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Dr Muriel Newman

Defending Democracy

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President Thomas Jefferson once said, “The best defence of democracy is an informed electorate.”  He was right, of course, but perhaps he should have added, “… that is prepared to act”, because these days, action is everything.

Action is indeed needed right now to defend a community’s democratic right to call a referendum if their local council decides to establish a Maori ward, since Local Government New Zealand is attempting to have this important public power abolished.

LGNZ, the lobby group for the country’s 78 local authorities, is calling for a law change to give councils the exclusive right to decide whether or not to create Maori wards. But questions are now being asked as to who is behind this campaign – more on that later.

It is indeed ironic that LGNZ, the ‘voice’ of local authorities that claims to be standing up for “Local democracy powering community and national success”, is now attempting to undermine ‘local democracy’ by abolishing a community’s right of veto over Maori wards. As the law currently stands, a council decision to establish Maori wards can be challenged if more than 5 percent of the electorate petition their council to hold a binding referendum.

LGNZ wants councils to be able to make decisions about Maori wards without the risk of being challenged by voters. So while they claim to support local democracy – it’s clearly only when they have the final say!

In an open letter to the coalition Government, the President of LGNZ, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, called for the removal of the Maori ward petition rights from the Local Electoral Act.

These petition rights were introduced by Helen Clark’s Labour Government in 2001, in recognition of the fact that the establishment of Maori wards represents a major constitutional change which should only proceed with the express approval of voters. The provisions were modelled on those for the other constitutional change in the Act, namely, changing the voting system for local elections.

So while LGNZ supports the constitutional right of locals to call for a referendum if their council changes the voting system, they want to take away their constitutional right to call for a referendum if their council establishes a Maori ward.

To justify this glaring inconsistency, LGNZ is claiming that introducing Maori wards is no different to creating other wards, and so the poll provisions need not apply.

But this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Boundary changes to create new wards do not change the basis on which councillors are elected, nor do they divide communities by race and force electors to vote on the basis of their ancestry. 

Since it appears that LGNZ did not consult with councils before launching their radical campaign to undermine local government democracy, who is the driving force?

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, political analyst and freelance journalist Michael Coote, has been investigating and believes that iwi leaders are calling the shots:

“The Iwi Chairs Forum (ICF) is a leading advocate of ‘Maori First’ racial chauvinism, imposition of associated rights and privileges for Maori not shared by other New Zealanders, and a strong and determined supporter of Maori co-governance in local authorities.  In early August, 2015, the ICF and LGNZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding between themselves in which they committed to work closely together…

“The apparent wellspring of LGNZ’s latest burst of activity over changing the Local Electoral Act in a way that will most benefit not ordinary electors or members of local communities, nor even necessarily LGNZ’s members, but LGNZ’s partner since August 2015, the ICF, and the Maori tribes and corporations the latter represents and whose interests it tirelessly promotes.  

“There is an appearance of conflict of interest in LGNZ’s public position as espoused in its open letter, which seems calculated to serve the wishes of the ICF, a race-based organisation that uniquely enjoys a Memorandum of Understanding-mandated ‘one-to-one relationship’ with the National Council of LGNZ.  The ICF could well have written LGNZ’s letter and may even have contributed to it.”

Back in 2015 the NZCPR outlined the danger of this Memorandum between LGNZ and iwi leaders, expressing concern over Clause 16(b), which states that the parties will reach a consensus on matters of strategic significance including “local democratic representation and decision-making”. With clause 17 stating, “The parties will work together to agree on specific projects that they will advance together”, it certainly appears that crushing the local government democratic rights of communities, by abolishing Maori ward petition rights, is their latest joint project.

Over recent months, communities in five local authority areas – the Western Bay of Plenty, Kaikoura, Manawatu, Whakatane, and Palmerston North – have called on their petition rights, to challenge the dictatorial decisions of their local councils to racially divide their communities through Maori wards.

In fact, over the years, dozens of ratepayer groups have used the provisions to bring their local councils back into line with the desire of their communities for unity.

Attempts to abolish public petition rights have also been tried in Parliament. In 2010, the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell used a Private Members Bill to try to abolish petition rights and force all councils to introduce Maori wards. The Local Electoral (Maori Representation) Amendment Bill was defeated by 57 votes to 64, with Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party in support, and National, ACT, and United Future opposed.

In 2017, Green MP Marama Davidson also used a Private Members Bill to attempt to remove petition rights by aligning the process by which councils establish Maori wards to that of general wards. The Local Electoral (Equitable Process for Establishing Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies) Amendment Bill would have put into law the demands made in a petition to Parliament by the former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd, who is now on an iwi-backed crusade to introduce compulsory Maori wards in all councils. His end goal is co-governance – 50:50 Maori to non-Maori representation. The Bill was voted down by 48 votes to 71, with the Greens, Labour, the Maori Party and United Future in favour, and National, New Zealand First and ACT opposed.

The Minister of Local Government and Maori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has already confirmed that she would like Maori ward petition rights abolished – as has the  Minister for Crown-Maori Relations, Kelvin Davis.

These Ministers have recently gained a new ally in the form of Marama Davidson, the newly elected Green Party co-leader, who claims that abolishing Maori ward petition rights is now her party’s primary objective.

What all of this means is that only two things stand in the way of a potential law change – New Zealand First and public opinion.

If New Zealand First stands firm on their pre-election promise to oppose race-based laws, there would be insufficient Parliamentary support for this anti-democratic law change to go through.

However, if New Zealand First rolls over – as they have already done on a number of occasions on issues where supporters would have expected them to take a stand – the only thing left is public opinion.

If the public at large were aware of the racial agenda that has now been set in motion, it would be much more difficult for the troika government to change the law. Unless those who do understand what’s going on help to raise awareness of this attack on our democratic rights, the iwi leaders, who are behind this campaign, will succeed in getting public petition rights removed. They want Maori Wards established throughout the country, with 50:50 co-governance their ultimate goal.

So what needs to be done to defend local government democratic petition rights?

Every member of the ruling LGNZ National Council needs to be contacted and individually asked whether they support this Maori sovereignty campaign by iwi leaders to undermine local government democracy – and if they don’t support it, what they intend doing about it.

The Mayor and councillors of each local authority – see HERE – should be asked the same questions, as should each Member of Parliament – see HERE.

In particular, Labour MPs need to be asked whether they will put the people first and defend the democratic safeguards that Helen Clark put into the Local Electoral Act – or whether they will put the iwi elite first and prioritise their demands to have these public powers removed.

Since the new Green co-leader claims her Party wants to remove local government Maori ward petition rights, all Green MPs should be asked whether the process they will be recommending for changing the Local Electoral Act will mirror their policy for changing the Electoral Act: “The Green Party will consider supporting changing to a new electoral system only if the new electoral system is approved by a free and fair referendum of all people… eligible to vote.”

Will Green MPs uphold their principles and require that any change to the Local Electoral Act should be “approved by a free and fair referendum” of all eligible voters?

Opposition MPs need to be asked what action they intend to take to uphold the democratic rights of New Zealanders and defend Maori ward petition rights.

In 2006, National MP Tony Ryall’s Private Member’s Bill would have removed all racially-based local government representation. In his speech to Parliament on the Local Electoral (Repeal of Race-Based Representation) Amendment Bill, he stated, “The National Party view is that race-based representation is no longer needed in New Zealand, either at a parliamentary level or a local government level. We believe that it is divisive.” The Bill was defeated by 56 votes to 62, with only National, New Zealand First, and an Independent MP supporting it.

Crucially, each member of New Zealand First also needs to be asked whether they will take a stand and defend the public’s right to local government democracy, by opposing any Bill that seeks to abolish Maori ward petition rights.

Since abolishing public powers is a highly controversial constitutional issue, one cannot rule out the Government attempting to change the law by stealth.

After all this is how a former Labour Government dealt with the extremely controversial issue of banning corporal punishment in schools. Without any consultation at all with schools, teachers, or parents, Labour inserted the ban into the 1990 Education Amendment Bill as it was going through its final debates in Parliament. As Hansard records: “Part 1 has had slipped into it at the last moment a clause to abolish corporal punishment in all schools, including private schools. The schools have had no chance to make submissions on the matter. The Government has sneaked it into the Bill at the last moment.”

That means MPs defending Maori ward petition rights need to carefully scrutinise not only every amendment and Supplementary Order Paper lodged by the Government on Bills that are going through Parliament, but especially Statute Amendment Bills, since these Omnibus Bills contain many amendments to many laws, and while they are meant to be non-controversial, it is not unknown for governments to try to slip through contentious changes, if they think their opponents are asleep on the job.

At the present time, two local government Bills are in front of Parliament that could be used to push through the abolition of petition rights. The Local Electoral Matters Bill, to introduce an online voting trial, is still going through its first reading.

The Local Government (Community Wellbeing) Amendment Bill, which replaces the need for councils to prioritise providing core services in a cost-effective manner with the requirement to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities, is now in front of the Governance and Administration Select Committee. Submissions have been called and are due by midnight on Friday 25 May 2018 – full details can be seen HERE.

Right now the threat to the public’s democratic rights from iwi leaders is very real and dangerous – especially as they have LGNZ and many Members of Parliament in their pocket. That means urgent action is needed across the board, if these important petition rights are to be successfully defended.


Should a binding referendum of all voters be required for any attempt to abolish Maori ward petition rights? 


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


No way should they get away with Passing this into law. We need to strongly oppose it Ian
Supporting any form of race-based privilege is corrupt. Where is the ‘concept ‘ that we all have equal rights? John
If we have the right to vote in the council members we have the right to vote them, and there arse licking ideas of putting a bunch of half caste illiterate tribes on council who have not earnt the right to be there, the order of the boot so we can then vote in some decent people that wont rip us or the country off. Richard
All voters should have a say – not just Maori June
We shouldn’t need to, but to satisfy the sympathisers definitely have a binding referendum. John
Politics is downstream from culture. If the left loses the culture war, then they lose everything. Dave Cull and Lianne Dalziell are obvious cultural Marxists. What is the wisdom in having Maori tribalists in charge of everything? None as tribalism always leads to conflict. Monica
All significant issues that involves the voters should be put to public vote Laurence
How do we get it thru to these (white) idiot politicians that we are supposed to be 1 people and 15% of the population are NOT entitled to special positions in a democracy. And if we protest, WE are racist, not the brown people who are pushing apartheid. Incidentally, there was NEVER a ‘partnership’ it was a figment of Geoffrey Palmers imagination and should be ignored. Carolyn
Yes. That is vital. N Z is heading for racial strife in the not to distant future. Peter
Anything to do with giving Maori unfair & undemocratic rights should be put to a binding referendum. David
Thin end of the wedge to attempt to derail democracy, must not succeed. Kenneth
Councils don’t need any more race based seats. Maori’s are capable of getting themselves voted into Parliament why not into councils Elizabeth
We have got to stop this terrible slide to open racism which would have a Labour govt’s backing My god I fear for my children and their offspring Neville
The pathetic NZ media are as usual silent on iwi and labour green attacks on our democracy. Irvine
Absolutely! Bruce
This is a denial of our democratic rights. Colin
There are ever increasing moves that remove rights of all the people and this needs to be stopped Bruce
A better solution would be to repeal/amend all Acts that provided for racist wards to be established. Maori especially, but also Pacific Islanders and others of European decent should be treated equally. The same opportunity to stand for election on the General Roll and the same opportunity to be elected by the general public. according to their party affiliations or neutrality, at all National and Local Body elections. Vic
This might be the last chance democracy has on this subject in NZ. Lloyd
If Maori ward petition rights are abolished,this would be another step towards Apartheid in New Zealand!!! That is outrageous!!! Valerie
This country is running into deep deep trouble with these STUPID politicians both local and national. Of course there should be a binding referendum on the subject of Maori wards because this push by Maori to have control of this country is sickening Mike
One united country- not racial division. Ross
Ther should be a binding referendum to abolish Maori seats in Parliament Robert
Everything has gone too far and it’s about time politicians had the guts to say “NO”. I am convinced this country is on a downward slide. Alan
What is the matter with the media, can’t they see what is happening. Why is it not being at least talked about publicly. Or are they too scared to mention it?? Peter
It’s called Democracy Geoff
The stance of one man one vote no matter what the issue is a cornerstone of strong democracy and MUST NOT be eroded by any Government or local authority. Rod
Include in the same referendum a vote to abolish the Waitangi Tribunall Laurie
Absolutely Clark
Talk about apartheid the maori will never be happy Barry
This is no time for mucking around. Let us be absolutely clear that this is an attempt by a Maori “iwi” elite to steal the democratic rights of all New Zealand citizens. Rob
More corruption in NZ Mike
Otherwise democracy dies. Nick
Wake up NZ! We all need to get this nonsense squashed firmly into the dirt before we find that 50/50% has become 90/10% to iwi elite! Helen
Why should a sector with 15% of the population have 50-50 voting rights.If one wants to stand they have to be prepared to stand the scrutiny at the ballet boxs, not through some back doors undemorcratic process. Ross
How a small proportion of our population is able to dictate what’s happening in NZ. The NZ public should be able to have much more say in important issues which are now often quietly kept under the radar. To many decisions made by too few. Ido
They are trying to win back the country they lost, through stealth and underhanded means. TOBY
If you don’t think that the greens are devious, take note of the number of Green party politicians who get elected as an ‘Independent’ candidate. For example, the current Porirua Mayor, Mike Tana, who ran as an Independent candidate spoke in support of the local Green Party member at local national pre-election meetings. Rex
South African apartheid in reverse! Blatant racism-Waitangi suggests all should be equal. AL
The degradation of my democratic rights has already gone too far, with those claiming Maori heritage being given rights to control fresh water at Local Government Level, and being supported financially to make claims that would grant them governance of the foreshore and sea-bed. Race based privilege is an abomination and not something that was even considered by the so-called “Treaty” of Waitangi. Where are all the protesters that stormed the barricades to stop race-based rugby teams playing in New Zealand? Surely what is being proposed by this Lobby Group is even more abhorrent? Michael
Yeah well – imagine if it was the other way round – there’d be a hell of a stink. Andy
The People of NZ have a right to be informed and have their say in the running of the Country Pierre
Democracy should be upheld. NORMAN
Very much so David
Maori have no right as we here in N Z are supposed to be a democratic society and are one people as stated in the treaty end of story. Ken
Race should Never be a factor. Don
Anything that gives any section of the population rights over the rest of the population must be supported by a majority of the population in a binding referendum. To be blunt I am sick and tired of blasted Maori wanting special treatment as the expense of the rest of us There are enough of them in parliament in the general seats to show they can do it without special privileges. The rapacious IWI can go to hell as far as I am concerned. Colin
This racism has got to stop. Part Maori must not have any more rights than any other citizens of this country . Let them stand for election and may the best candidate win Tom
Yes, most definitely. Darryl
Please stop this dictatorship racism it will split the country in two Brian
Of course Colin
With about 175 parliamentary-passed Acts that include racial favouritism, it is time to confront New Zealand’s ‘political’ racism head-on! Paul
The rights of all must be preserved not just the will of a small section of the population Bryan
Absolutely!! The question is though— will NZFirst make true their promise to push this vital political demand sorted out . My feeling is that this will not happen until we have a true conservative party standing for everything that we call decency ,loyality, integrity and steadfastness . Michael
Yes, most definitely retain the right to a binding referendum. Are our councils becoming like the Soviet Union ? Soviet in English means council. Just a thought. Don
Democracy not racial division! Mark
This movement is a direct attack on all New Zealanders democratic rights. There cannot be any justification for such an outcome. Does this not contravene our Bill of rights? Chris
Democracy must not be overwhelmed by LGNZ Pete
The fact that this issue is even being raised begs the question -“are we still a democracy?” If we have sunk to the level that requires a binding referendum to show these racially driven, alphabet soup bureaucracies, that they are in fact, the servants and not the masters, then the quicker we have one, the better! Scott
No comment, I’m not liking the continued maori preferences that mutilate the english pronunciations of their origin. Ian
Another load of crap thought up by these progressives of partial Maori decsent. These people need to get over it and consider Sir Bob Jones so called satirical remarks that are exactly 100% true Sam
Maori represent about sixteen percent of the population of NZ and they of course care NOTHING for the other eighty four percent of non-Maori.That such a small minority should seek to gain power out of all proportion to their numbers is nothing short of a greedy lust for control. It MUST be stopped. William
There is absolutely no need for separate maori wards or appointed maori on local government. We are are supposed be all equal and no racial group have any special rights. Ted
But it probably will Terry
Democracy in action Murray
Let the people decide, not the govement or Local Boards Geoff
We must uphold democracy in all aspects of government – local and national Sylvia
Definitely Tony
Six out of the eight most senior politicians claim Maori descent and interestingly all have obtained their position based on merit. Why then is special treatment for Maori still required within our electorial system? Richard
The blatant insidious power grab via Maori wards based on race needs to be stopped Peter
Its a no brainer!! Nev
Of course there needs to be a referendum on this matters. Following the LGNZ letter that was written to the 3 parliamentary leaders, I wrote one also to the 3 parliamentary leaders objecting to LGNZ’s conspiracy against local government democracy. All of the leaders said that they would pass my comments on the Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta as it fell under her portfolio. Well, it also happens that Nanaia Mahuta is the Maori Development Minister. In that role, she is known to be pushing for the abolition of Maori Ward petition rights. Clearly there is a conflict of interest here, where her racist Maori views will corrupt her duty toward maintaining local government democracy. This is not going to end well. Neil
LGs are generally organised anti-democratic phyles. Ratepayers can speakatthebeginning of meetings, when they are allowed to speak at all, but councillors, staff members and other stooges have reply rights when they can, and do, tell any lie they choose inthe full knowledge no one can contest what they say before a decision to s made Ian
Race based representation is divisive. Maori Wards are not a conventional ward as the rules allow to be modified by LG. Maori Wards introduce race privilege and inequality. Stan
It is a no brainer! John
This would then force the Government to act responsibly (if they can) Andrew
Totally undemocratic, separatist and racist. If we allow Maori wards, then why not have wards for other ethnic groups like the Chinese or Indians. Tony
One mayor’s daft opinion should not get any traction. Any move which weakens democracy must be strongly challenged by all. Graeme
No race based governance David
The first of May is fast approaching and no doubt they have already printed the licences. Pity, because all Parliamentarians names should be on it with no limited bags. This country is going to the dogs, mad, every thing is being renamed in Maori and as for university students being required to consult with iwi on a course of study is taking the country backwards. Shame on the whole bloody lot of them. Farewell democracy. PS have any of those so called ministers in charge of these so called grievances followed the rule of “Betterment” no, why not Robert
Absolutely against racially based, divisive laws such as proposed. What about other racial groups, Chinese, Indian, Australian? Are they demanding same rights? Don
No need to comment further. This is democracy Mike
But, my fear is that Winston Peters and his merry “men” will roll over again on this issue. They are a disgrace and have backed off numerous of Winston’s “bottom line” issues. Murray
Absolutely! Mark
Yes of course. Gerard
Democracy must be defended and the wishes of the majority must be adhered to. Gifford
Yes. Dr. Newman’s article sets out only too clearly the dangers of this change being slipped through if the objections are not heard loudly enough. We must use every avenue available and referendums may bring the publicity required. It must be a binding referendum. Referendums have been infrequently used in NZ although some countries run their political system using them all the time. They could be very expensive but for matters such as this the cost is justified and surely the internet could be used for convenience and cost saving. Chris
Of course, a referendum. No need to make it binding, as it would be a landslide to get rid of this racism. That’s my prediction… John
Of course the people should decide, not a band of one-sided gangsters, I can’t believe the naivety of the NZ voters and elected mps , not sneaked in list mps, but so-called democratically elected people to allow this to happen. But anything goes nowadays. Leonard
As per Tony Ryalls Bill to abolish all race based legislation. Al race based legislation should be cleansed from Government Statutes, both local and national. Let’s see what Peters has to say about this … since it was he who made all the running about eliminating race based legislation during the election campaign. So far he has proven himself to be a turncoat, as I expected he would. Sadly he deceived enough well intentioned voters to give himself and his hangers on, more power than they ever could have garnered in a fair and just democratic system. Dianna
Our democratic rights should not be challenged in the first place, but since some arrogant people think they should be able to do this, then absolutely a binding referendum should be required! Brenda
This is just a further.her example of how the Left is infiltrating every aspect of our society. Even local government. Wake up New Zealand. The future is bleak if these potwallopers have their way. Jim
More creeping racism. Ian
Of course – more and continuing Racist New Zealand. The Royal Commission that recommend that MMP voting be adopted advocated the abolition of He Maori Parliamentary Seats – there should also be no special Local Body Maori Seats . At the Treaty signing Governor Hobson said ‘we are now one people’ . So lets stop this Racist nonsense. Hyltoin
TIME EVERY-ONE contacted ALL mp from ALL PARTIES & the council members also Democratic rights are important to every-one DONT LOOSE THEM Cindy
Stop the slide to apartheid Peter
This is just a sneaky way of getting more Maori wards then seats on Councils without consultation with voters. Co-Governance would then be only a blink away. Never. Doug
I’ve had a gutsful of both our major parties pandering to Maori for their votes while they whittle away at everyone elses democratic rights. Richard
Yes, but probably so t because the powers that be still want to hold on to their power. Audrey
I’m sick and tired of this undemocratic sycophantic racist appointments process and I am if Maori descent. Mike
APARTHEID is entrenched in NZ. It’s way overdue to abolish the Maori seats, period. Wake up NZ. Geoff
Most definitely Murray
Democracy appears to be the last thing Maoridom is wanting Jill
YES, But will it happen???? Athol
NZ is on a very slippery slope, with all these no hopers running our country. Bill
I am sick and tired of the so called maori elite trying to split this nation in two. The benefits of us living in harmony are far greater than following the evil desires of a few elitists . Look at Syria for one. If these self appointed trouble makers want, let us all take up arms and sort it out once and for all. Frank
WE need to be firmly reminded that Maori only represent 15% of the population and that 50-50 partnership is a false construct pushed to enable a false outcome particularly over wealth redistribution policies. Today in Auckland asians outnumber Maori in that area reflecting on uneven claims based solely on ethnic (choice not even true racial merit) and a very unbalanced tribal hierarchy that is totally undemocratic. This is nothing more than marxist divide, chaos, and solution control politics at its crudest. The whole citizenry need to have full voting power to control this farcical mockery of democracy. Richard
YES, otherwise we have a dictatorial “you will agree with and do as I say” very dangerous government. Plus this is in the National Party manifesto! Where are the National party voices – more weak politicians as usual ! Stuart
The idea is good but referendums of this nature are normally ignored. George
Elevating one sort of New Zealander over another is divisive and should be railed against no matter who the race of people are. I’m sick of this where will it end. Brian
The democratic rights of ratepayers need to be enhanced not reduced as LGNZ would have it. Now is the time to fight for democracy! Roger
Anything less than a binding referendum on such an issue is a very real threat to democracy. Tribal and democratic systems are incompatible. We should say a firm “No!” to any more race-based legislation. Laurence
Vote the Maori Wards out Kevin
One people, one vote, one country Terry
Without citizens initiated binding referendum, democracy will quickly die. Only the Conservative Party of N.Z. demand this as not negotiable. Maori signed the TREATY OF WAITANGI, to become one people under British law. Why are the latest two governments that we have been cursed with demanding we implement APARTHEID ? A.G.R.
Most definitely Anthony
Most definitely Trevor
Of course yes. However, the question that should have been asked in he first place, is: Should a binding referendum of all voters be required for any attempt to establish Maori ward preferential rights? Peter
This inequitable racism must be stopped in its tracks John
his would be a very dangerous road to enter and Maori would probably be the first casualties Rob
We are losing our democratic right and people we admired are being slandered eg Captain Cook Arthur
Absolutely Graeme
How dare any elected mayor call for the abolution of any democratic right including and particually the right to call for and take part in a referendum Steve
We are all Kiwis with the same legal rights and obligations. Archaic race based laws must go Terry
I have a great unease where I see the local and central government support racial groups who wish to gain undemocratic methods of representation on local government Alan
Binding redferendums are a must when democratic rights of all citizens will be affected. For too long councils have been playing God when it comes to controversial decision making. Dennis
Lunacy continues John
The growth of the racial divide in NZ is the most important issue before us all. David
Yet another takeover by stealth. The public must have a say in such things that are fundamental to true democracy. Graham
Another attack on the democratic rights of the majority population of this country. The maori’s of course are cotinuously eroding the rights of ordinary NZrs in their quest for privilages that only apply to them, a blatant racist policy, their dreams of domination to provide them with power of racial discrimination and exclusive rights to whatever they choose! Labour and their forlock tugging partners will betray the people of NZ, as Peter’s and his followers have already clearly demonstrated. The requirement of a referendum must be compulsory to preserve the sanctity of Democracy. David
The attempted abolition is a matter of ideology, the cancer of democracy. Peter
We are one country we don’t need this nonsense everyone has the right to stand for council or government so why give a minority a guaranteed chance Peter
Absolutely yes. None of this taking over by stealth. Martin
Democracy is being undermined. Andrew
Most definitely ! Dick
Its becoming a dictatorship! Denis
We are becoming a 1960’s South Africa in reverse – Time to stop the racial rot Errol
They must be getting their information from South Africa. This is apartheid. John
Not just for this issue, every local council should be compelled to conduct a referendum if a certain proportion of ratepayers request it. That is democracy. Remember, local councillors are the employees of the ratepayers, as are politicians the employees of the electorate voters. Alan
Stop the constant progression towards Aparheid. Jim
..the same old…same old…format. A Divided Nation forever….what a sad place to be…!! CHowes
It would put a stop to the repetitive attempts of Maori groups to take more control than they are entitled to under our democracy Harvey
Being the only woman on my council the one strength that I have is the fact that I am equal to anyone either at the Council or the community as they are equal to me. Change that fundamental democratic right and we are into apartheid. I will never accept that for NZ. Margaret
Another attempt by the Maori elite – supported by a limp wristed LGNZ – to further enhance the power of this minority. God save our democracy – this government certainly will not! andrew
Having all this separate Maori rubbish is the most blatant racism in the known world . Is there any other country in the world that treats a small section of the populous with so many special privileges based purely on race ? answer is none . The biggest problem is that the main beneficiaries of the special Maori only privileges are only a very small percentage of Maori heritage . Being part Maori is an easy way to political power and access to huge financial windfalls for which there is no accountability .l think it is to late to stop but let us at least try . Jock
Definitely Colin
Such a referendum is the very least that should be required; preferably, a binding general referendum should ask whether or not all Maori wards should be abolished, in line with a ‘colour blind’ egalitarian democracy. Only New Zealand First has the political power to enable this, at present. Will they do so? I have my doubts. Graham
Certain Maori Elders want to own the country but cannot keep their youth out of prison. Far as I’m concerned treaty settlements were a waste of taxpayers funds. Jon
This attempt to abolish Maori ward petition rights is appalling. It is an important democratic right. People should march in the streets if the government tries to take it away. Norm
The supremacist iwi leaders are behind this attack on our democracy. LGNZ should never have gone along with it. And Labour, the party that claims to represent ordinary people, should not touch it with a barge pole!  Donald
Winston Peters must refuse to support the abolition of petition rights. But I don’t know whether he will. Andrew
Labour are sneaky enough to try to pass this petition ban through without the public knowing about it. The whole thing is dreadful. Susan
Yes – democratic rights should not be compromised without the approval of voters. Robert