Review of local government reform proposals missed out the bit which favours citizenship entitlements based on race

Tim Murphy, co-editor of Newsroom, went out to bat for the Public Interest Journalism Fund in an email to his readers at the weekend.

He acknowledged that the fund, set up by the Ardern Government to support media companies and expand important news coverage through the pandemic and economic recovery, has its critics.

But he said it has been

“… a target of much lame criticism.”

He went on to explain that the $50m over three years isn’t all extra money (this shrinks the $55m sum involved in  other reports) and said:

“It takes over many millions in existing state funding for a range of news and journalism projects funded for years by NZ on Air.”

More emphatically he insisted:

It isn’t, as some critics claim, aimed at journalism that pushes Treaty of Waitangi principles or leftie woke agendas.

This is curiously defensive.

First, Point of Order is unaware of critics saying the fund has never been used for worthwhile projects.

Second, Newsroom (a recipient of funding) has earned its keep by contending that opposition to Three Waters is racist (HERE, for example)  :

And third, the eligibility criteria (made more explicit in a follow-up guide published in March) make plain what recipients must do to get their snouts into this trough.

Goals of the fund include

Actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi acknowledging Māori as a Te Tiriti partner. 

The first item listed on the general eligibility criteria calls for

Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Māori as a Te Tiriti partner


Applicants can show a clear and obvious commitment or intent for commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including a commitment to te reo Māori. This commitment will enhance public interest journalism, resulting in stronger Māori representation and greater bi-cultural collaboration within the wider journalism sector.

A day or two after Milne defended the fund, Jonathan Mile, managing editor for Newsroom Pro, gave readers a rundown on the Future for Local Government Review’s draft report.

Describing a breakdown in trust between central and local government, it recommends new funding tools to enable councils to do more – and indeed, just to enable them to perform the duties that Government has already heaped on them.

The report proposes specific changes to the allocation of roles and functions that affect local wellbeing, including in housing and urban development, public health, economic development, waste management, and building consenting.

But in a tacit nod to this Govt’s project to reverse 30 years of devolution, the panel also agrees that some local functions could be centralised, like animal control, sale of alcohol, and building regulations…

Milne notes that the terms of reference Mahuta set last year prohibit the review team from making recommendations on Three Waters or resource management reforms

“– but nonetheless, it does applaud the greater hapū/iwi participation these reforms envisage.

“The major reform programmes across government, including Three Waters and resource management reforms currently underway, are pushing and pulling the roles and functions that local government undertakes, with a tendency towards the centralisation/regionalisation of functions away from the local level.”

Milne proceeds to mention the draft report’s recommending the government should pay rates on Crown property.

And he mentions the recommendation that councils all switch from first-past-the-post voting to single transferrable vote – a system already used by some councils like Wellington.

“It argues that would enhance diversity – as would an improvement to councillors’ remuneration.”

But whoa.  Hasn’t Milne overlooked something that National and Act immediately railed against? 

We refer to the proposal to take the highly controversial and distinctly undemocratic Canterbury Regional Council model and extend it to all local authorities, enabling mana whenua to appoint their representatives to sit alongside the representatives elected by everybody else to sit at council tables.

The idea we should have two standards of citizenship based on ancestry for determining who governs us at the  local government level – in short – apparently was not worth mentioning.

2 thoughts on “Review of local government reform proposals missed out the bit which favours citizenship entitlements based on race

  1. You have ably demonstrated why any recipient of PIJF funding should be regarded as having has no credibility and no standing. It’s Ardern’s own Disinformation project.


  2. Odysseus, so true. People like Murphy and Mile have destroyed any credibility they ever had. What’s more, they know it and they know we know it. But the money’s there for the taking so who needs principles?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.