Brian Easton: Co-Governance

THE (new) Prime Minister said nobody understands what co-governance means, later modified to that there were so many varying interpretations that there was no common understanding.  BRIAN EASTON writes:

Co-governance cannot be derived from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It does not use the word. It refers to ‘government’ on only three occasions.

Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions. (Article 4)

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration … (Article 41) Continue reading “Brian Easton: Co-Governance”

THOMAS CRANMER: Three Waters and He Puapua

Despite the protestations of the Minister, the recommendations of the controversial He Puapua report are deeply embedded in Three Waters.  THOMAS CRANMER reports –

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the current government’s policies concerning co-governance, that the recommendations set out in the controversial report, He Puapua, are deeply embedded in the Three Waters reforms – particularly in relation to the operation of Te Mana o te Wai.

He Puapua is a report prepared for the then Minister for Maori Development, Nanaia Mahuta in 2019. It was commissioned by Cabinet to be the pathway for New Zealand to meet its commitment to the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples. Essentially, it is the road-map for Maori co-governance by 2040, the 200-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As we now know, Minister Mahuta directly appointed her family member, Waimirirangi Ormsby, to the working group which authored the report, with another family member, Tamoko Ormsby, featuring as a contributor. Amongst the numerous contracts and appointments awarded to family members of the Minister over last 3 years, it is this appointment that Act’s David Seymour identified as being “a clear breach of the Cabinet Manual”.

Continue reading “THOMAS CRANMER: Three Waters and He Puapua”

Graham Adams: Jacinda Ardern and the Ghost of David Lange


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The Prime Minister is increasingly looking like a political hostage as Nanaia Mahuta presses on with the Three Waters reforms. Graham Adams sees history rhyming as her powerful Maori caucus flexes its muscles.

David Lange is one of the most tragic figures of our modern political history. Highly articulate and entertaining, he was ushered into power in a landslide in 1984 during an economic and financial crisis. Feted as the youngest Prime Minister of the 20th century, he dazzled the nation with his wit and intellect.

By the time he resigned in 1989, however, he was seen as a weak and malleable leader who had backed policies he would later regret supporting. Furthermore, the fact that his party did not advertise its radical economic agenda before the 1984 election has tainted the legacy of the Fourth Labour government ever since.

It took a while before it became clear that Lange was using his larger-than-life persona and seductive oratory to sell a transformation of New Zealand’s economic landscape on behalf of a powerful cabal in his Cabinet whose intentions he seemed not to fully comprehend.

Eventually it became obvious that he was the monkey and Roger Douglas and his neoliberal Rogernomes were the organ-grinders. As columnist Bruce Jesson put it in 1986, the charismatic Lange was “perfectly suited to the superficial politics of the television age” but he was “swept along by events beyond his control”.

It seems likely that Ardern will end up being viewed in a similar way. When she was anointed by Winston Peters in 2017, she was feted as the youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years, before being returned to power three years later in a landslide in response to a pandemic.

Her charisma and glamour are perfectly suited to the superficial politics of the social media age but she is obliged to dance to the tune played by Nanaia Mahuta, Willie Jackson and the Maori caucus — and by the others in her Cabinet, including David Parker and Andrew Little, who support their revolutionary agenda. Continue reading “Graham Adams: Jacinda Ardern and the Ghost of David Lange”

We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first)

Latest from the Beehive –

The last item we recorded after monitoring the Beehive website yesterday was headed E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka tū ā tērā tau.  The accompanying news dealt with a government decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition and Māori Language Day as a major anniversary next year

“The Māori language petition, supported by 30,000 signatories, was presented to Parliament on the 14th September 1972 by representatives of Ngā Tamatoa, Victoria University’s Te Reo Māori Society and the NZ Māori Students Association. This is an important opportunity to pay further tribute to their hard mahi.”

This doesn’t mean the government approves so glowingly of all hard mihi that goes into gathering signatures for petitions.

Earlier this year it rammed into law the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill, which removes the right for a petition signed by five per cent of electors or more in a local authority area to trigger a binding poll on the introduction of Māori wards.

More changes that comprehensively change the country’s democratic constitutional and governance arrangements and the management of public services are in the offing. Continue reading “We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first)”

Waititi is championing a Treaty-based system of government – and we shouldn’t be surprised that democracy is not the objective

Democracy means government by the people, or a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

It is a state of society characterised by formal equality of rights and privileges.

And (in this definition, at least) it features 

 … the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

Right there we can see why democracy might be problematic for Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi, who would have surprised nobody when he outlined his vision for a ‘tiriti-centric Aotearoa’ where the majority doesn’t rule over Māori

In other words, he wants Maori to be politically privileged.   

When he said this, he drew attention to a reality which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her ministers won’t publicly acknowledge – that our democracy is being gradually debilitated by measures her government (and its predecessors) have introduced or may introduce, depending on the outcome of consultations with some “key” Maori tribes on the controversial governance proposals promoted in the He Puapua document.

This is a so-called “independent” report into how New Zealand could fulfil its obligations to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the country signed up to in 2010. Continue reading “Waititi is championing a Treaty-based system of government – and we shouldn’t be surprised that democracy is not the objective”