considered by Cabinet and is being consulted on with a select few New Zealanders.
“The He Puapua report contains recommendations for fundamental changes to our legal, constitutional, and democratic governance arrangements. Changes like separate health and justice systems, separate RMA rules, and separate electoral arrangements. These proposals must be taken to an election so all Kiwis can have their say.
“While they claim publicly it’s not their policy, the Labour Government has already started to implement large parts of He Puapua like Māori Wards and a Māori Health Authority, without the wide-ranging public debate that these changes deserve.
“The Government’s parliamentary majority is not a mandate for Labour to promote their ideological wish list. New Zealanders deserve a say on their country’s future and together we must demand the debate.”
Some background on He Puapua:
In 2019, the Labour-NZ First Coalition Government set up a Working Group to devise a plan to give effect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The vision laid out by the Working Group, in the document they called He Puapua, makes wide ranging and fundamental changes to our legal, constitutional, and democratic governance arrangements across New Zealand.
The Working Group behind He Puapua was given two months to draft their plan, and they themselves acknowledged in their plan that they have “been constrained by time, which has hindered our capacity to review and take into account relevant initiatives, policies and laws including recommendations of advisory and other working groups on related kaupapa.”
In line with their terms of reference, the mandate of the working group also ignored New Zealand’s previous position of support for the declaration, our past and present implementation of the Declaration, or whether a Declaration plan or engagement is required. (Pg 1 and 2).
To refresh everyone’s memory of the context in 2010 and the caveats that were put in place, the Declaration was signed in 2010 with the understanding that it:
- reaffirms the legal and constitutional frameworks that underpin New Zealand’s legal system, noting that those existing frameworks define the bounds of New Zealand’s engagement with the declaration.
- does not confer the right of veto over Government decisions.
Labour Ministers, and the Working Group, willfully ignored this information, instead choosing to dismiss the context in which the declaration was signed and push their own new agenda.
The Working Group report (He Puapua) was delivered to then Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta in late 2019. Against the advice of the Working Group, He Puapua was never released or acknowledged publicly by the Government at the time, nor was it sent to Cabinet for discussion.
Coalition Ministers in Cabinet were also not aware of it, and it wasn’t raised during the 2020 Election Campaign.
We’ll never know if its release would have made a difference in an election that was both dominated and derailed by Covid-19. But tht it wasn’t suggests those in the know thought it would and would hurt them.
You can find a copy of He Puapua here.
Even though He Puapua has finally been acknowledged as not being official Government policy, nearly two years after it was received by Nanaia Mahuta, Jacinda Ardern’s Government has spent that time implementing numerous recommendations from the report behind your back:
- Māori Wards in Local Government – Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta progressed legislation under urgency in Parliament, and against official advice, to establish Māori Wards. A recommendation of He Puapua – Pg 54.
The way this was done suggests a government that thinks democracy is only for some of the people.
- Separate Māori Health Authority – Health Minister Andrew Little has begun work on restructuring the Health Sector to create a two-tier system based on race. A recommendation of He Puapua – Pg 90.
Does anyone seriously think that the millions of dollars that will be wasted on the setting up and administration of a separate authority improve health outcomes for anyone?
- Education Curriculum – Education Minister Chris Hipkins is currently rewriting the compulsory history curriculum to reflect Māori History, colonization and the effects of power. A recommendation of He Puapua – Pg 38.
History is supposed to help us understand and learn from the past, not indoctrinate us with dogma of the present.
- Water – The Labour Government established Te Mana o Te Wai, resource management reform that provides a role for Māori in decision-making, and work on Māori rights and interests in freshwater. A recommendation of He Puapua– Pg 66.
- Land – Department of Conservation (DOC) was consulting on proposals to transfer Public Conservation Land, reform conservation governance to reflect Treaty Partnership at all levels, and provide for the delegation, transfer and devolution of functions and powers within the conservation system to tangata whenua. A recommendation of He Puapua – Pg 65.
- Infrastructure – Nanaia Mahuta is working to establish four new super entities to manage drinking water and waste water. She is proposing that each entity is run on a co-governance model where half of entity board members will be elected and the other half represent mana whenua. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has pointed out this will mean the organisation will lack rate payer accountability and risks becoming self-serving.
The proposal is that water infrastructure owned by councils, paid for through rates and uses charges will be taken over by central authorities and half given to Iwi.
These are just a few examples of policy being implemented by Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Government. It would seem that He Puapua is Government policy in all but name.
In the spirit of being open and transparent, National has made its position clear on Labour’s plans. We believe many of their ideas are a step too far.
It is right that we acknowledge and address the wrongs of the past, which is why National continues to support targeted programmes based on need. We can also be proud of supporting initiatives like Kōhanga Reo; Kura Kaupapa Māori; Whare Wānanga and Whānau Ora, just to name a few. These initiatives demonstrate the commitment from National and National-led governments to upholding the Crown’s unique and enduring relationship with Māori.
Maori were wronged in the past and consequences of that are still being felt today but that is neither a reason nor an excuse to implement an undemocratic and separatist agenda.
We are better off addressing the flaws within the current systems that aren’t working for Māori. Ethnicity should not divide us. We are better together.
Putting resources – people and money – into addressing real problems of poverty, poor education and health, crime and other areas where Maori are over represented would do far more for all of us than most, perhaps all, the He Puapua recommendations the government is foisting on us.