Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

Monitoring the Ministers

Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.

Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.

The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.

Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura

“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”

A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.

“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”

Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed.  Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.

Health Minister Andrew Little and  Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies.

Fepulea’i Margie Apa has been appointed chief executive of interim Health New Zealand, and Riana Manuel (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Kahungunu) has been appointed chief executive of the interim Māori Health Authority.

Little emphasised the importance of ethnicity in considerations.  The appointees have strong connections to Māori and Pacific communities that have been underserved by our health system,

“… which will be essential to address the disproportionate health outcomes that have long affected our whanau. 

“Addressing inequity needs to be the responsibility of the entire health system, and we need to have these voices represented across all levels and organisations.”

Fepulea’i Margie Apa is an established New Zealand healthcare leader, the first Samoan leader to have been appointed as chief executive at Counties Manukau District Health Board. She chairs the National DHB Chief Executives Forum and has previous leadership experience at deputy director-general level in the Ministry of Health.

Riana Manuel is chief executive Officer of Hauraki Primary Health Organisation and Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki.

We now await publication of the New Zealand Health Charter, the document that will set the values of the public health system, as well as the Government Policy Statement on Health and an interim Health Plan

Locality planning pilots will begin early next year and the transfer of functions from DHBs and the Ministry of Health will begin later in the year.

Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority will become permanent entities on 1 July next year.  Margie Apa and Riana Manuel are expected to start in their new jobs in the first quarter of 2022.

But the most encouraging announcement was released by Nanaia Mahuta in her capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

She has gone out to bat for democracy.  Hurrah!

Mahuta was one of five signatories to a statement which chides China’s leaders for their  autocratic naughtiness in Hong Kong.

“We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, noting the outcome of the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong, express our grave concern over the erosion of democratic elements of the Special Administrative Region’s electoral system. Actions that undermine Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy are threatening our shared wish to see Hong Kong succeed.”

And so Mahuta is expressing concern about “the erosion of democratic elements” of the Special Administrative Region’s electoral system.

At first blush, we are greatly cheered.  Her concerns – dare we imagine it – are much the same as concerns harboured at Point of Order as race-based co-governance arrangements spread through the state sector and local government.  See here,  here and here.

The statement goes on:

“Since handover, candidates with diverse political views have contested elections in Hong Kong. Yesterday’s election has reversed this trend. The overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system introduced earlier this year reduced the number of directly elected seats and established a new vetting process to severely restrict the choice of candidates on the ballot paper.

“These changes eliminated any meaningful political opposition.”

We are minded of Maori tribal leaders increasingly demanding – or being allowed – to appoint themselves or their nominees into decision-shaping positions on  city and district councils.

Councillors who dare to express their opposition are apt to be denounced as racists.

The statement signed by Mahuta proceeded to complain that many of Hong Kong’s opposition politicians remain in prison pending trial, with others in exile overseas.

“We also remain gravely concerned at the wider chilling effect of the National Security Law and the growing restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, which are being felt across civil society.”

Can Mahuta recall Don Brash being barred from speaking at Massey University? 

And is she aware of the investigation that may result in the expulsion of two professors from the  Royal Society of New Zealand for opinions they expressed in a letter to The Listener?

Mahuta and her colleagues further said in their statement:

“NGOs, trade unions and human rights organisations not supportive of the government’s agenda have been forced to disband or leave, while media freedoms are being curtailed at pace.”

The curtailing of media freedoms?

While we wait to learn how hate laws now on the drafting board will affect the news media in New Zealand, it’s worth noting that one way of influencing what the news media report is to provide it with funding.

NZ On Air recently earmarked $9m for the latest funding round, the third drawn from the $55m Public Interest Journalism Fund announced in February.

According to the announcement: 

Demand was high from a broad spectrum of media organisations, with 82 initial applications collectively seeking $29,135,469.

In Round 3, 18 targeted role applications were recommended for total funding of up to $1,500,785.

Six organisations – Allied Press, Newshub, RNZ, Kōwhai Media, NZME and Stuff – will receive funding

“… for roles that will strengthen company-wide cultural strategies.”

It sounds like we are talking about acculturation, or social engineering, through the establishment – for example – of Partnership Editor positions, to

“… bring positive change to how the media engage with Māori and diverse audiences.”

But let’s get back to the statement signed by Mahuta and the other big-wigs:

“Protecting space for peaceful alternative views is the most effective way to ensure the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. We urge the People’s Republic of China to act in accordance with its international obligations to respect protected rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, including those guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

And if not – what then?

If Hone Harawira could be spared from health and safety duties in Northland, perhaps the government could despatch him to help sort out the mandarins in Beijing.

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A new rapid transit route now open in Auckland’s Eastern suburbs offers a dedicated urban busway, new pedestrian and cycling facilities, road and safety improvements, and upgraded stations in  stations in Pakuranga and Botany, leading to a safer, faster, and more reliable transport network, says Transport Minister Michael Wood.

2 thoughts on “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

  1. I feel sure that Mahuta, Davis, Henare ,and Little are taking the piss out of the New Zealand population. If not that she and the rest of the maori caucus are mentally deficient. Nobody in their right mind would vaccinate young healthy children with an unproven vaccine with proven adverse effects and unknown future long term detrimental consequences. They would have to be criminally insane.


  2. No disconnect. Mahuta is “indigenous”, which means in her view she enjoys rights that others don’t have. As for the Health “reforms”, how many of the Labour hierarchy use the private system?


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