Hard on the heels of support for democracy in Hong Kong, Mahuta welcomes acceptance of New Caledonia governance vote

Just as we were encouraged yesterday by Nanaia Mahuta’s railing against the undermining of the democratic electoral system in Hong Kong, today we are encouraged by her acceptance of a referendum outcome in New Caledonia.  

Mind you, there is nothing like the Treaty of Waitangi in Hong Kong or New Caledonia to temper her zeal for good democratic processes.     

In today’s waving of the flag for democracy, Foreign Affairs Minister Mahuta has welcomed the fact the referendum process to determine the future status of New Caledonia had been calm and secure.

“We support the right of all peoples to self-determination, as expressed under international law,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

And when a majority of voters have determined what should happen?

Mahuta says the people then should live with the result

“Aotearoa New Zealand now encourages all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in the post-referendum transition process in the spirit of the Nouméa Accord.” Continue reading “Hard on the heels of support for democracy in Hong Kong, Mahuta welcomes acceptance of New Caledonia governance vote”

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)”

Iwi were given voting rights on Hastings council committees in 2019 – and now the Maori voice is being amplified

Two years ago we reported on the Battle of Hastings, 2019. On one side, the stalwarts of democracy were intent on defending their concept of the best form of government for their district.  On the other side were the champions of attenuated lines of accountability between citizens and those who govern them.

The democrats were outnumbered and the Hastings District Council voted to fortify iwi influence by appointing four members of the Maori Joint Committee to the council’s four standing committees with voting rights.

Waatea News reported news of the vote under the heading Hastings to hear Māori voice.

This mischievously overlooked the full contents of a council press statement which noted: Continue reading “Iwi were given voting rights on Hastings council committees in 2019 – and now the Maori voice is being amplified”

Luxon might consider asking about the need for iwi appointees to sit on council committees after Maori wards are established

National’s local government spokesman, Christopher Luxon, said his party welcomed the review of local government recently announced by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

National supported the Future of Local Government review, he said.

But he cautioned that the Ardern government had shown time and again it has an appetite for amalgamation.

He referenced charter schools, polytechnics and DHBs.

“This review cannot become a byword for centralisation or an opportunity for power to be taken away from ratepayers. It’s crucial that outcomes are led by communities, not by central government.”

 But Luxon didn’t make much fuss (not that we could find, at least) when the Wellington City Council voted to give voting rights to iwi representatives appointed to sit on an array of council committees at the same time as it was considering proposals (since given the go-ahead) to introduce a Maori ward. Continue reading “Luxon might consider asking about the need for iwi appointees to sit on council committees after Maori wards are established”

The rot of local government democracy – Wellington citizens are deemed unfit to comment and Tauranga is run by Mahuta’s commissioners

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s intentions were plainly proclaimed soon after the Ardern Government began its second term.  She was determined to remove legislative machinery that enabled public polls to be conducted when councils attempted to create Māori wards.

The headline on an RNZ report summed up her commitment: Mahuta vows to clear obstacles to creating Māori council wards

She has been dismayingly successful, from the perspective of citizens anxious to buttress democratic electoral and governance arrangements against the fast-spreading erosion when special provisions for Maori are introduced.

First, she led the charge in ramming the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill through Parliament under urgency.

As National MP Nick Smith recalled at the time of the bill’s rapid passage into law, Mahuta had been in Parliament in 2002 when the law that allowed referendums to be conducted on Māori wards had been passed in 2002. Continue reading “The rot of local government democracy – Wellington citizens are deemed unfit to comment and Tauranga is run by Mahuta’s commissioners”

Oh dear – see who was offended when Goldsmith called for Kiwis to be treated equally in electoral arrangements

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s parents – according to a report in Stuff – delivered some strong mantra to live by.  One of them: “Don’t accept, you push back, be provocative, but always be respectful.”

But what happens when political opponents don’t accept, push back and  – dare we suggest it? – are a mite provocative?

Why, you interrupt their speech and complain you have taken offence as tangata whenua.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, of course, is the Maori Party co-leader who now sits in Parliament promoting a political agenda that promotes the interests of Maori.

She has an aptitude for spicing her rhetoric with hyperbole while championing their cause:

“I stand here as a descendant of a people who survived a Holocaust, a genocide, sponsored by this House and members of Parliament whose portraits still hang from the walls.

The aforementioned Stuff report notes she stood for and was elected to the South Taranaki District Council and was deputy mayor between 2007-2010.

Nevertheless she argues for all local and regional councils to be required by law to establish at least one Māori ward in their area.

On the other hand, she bridles at the suggestion other ethnic groups should be entitled to electoral arrangements that ensure their representation.  

This became evident when National’s Paul Goldsmith was questioning why separate seats in Parliament based on ethnicity should be extended to local government.

Hansard records what he said next:

So it is a question of extending that focus on difference and dividing the country on ethnic lines in the way that we organise our democracy at the local government level. I can imagine that there are many people in Auckland, where I come from, which is an intensely multicultural society, with many people of different cultures, wondering, “Well, hang on, why is it that all other New Zealanders are treated one way and Māori are treated another way when it comes to how we organise the local government elections?” Yes, and so people rightly … 

We didn’t get to hear the rest of the sentence because Ngarewa-Packer interrupted to raise a point of order.

As tangata whenua, I take personal offence to what is being said by the member.

When National’s Nick Smith spoke to the point of order, she cut him off too.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Speaking to the point of order. I listened very carefully to what my colleague Goldsmith said, referring to the way in which Auckland was—

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Point of order. I am tangata whenua, I can say how I feel. As tangata whenua, I take personal offence to what is being said by the member.

Nick Smith had cause to complain about being interrupted while speaking on a point of order.

Assistant Speaker Jenny Salesa – curiously – disagreed.  Moreover, without hearing arguments in response to Ngarewa-Parker’s point of order, she required Goldsmith to apologise.

But apologise for what?

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Madam Speaker, it’s very unconventional for a member in the middle of a point of order to have another member simply stand up and interrupt them, and is not consistent with the way in which the House is run. The point I wish to make—

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Jenny Salesa): The member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s point of order was before your point of order. Can you please take a seat, the Hon Dr Nick Smith. So let me deal with Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s point of order. She took offence to what you said, the Hon Paul Goldsmith, as tangata whenua. Can you please withdraw and apologise.

Nick Smith tried again.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Point of order, Madam Speaker. Simply because a member may have a particular view about a privileged status of a group of New Zealanders, surely this cannot mean that my colleague Mr Goldsmith, whose comments were simply around the lines of Auckland being a multicultural city with people of multiple different ethnicities, somehow being offensive and being required to withdraw and apologise. Wokeness is not part of the Standing Orders of our Parliament. The member should not be required to withdraw and apologise for such inoffensive, normal remarks.

The Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick then pitched in (no guesses on which side of the argument).

Chlöe Swarbrick: Speaking to the point of order, Madam Speaker, if I may, in contributing. The contributions of the Hon Paul Goldsmith spoke to the supposed privileged status of tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you look at any statistics, we find that tangata whenua do not occupy that space of privilege.

And then Goldsmith grabbed a chance to find what exactly he must apologise for.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Can I just have a simple point of order. I’d just like to understand what you are asking me to apologise for. What particular words are you asking me to apologise for?

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): So the point of order that the member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer raised was that she was personally offended when you called tangata whenua being of a certain status. Can we move forward from here and can you just complete your speech, the Hon Paul Goldsmith.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Sorry I can’t apologise for something that I’m not quite clear what it is, what specific words—and maybe the member can help me—I said that the member requires me to apologise for. A general feeling? I’m just not quite clear what it is.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): Can I please have further clarification from the member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer about what she found so offensive.

And so  Ngarewa-Packer was given a platform to explain her grievance (and after she explained it, at Point of Order we remained bewildered).

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Thank you, Madam Chair. There was an offence of privileged implication and there was an offence that we belong all in one. Tangata whenua are not multicultural; we are tangata whenua. We need to stop being drifted and floated into every little pool or blanket that you believe we belong in culturally. We have a status: it’s tangata whenua.

National’s Michael Woodhouse meanwhile had been trawling through the rule book to find if Ngarewa-Packer had a case for demanding an apology.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Speaking to that point. I’m very much trying to find the appropriate Speakers’ ruling on the taking of offence. There is a Speakers’ ruling that says that somebody cannot take offence on behalf of another member. The inference in that Speakers’ ruling is that a class of persons, also, a member could not take offence on that. I would argue that the comments made by Mr Goldsmith were debating points. If we come to a point where people can take offence on generalisation, general comments that are otherwise within Standing Orders, I’m afraid that we’re going to get into a situation where we’re going to have a lot of it. Can I also just, while I’m on my feet, make another comment for your consideration? When Dr Nick Smith spoke to the original point of order and was interrupted by Ms Ngarewa-Packer, that was not in order. He had a right to finish his point of order without interruption, and you enabled her to basically cut across that. So I’d like you to consider both of those two points.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): So we have had this discussion. The member has raised that she has been offended. My ruling is that we just move on and to rule that when a class is offended as a class, tangata whenua, would be a significant point of order for me to rule on. I now ask the member if he would like to complete his speech in the last 12 seconds, he is most welcome to.

Twelve seconds left, huh!

Goldsmith gave it a go, only to have Swarbrick interject.

Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: So as I was saying, before I was interrupted—

Chlöe Swarbrick: What, race baiting?

This (inevitably) triggered another point of order.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Point of order. Madam Chair, I’m sure Mr Goldsmith won’t ask for a withdrawal, but the accusation by one member to another that that member is race baiting is clearly unparliamentarily language and shouldn’t be used.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): The member the Hon Michael Woodhouse is not able to take offence on behalf of another member. We shall move on. Six seconds.

Goldsmith at long last finished with time for just one succinct sentence:

Well, what I’m saying is that the inference of this bill is that this Government does not trust the judgment of New Zealanders.

Exactly.

Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union  has drawn attention to a significant constitutional issue regarding our right to be consulted fairly on laws which affect our voting rights.

It’s the suggestion (the union said “disclosure”) that Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahata gave local councils advance notice of her Māori wards legislation and the short time that would be allowed for public submissions. 

The Minister had given her allies a five-day head start to prepare submissions on the Bill to entrench Maori wards, union spokesman Jordan Williams contended.

Members of the public, on the other hand, were given just one day’s notice to prepare for “the disgracefully short two-day submission window.”

Williams insisted:

“The Minister knew perfectly well what she was doing. The decision to warn her mates before blindsiding the general public can only be read as a cynical attempt to manipulate the consultation process and limit the contributions of New Zealanders opposed to the Bill.”

This compromising of the process warranted the Speaker reopening the calling of submissions, Williams said. Continue reading “Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill”

New law will ease the supply of state aid to firms floundering in lockdown – another funding option is to produce propaganda

LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

Uh, oh.  More urgency is afoot in the law-making department.

But the latest one is not as egregious as the urgency given to the passage of legislation to facilitate the introduction of Maori wards in local government.

Legislation will be introduced under urgency today to set up a new Resurgence Support Payment for businesses affected by any resurgence of COVID-19.

There has been a resurgence of COVID-19.  There no longer is an issue around the under-representation of Maori on local authorities (although the facts are scandalously ignored by leftie MPs who parrot canards to the contrary).

The Resurgence Support Payment for businesses scheme was announced in December.

The government aims to reduce the time over which a revenue drop is assessed from 14 days to seven.

Among other new announcements from the Beehive:

  • Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor has congratulated Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her “ground-breaking” selection as the next Director General of the World Trade Organisation.
  • From 1 April, people getting a benefit will be able to earn more through work before their benefit payments are affected. Around 82,900 low-income people and families will be better off by $18 a week on average.
  • The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine – around 60,000 doses – arrived as airfreight at Auckland International Airport yesterday.

With regard to the legislation to be given urgency, Robertson explained:

“We acknowledge the concerns of the business community about Alert Level rises and have made this change as we want to get money out the door quickly to affected businesses.”

Firms that experience a 30 per cent drop in revenue over a seven-day period will be eligible. The payment would include a core per business rate of $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs ($21,500).

This payment recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when the government stepped up an Alert Level to follow public health advice. The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders.

“A decision on whether this support will come into effect will be made if there is an extension to the seventy-two hour increase in alert levels announced on Sunday night. If it does come into effect it will cover the initial 72 hour Alert Level rise as well,” Grant Robertson said.

The Government has a package of support available, in addition to this payment, including:

  • A new ShortTerm Absence Payment to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice. Further information about this payment is available on the MSD website.
  • The Leave Support Scheme helps businesses to help pay workers (including selfemployed) told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more a week and $350 for each employee working less than 20 hours a week. Information is available here.
  • The Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels three and four for a period of seven days. The support will be provided in two weekly payments for the duration of the alert level period, rounded to the nearest fortnight.  The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been very effective in keeping people in work so far with more than $14 billion paid out to protect 1.8 million jobs.

Other support includes the enhanced loan products Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, which is available to June 2021 and Small Business Cashflow Scheme.

More information can be found on the COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

And if you can’t get the money you need from those sources, you can always shut up shop as a business and turn to the art of propaganda.  Creative NZ is a generous funder, as the Taxpayers Union pointed out today after a play, named “Transmission”, received a $57,000 grant.  According to co-director Miranda Harcourt,

It is a verbatim stage-show drawn from our interviews with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson & leading epidemiologist Michael Baker around last year’s decision to lock down NZ in response to Covid-19 & its targeted elimination. It is a behind the scenes glimpse into how these remarkable people were thinking and feeling at the time. And into the life events that have shaped them as leaders.

Taxpayers Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says our  playwrights are welcome to produce obsequious propaganda, but taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund it.

He reckons this reeks of  a state-supported cult of personality that you’d expect in Kazakhstan or North Korea, not an egalitarian society like New Zealand.

He also notes that Creative NZ has previously handed out grants to commission poems on Newsroom attacking centre-right politicians, and opinion pieces on soft-socialist blogsite The Spinoff agitating for the Government’s Māori wards legislation. He is sure we have yet to see Creative NZ fund a single project that doesn’t fit “its politically correct, Wellington-centric, left-wing world view.”

Latest from the Beehive

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While an MP bridles against neckties, voters who oppose Maori wards are being told to get knotted

LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

While a Maori Party MP was grandstanding against colonial oppression and discrimination by refusing to wear a necktie in Parliament, the government was rushing the passage of a bill which will grant Maori a significant electoral advantage by subverting democracy at the local authority level. 

The grandstanding was done by Rawiri Waititi, who – when kicked out of Parliament on Tuesday for breaching a dress code that has since been changed – told Speaker Trevor Mallard: “It’s not about ties — it’s about cultural identity, mate.” He described a necktie as “a colonial noose”.

The bill being rushed into law removes voters’ right to veto the imposition of Maori wards on city and district councils.  This contradicts the Labour Party’s 2020 election manifesto, which stated:

“Labour will uphold local decision making in the democratic institutions of local government… Labour will ensure that major decisions about local democracy involve full participation of the local population from the outset.”

Yeah, right.

But under the Bill as it stands, tens of thousands of ratepayers in local authority areas where petitions have already been announced and signatures have been collected, will have their lawful democratic rights revoked.

As political commentator Karl du Fresne points out, the majority’s right to determine the form of local government representation in their communities is being scrapped to enable Maori (invariably part-Maori) candidates to bypass the need to win popular support.  Successful candidates will be responsible only to constituents who claim Maori ancestry. Continue reading “While an MP bridles against neckties, voters who oppose Maori wards are being told to get knotted”

Now that race-based wards can be introduced more easily, let’s brace for Auckland (and Parliament?) giving a stronger voice to Asians

An election has taken place and the democratic will of the people must be respected, Nanaia Mahuta proclaimed yesterday.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs she proceeded to declare:

“We confirm our support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.”

But as Minister of Local Government, Mahuta recently sacked the democratically elected members of the Tauranga City Council.  

And yesterday, in the same ministerial job, she set about rewriting the rules enabling voters in that city –  or any other local body area – to challenge the introduction of race-based Māori wards.

The Tauranga proposal would have gone to a referendum after a petition calling for a community vote met a necessary threshold under the law

RNZ reported at the weekend –

In August last year, councillors voted to introduce wards in the district where nearly 20 percent of the population is Māori.

If 5 percent of electors opposed this, a community wide vote was to be called.

Local electoral officer Warwick Lampp confirmed a petition calling for a vote reached the threshold of 4742 signatures.

But it’s not going to happen. Continue reading “Now that race-based wards can be introduced more easily, let’s brace for Auckland (and Parliament?) giving a stronger voice to Asians”