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.
Most New Zealanders strongly believe that the country’s beaches and sea are part of our national heritage and should be in public hands. They share a sense of dismay that the National's law change resulted in opportunistic tribal groups to lodging hundreds of claims, covering every square inch of our coast many times over.
The Ngati Porou Bill is now before the Maori Affairs Select Committee. It was initially drafted by the former National Party Attorney General, Christopher Finlayson before National lost the 2017 Election. It has been carried forward by the Labour-led Coalition Government, although why is unclear, as you will find out by reading on.
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.