Don Brash has become something of a lightning rod for free speech in New Zealand. In 2004, as leader of the National Party, it was over the Treaty of Waitangi. Now it’s over the right to free speech itself.
The Economic Development Minister recently dismissed surveys showing business confidence is at its lowest level in a decade, as "junk”. In doing so, he revealed the deep seated anti-business sentiment that pervades the Labour-led Government - along with an alarming ignorance over what makes a country prosper.
There is growing concern that local government is becoming more ‘activist’. Unfortunately ratepayers are not at the heart of their motivations. Before looking at examples, let’s examine how the new Labour-led Government is dealing with some of the constraints being faced by local authorities.
There are just over 20 days left to send the Government a message that you are not prepared to accept the economic consequences of their Zero Carbon Bill, which comes at a very high economic cost to all New Zealanders, reducing jobs, growth and living standards.
After months of procedural work, developments relating to the Marine and Coastal Area Act claims process are coming thick and fast. They include a new Bill in front of Parliament, a series of High Court case management conferences, the notification of priority claims for Crown Engagement, and a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry.
Last week the final referendum results for the five councils that had decided to introduce Maori wards against the wishes of their local electors were released. In each case, the public voted against their decision. The message from the results is that most New Zealanders do not want local government defined by race.
Over recent years the people of New Zealand have repeatedly spoken through binding polls held under the auspices of the Local Electoral Act concerning establishment of separate Maori representation in their local governments. As of May 19, five binding polls decisively vetoed Maori wards that elected representatives on their local councils tried to foist upon them.