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Dr Muriel Newman

Repealing Democratic Rights

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The decision by Jacinda Ardern and Labour to negotiate a deal with the Green Party will be a disappointment to those centre-right voters who voted strategically for Labour to keep the Greens out of Government.

As we wrote before the election, “Even if Labour defies the odds and for the first time in our MMP history succeeds in gaining an outright majority of votes, Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that she would bring the Green Party into government. The Labour leader is clearly looking three years ahead and would not want to shun a party that she may need in 2023. This also confirms the futility of tactically voting for Labour ‘to keep the radical Greens out of government’. The only way to ensure the Greens are kept out of government is to elect National and ACT.”

It is important to never forget, that in spite of their fine words and lofty rhetoric about putting people and the country first, politicians always make decisions according to their own best interest.

The Green Party’s co-leaders have been given Ministerial Portfolios outside of Cabinet – James Shaw Climate Change, and Marama Davidson the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence. Their confidence and supply Cooperation Agreement with Labour can be viewed HERE.

In Jacinda Ardern’s new Cabinet – see the full line up HERE – the Hon Nanaia Mahuta has picked up the prized Foreign Affairs portfolio. Retaining Local Government, she has already signalled she intends making the radical change of repealing local government democratic rights.

Waatea News reports, “Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta is promising legislation soon to remove an anomaly that has held back widespread Māori representation. Councils which create Māori seats or wards can have the decision overturned by a binding referendum which can be forced by a petition of 5 percent of voters. Calls for change in the last Government were stymied by New Zealand First, but the way is now clear for reform. ‘It’s one of the priorities on my list… I’ve got a few areas I would like to focus on in the local government portfolio. They are all ready to go once Government is formed’ she says.”

But calling petition rights an anomaly is a gross misrepresentation designed to discredit a cornerstone of local government democracy.

The petition rights the Minister wants to repeal are an important democratic safeguard. They were introduced by Helen Clark’s Labour Government to protect voters from councils wanting to change constitutional arrangements without a mandate from their community.

As constitutional law expert Professor James Allan, formerly of Otago University now at Queensland University, explains, “there are legitimate and illegitimate ways to attempt to change constitutional arrangements. A binding referendum would be a legitimate process.  Another legitimate process would be for all parties that are inclined to support this law change to make it a clear, major component of their manifesto before the next election, so that after that election a ‘cross-party agreement’ had some legitimacy.”

Professor Allan warns, “Let’s be clear.  Deals stitched-up after elections without changes having been signalled to voters by parties before the election, on something as fundamental as changing constitutional arrangements, are totally illegitimate.”

Maori wards were introduced into the Local Electoral Act by Helen Clark in 2001. Because this involved changing the voting system to include the Maori electoral roll, the same constitutional safeguards that already existed in the law were applied. Those section 27 to 34 safeguards had been introduced to protect electors from council attempts to change the voting system between First Past the Post (FPP) and Single Transferable Vote (STV) without consulting the public. 

As a result, the Maori ward petition rights in sections 19ZA to 19ZH, which mirror those in sections 27 to 34, enable electors to challenge a council’s constitutional decisions through a district-wide referendum – if they gain the support of 5 percent of voters in a petition. The results would then be binding on the council for the next two elections.

Essentially Helen Clark’s ‘direct democracy’ veto can only be applied when councils change the voting system without community consultation – namely through switching between FPP voting and STV, or introducing the Maori roll and Maori wards.

If councils decide to change ward boundaries, introduce, split or amalgamate wards, or remove wards entirely to have councillors elected ‘at large’, the voting system would not be changed, so petition rights would not apply.

As Professor Allan noted, unless councillors campaigned on introducing Maori wards when they stood for election last year, any decisions to introduce Maori wards made by councils without consulting their communities are ‘illegitimate’.

At the present time, at least six councils have recently decided to introduce Maori wards without campaigning on the issue or consulting with their communities through a referendum process.

In July, the New Plymouth District Council voted to establish a Maori ward, even though such a proposal was defeated by 83 percent of local electors in a public referendum just five years ago. Another petition to challenge the most recent decision is now underway.

In August, the Tauranga City Council voted in favour of Maori wards, and a petition for a referendum is also underway.

The Ruapehu District Council has also just voted to establish Maori wards. Whether a poll will be held remains to be seen.

In the Northland region, the Far North District Council has taken the considered approach of deciding to hold a public referendum at the next local body election, to ask voters whether they are in favour of establishing Maori wards.

However, both the Kaipara and the Whangarei District Councils voted in favour of Maori wards without consulting their communities. 

This was also the case with the nine-member Northland Regional Council. It voted in favour of introducing Maori wards even though it has bent over backwards over the last few years to engage with local iwi through the establishment of a 26-member Maori advisory board.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is former long-serving Northland Regional Councillor John Bain, who resigned following the Council’s decision to introduce Maori wards without asking the public:

“I have just resigned from the Northland Regional Council (NRC) on a matter of principle, over how ONE vote can change a century old system of electing our local decision makers.

“Like many local authorities around New Zealand, the NRC faced demands to change our voting system to introduce Maori wards. As a result, at our council meeting on October 20, a motion was tabled in favour of Maori wards: ‘That pursuant to section 19Z of the Local Electoral Act 2001, council resolves to establish Maori constituencies for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections’.

“I strongly believe that the community should be consulted over major constitutional changes. Accordingly, I moved an amendment to consult the community before the decision was made by the council: ‘That council instigates a poll to determine the community’s view on the establishment of Maori constituencies’… The motion for holding a referendum was defeated by 5 votes to 4.

“To alter the electoral system to introduce separate seats based on race without a poll being taken of the community is abhorrent. It should be fought on every front. The fact that our fathers went to war to protect our democratic rights and freedoms, is enough reason for me to stand up now and be counted. I hope people reading this will feel the same.”

Petitions to force the Northland Regional Council, the Kaipara District Council, and the Whangarei District Council to hold referenda are now being considered.

The pressure on councils to introduce Maori wards has increased dramatically since Labour has been in government.

An NRC briefing paper prepared by council staff, states that introducing Maori wards “aligns council with the central government direction of travel that clearly has stronger Maori representation in future central government thinking on regional governance models and partnerships.”

It explains that six workshops were held with presentations from invited guests “to help inform council decision-making and understand the full range of views in relation to Maori seats”. Five of the presenters were vehemently in favour of Maori wards – Andrew Judd the former New Plymouth Mayor, Meng Foon the Race Relations Commissioner, Maori leader Dame Nadia Glavish, the Iwi Chairs Forum, and the Te Tai Tokerau Maori and Council Working Party. Only Don Brash was opposed.

The council briefing paper exposed the biased nature of the process – while the community had not been consulted over whether they wanted Maori wards, supporters of race-based seats had been fully consulted: “While council has not specifically sought the full range of community views on this matter, workshop discussions with Te Taitokerau Māori and Council Working Party, Iwi Chief Executives and Iwi Chairs, and leaders from councils who have already established Māori seats all support the establishment of Māori constituencies as the preferred way forward.” 

At the present time just three of New Zealand’s 78 local authorities have Maori wards: the Wairoa District Council, and the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils.

Interestingly, the Mayor of the Wairoa District Council, which introduced Maori wards in 2016 as a result of a petition that was supported by 54 percent of voters, is now questioning the change. Mayor Craig Little believes they did not receive enough information about the implications, which has effectively halved the number of candidates that voters can vote for from six to three. As a result, interest has declined, and voter turnout has dropped from 63 percent in 2016 to 51 percent in 2019.

The reality is that most New Zealanders do not want to be defined by race – including most of those of Maori descent. The only people who want to divide the country by race are a small but vocal minority of activists pushing for Maori sovereignty.

Their strategy is to advance their influence incrementally. Using the argument that greater involvement in local government will uphold a council’s Treaty ‘partnership’ obligation and allow a Maori perspective to influence decision-making, they pressure councillors to establish Maori advisory groups. Once in place, they push for appointed representatives with voting rights. The next step is the introduction of Maori wards, with the goal of increasing their numbers over time to a 50:50 “partnership”.

Anyone who thinks these separatists will stop once they have control of local councils is naïve – their goal is control of the country.

To date the only opportunity for the public to prevent this advance has been through the right to call for a public referendum to challenge the introduction of race-based wards.

But Minister Mahuta is now planning to remove that right.

However, as Professor Allan indicated, since Labour did not campaign on abolishing local government petition rights, and since they are part of a constitutional arrangement, surely the only legitimate way of removing them is through a binding public referendum process.

It is difficult to understand how a government could be so arrogant and self-interested as to be blind to the ominous implications that removing petition rights would have for our democracy.

But perhaps we should not be surprised – perhaps this is something to be expected from an extremist socialist government with absolute power. 

I will leave the last words to the former New Zealand First Maori MP Ron Mark, who spoke against Green MP Marama Davidson’s failed attempt to remove local government petition rights in 2017:

“There are those of us in Maoridom who subscribe to a view that we attain and achieve on merit. We either succeed or not on our own abilities. Carterton is a conservative rural district… and yet Carterton elected Georgina Beyer as Mayor, who was not only Maori but a transsexual as well… When I stood, I did not run on a banner that ‘I am Ngāti Kahungunu therefore, I have the mana of the whenua and a right to a reserved seat and to be the Mayor.’ I stood on the name of Ron Mark, and people judged me on my merits and elected me.”

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*Do you agree with Labour that that local government petition rights should be repealed?


*Poll comments are posted below.


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


Click to view x 120


We must resist these introductions of dictatorship in every way we can. Linc
election should only be on individual merit, not race Dave
I have racial fatigue. The maori ward option needs to be rescinded from the Local Electoral Act, as all special maori seats and race-based laws need to be. as well. N. Mahuta is unfit for the Foreign Minister’s job and sounds and looks like a tribal dictator. Monica
Dangerous in the extreme. Clive
race based nonsense has no place here. John
this country lost any sort of democracy when labour got in last and this election but national didnt help maters when they bent over for the tribes and now all the brown noses are crawling out of the woodwork, and we think the usa is a bunch of loonies, this country is way ahead of them. Richard
Absolutely NO! Martin
It must remain the democratic right of New Zealanders to have a say in any change to these rights. We are on a path to becoming an outright socialist state. Colin
NO racial bias in this country Barry
Not just No, but No No and No. New Zealand is no longer a country the country of equality, trust and fairness regardless of your DNA. Radical Maori have eroded democracy for their own ends. Racial trust in our society is gone. Sam
we should all remain just plain New Zealanders Barry
Definitely not. They like the rest of New Zealanders are equal under the Waitangi Treaty (which they asked for to stop slaughtering themselves). As such they have the same rights to vote as everybody else and nothing in the Treaty changes this. They are, after all , a minority race but expect to own everything despite the fact that as a race, they are New Zealand’s worst racists and, on a per head basis, cost more to the country than any other group already when you take into account all of the benefits they have been given over the years that other people are denied. Garry
No.There is no place for race based law or race based privilege, in this country.The vocal minority of activists seem to be pushing for this. gale
It is getting to the stage that it is not a democracy. C
Elected officials are the bedrock of democracy. When they are just appointed the people are no longer in control of their affairs. It is totalitarian and therefore abhorrent to all right-thinking people. Mark
Absolutely not. If this is pushed through we are diminishing the rights of all citizens. Brian
No! Stop this emerging move by Govt to abolish Maori Ward petition rights. Robert
Absolutely not! Are we “one people” in NZ irrespective of our racial origins or the colour of our skin, or not? Obviously this government thinks we aren’t. Watch this government give in to more Maori demands and make more pro-Maori laws. Comrade Cindy will be desperate to get the two Maori seats back into the Labour fold. So much for saying that she will govern for all the people of NZ! More of her nice-sounding words which are just that. Laurence
That is the first step in the end of democracy in this country. I’m alarmed at how often people in government and the media call this country aotearoa when it’s correct name is New Zealand. The minister’s intentions will end up renaming our country and I will resist that with every fibre of my being Kerry
Democratic Rights are fundamental to our way of life wendy
I’m glad I’m 74 and won’t have to put up with this B.S much longer, I am REALLY worried about our future. Chris
I’m just glad I will be dead when the brown stuff hits the fan in years to come! Chris
!Democracy out! John
democratic rights should be everlasting and never repealable alan
I fear for the future with this going on. Robert
Prime example of socialist views of this govt & continuing state control. Racism is alive & well & is being driven by these activists with the separatist agenda! But Ardern says repeatedly this is a Govt for the people….BS!! Ron
never gerard
No, absolutely not ! Democracy and one law for all must fought for and upheld. Totally unjustified privilege based on race would lead to a dangerous level of power and influence. Frank
We all know what happens when ‘one law for all’ becomes ‘racially’ based by one group group of ‘activists ‘, the teachings of Karl Marx comes to mind… ‘divide and conquer ‘. Ced
and no and no again Laurel
100% no. The Government is supposed to be working first and foremost FOR all people. This is an affront to that position when they are “assuming” that they know what is right for us. Fight it! Diana
Here it comes racism at its fullest Andrew
They are trying to take away our right of redress Colin
Definitely NOT. We are the rate payers and should always have the final say & why should we be funding these positions. Our Rates are wasted enough on non essential projects now. Let them stand and be voted in like everyone else has too. Sick and tired of everything being GIVEN to Maori. Bruce
Well, you voted for them. You should have known that Labour had their own race based agenda. This is another example of an arrogant government, with an arrogant, mother knows best, leader. Paloma
That would be totally undemocratic, the majority, by a binding referendum should decide that, as that proposition was not disclosed to electors before recent election Don
I would NEVER agree to this! Too much power already in the hands of unelected socialists and hangers on. Cheryl Lynn
The system of Government in this country is supposed to be one man one vote and for the people to be able to decide. Part of this is that all major decisions must be subject to approval of the people (either before or after) Without the rights of the people to call for a petition on any matter all power will rest with an elite few. Typical of all socialist systems whereby the elites know best. On top of this there is absolutely no provision for any form of partnership in the TOW. The right to petition local government is an essential safeguard and should be enhanced and not repealed Robin
it is there to safeguard all Beth
Most Definitely NOT! Trevor
Labour are totalitarians and therefore anti-democratic. Tom
One more disastrous road of the progressives’ socialist dream that will only lead to more and more tribalism an outdated policy which should have NO place in a united NZ (ha ha Bl.. ha). Riding rough shod over any principles of democracy. I find it disgusting Carolyn
No, we are ONE Country and cannot be ruled by a seperate Race of political Activists !! Pierre
All Race Based representation should be Scrapped. Lionel
Here we go again, where race based politics is being rail-roaded through in an attempt to by-pass the constitutional processes which have been put in place to try and protect democracy in NZ. All people living in these areas of Local Bodies need to have say in this”petitions rights” process instead of a dictatorship approach which spells out very serious implications for the future of democracy in NZ. Bruza
I do not vote on race only the best person for the job Kath
That’s the direction of Socialism- just another name for Communism. Who is the government to decide which property belongs to who — obviously they will benefit themselves & those who bribe them —- worst form of hypocrisy by a handful ELITE. And lesson learned by history, ages ago & in recent years, NO WHERE in the world did Socialism bring PEACE & PROSPERITY. We can go back to Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, & Hitler. If you are not a person that know history / don’t want to learn from history, just look at the Communist regime ruling China, suppressing their own people! Anna
This Bill goes through we are definitely now TWO Peoples. All this is the Trojan Horse for Maori Sovereignty . Geoff
This is one of the few remaining systems to show our democratic rights and appeal against something we are unhappy with. The next stage would have to be protest marches. Steve
It is only too obvious that this is another crucial part of this socialist /communist party agenda under the ‘comrade’ to break down democracy. They have joined forces with Maori radicals who are hellbent to take over our country. Apart from that — the appointment of Mahuta to be the Foreign Minister is– apart from her having achieved absolutely nothing in her so called career– detrimental to NZ’s reputation on the world stage. Well —princess– good luck with that .!!! Michael
Yet another concentrated attack on our democracy. Again, by the few vocal radicals. Totally agree with Ron Mark’s statement, lets hear from those Maori with similar outlook to Ron. Speak out be heard. Peter
After reading ALL the comments, it only shows that the MAJORITY of KIWIS are being shafted by a minority of very dangerous people. william
I believe that the Afrikaana word for separate development by a minority is apartheid. Who is the racist? Racism should be defined as selection by race, no matter who is the majority race and not as defined by the universities. Denis
Since 2017, this Labour-led government has set themselves on the path to progressively remove democratic rights from its NZ Citizens. Two days to make it illegal to own a semi-automatic rifle or shotgun ,all based upon the actions of one person who they claim to be a terrorist but access to his manifesto is denied from the public because it may “corrupt us” – a decision by our political and departmental CEO leaders. Convert NZ into a police state that gives preferential treatment to persons claiming Maori heritage, both actions determined to be illegal by the supreme court but for which no prosecution or penalty is prescribed but reinforcing Miss Ardern’s view that her actions are above the law if she claims they are taken to protect her country’s citizens from themselves as she knows better; Constant reliance on catch cries that are either outright lies and at best half-truths, e.g. “Go Early and Go Hard” , our decisions are based upon science despite that science being proven wrong and at best a gross exaggeration.; Statements regarding the Treaty of Waitangi that give credence to the false statement that the Treaty is a “partnership” between the Crown and Maori and has a set of principles that must be adhered to and incorporated into legislation; the allocation of special funding for Maori [more accurately those claiming Maori heritage as being paramount in their beliefs and heritage) because they are “Maori”and required special consideration over and above those granted to all New Zealanders; Endorsement of the fact they of Maori descent, they are entitled to preferential medical treatment ahead of all other citizens despite what normal medical triage would dictate as being the most serious conditions get treated first. Both Labour and the Greens continuing in the belief that they are the scientific authority for New Zealand, that as far as they are concerned all discussion concerning Climate Change and Global warming is over and the changes being faced are directly as the result of anthropogenic causes without providing any empirical data and proofs that support their hypotheses. If the Government proceeds to remove yet another democratic right NZ Citizens enjoy by removing their right to determine if they subscribe to a nation divided by race, then there need to be open revolt to their right to govern. I am not aware that anyone voted for this action as I certainly did not read it in any manifesto or policy statement prior to the election. Michael
Real scary stuff. Who has the standing to lead an opposition to this? Bev
Proposal is obviously racist Ray
This action would result in the most serious attack on our country’s democracy. Louise
The end of democracy in favour of a minority dictatorship is looming!! Bruce
None of this was mentioned PRE-ELECTION! I wonder why!? Sylvia
More antidemocratic actions from this communist mob Alan
Absolutely not. Comrade Jacinda may want it, but something as serious as that should only be after a national referendum. Graeme
There should be none of this nonsense unless the general public are advised 1st and foremost so they have the DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to say if they do not agree with it. Nancye
Once again another nail in the coffin of democracy by Labour. Maori will continue to push until they have total control and most New Zealander’s don’t seem to see the irony in this. Fraser
It won’t matter much.. I was on a council that had maori s’ elected and their contribution was zero bill
It should be up to the community to state whether maori wards be created.. Personally I believe we are a multicultural society and equal rights are for all. Dennis
I feel very strongly about this issue. Gerald
Governments are there to do the bidding of the majority of electors and the Government’s plans need to be foreshadowed prior to their election. Anything that is not foreshadowed is illegitimate and should be treated as such. We have so many rules and regulations that have been promulgated by pressure groups with distinctly undemocratic intentions. It seems to me that New Zealand’s population is now such a weak mish mash of cultures, many of whom have come from very deprived backgrounds and will naively vote for someone who postures consistently to the effect that the people will be protected and helped and supported to within an inch of their pitiful little lives. The reality is very different. Sadly many “refugees” from around the world who come here for a better life, immediately set about recreating the unfortunate circumstances from which they sought to escape, by voting for socialism with all its evils and destructive and controlling policies. People are so dumb! Dianna
It’s disgraceful that a person appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs should immediately announce her intention to remove a democratic right from New Zealand voters. Terry
No. Local government is completely out of control. These numbskulls need to look closely at how badly councils are run and the total lack of financial prudence shown by elected representatives. Mark
In a true democracy the tail does not want to wag the dog because we are all given the same opportunity to vote for any of the proposed councillors. Barras
The people must be consulted on everything David
We are all New Zealanders with equal rights (or at least we should have?) Arthur
Of course the local government petition rights should not be repealed. But until we get rid of the racist Maori parliamentary seats, almost every political party will put the rights of Maori ahead of all other citizens. We may think that the US is divided but watch how rapidly New Zealand is dividing into Maori vs everyone else. John
the not democracy it is dictatorship Richard
Here we go again. Chip chip at Democracy. Time for real action. Just like in America Frank
We are a democratic state., not a Nazi, Communist or Fascist State. The public have the right to comment and petition on any subject. Any government that thinks otherwise is not fit to govern and must be removed immediately. Mieczyslaw
Fairly typical of local government today. To put it succinctly they are after compete power to do what they wish without referring to their electorate. Democracy just flew out the window. chris
the Treaty is a contract not a partnership with the crown david
Members of Maori wards are not elected and cannot be voted out. This not the democratic way Arthur
We are slowly being reduced from having freedom and choice and at the end of the day our rights under this Government will be taken away and we will beholding to Maori and socialism.My wife and I want see the changes that will come over the next 10 to 15 years and we are happy that we have lived in the best times. ken
Socialist crap from a bunch of radical no hopers John
A disaster waiting to happen Graham
A binding referendum is the only legitimate way to enact this change, otherwise we have a radical Maori activist making changes that suit their agenda and to the detriment of the majority of New Zealanders. John
We are all one NZ. Bill
It is a decision that can only be made after a binding referendum. Ian
The option is there for a very good reason and if there is a move to change it I hope it will be met with a very forceful legal rebuttal Mike
I think ALL DEMOCRATIC people NEED to have their opinions heard in govt.EMAIL your MP on concerns about OUR rights going to be stolden off us.If maori wards are introduced based on race it MUST be done with a BINDING REFERENDUM so ALL NZealanders have a say not just radical maori.It is true what Ron Mark said if you stand on your feet & talent you should never have to say your maori. Those radical maori DONT have any talent or ANYTHING else they just want to be given things & jacinda has encouraged this they are like her NO TALENT just hot air & lies. Cindy
I believe in a free New Zealand – free from as many restrictions as possible and free for us to enjoy ourselves and pass that enjoyment on to our children Sheryl
Absolutely NO Victor
We can not afford to in any way condone race based legislation. It will only end in tears. John
No! – if you are incapable of making the effort to stand for public office on the basis of your own merits, you certainly should not be able to do so on the basis of your race. Scott
the people decide!! It’s called democracy and equality….NOT racism or separatism. Tony
We can see where things are at in the US and it seems our Government is following the same pathway that will reach a tipping point where a more extreme political energy will rise up to confront Jacinda’s agenda. The NZ “Trump” will have to confront biased media and Maori separatism and like the US it will not be pretty. Phil
More communist action from a party lead by a communist. All good fellow comrades .. right? Tony
Not just no but absolutely not. It is this racist stuff which is turning many of us off being citizens of this country where we were born Roger
Absolutely not. This is the thin edge of the wedge. We are about to see a deluge of this type of marxist rubbish. Ronmac
I have anticipated this move for many years. SHOCKING!!! Janet
It now no longer matters to Labour/Maoris about the freedoms and rights of all NZer’s that our fore-fathers fought for us all in the world wars. These men laid down their lives so we could all have a better life..NO GOVT PARTY, OR MINORITY RACE IN NZ, HAS THE RIGHT OR AUDACITY TO REPEAL ANY RIGHTS! ROD
I am Maori. I believe we should live as one people under one et of rules for all citizens tony
It would be completely undemocratic. Margaret
I fear for the direction this country is taking. Our democracy continues to be eroded at a frightening rate.We must all stand up and insist on our democratic rights before it is too late. Gail
Our basic rights are being taken away without our right of consultation. Barry
They abolished registered land titles with Ihumatao–just another step. Kevin
No way Margaret
No way. This is a further erosion of basic human rights David
The idea of Maori somehow being in ‘partnership’ with national or local government is contrary to what is actually written in the Treaty, that Maori will have “the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England”. Johan
communism is on its way with this Labour Government, make no mistake we have big problems coming graeme
Maori extremists have to be kept in check, but this government under its leadership do not have the ability to see the problems that could be created Tom
Definitely NOT. Such a move now after elections would be a typically sneaky, racist move. This country MUST fight again such racism based on a false interpretation of a now dead “treaty”. Everyone is supposed to be equal. haha. Except IWI radicals. Graeme
But perhaps 10% of the electorate should have to support a petition before it is mandatory and binding. Lester
No. Maori can stand for local or national government with no tribal privileges i.e. standing before one law four all or the house will be divided and ultimately fall. Don
Leave things alone Kevin
No! The concept that anyone should have power because of that person’s race is totally obnoxious. Anyone who achieves this status will also be totally obnoxious. As a fifth generation (non-maori) New Zealander with many Maori friends, who I hold in as high esteem as my non-maori friends, I hold that we are all New Zealand citizens who should have equal rights. In the days when Maori seats were introduced into our parliament it was because it was feared that otherwise Maori of the day would not have a fair voice in our government. The time has long gone when those Maori seats are needed, as anyone can see if they count the number of Maori Members of Parliament who have achieved that position in a fair public vote against non-Maori opponents. Likewise, there is no longer any need for special give-away seats for Maori in local government. Indeed, to cry the need for them is rather offensive paternalism. On the other hand to cry the need for them on the ground of some innate superiority of race, or some superior claim to leadership on ground of race, is so totally offensive that only the most rabid of racial supremacists would suggest it. Rob
Words fail me — i think its time we find a way to ring fence all of the things that my (european) culture brought to this country and let those who want the ethnic separation -Maori culture to live by and in it _ back to the Stone age …. Warwick
I have seen people of Maori descent in the workplace and in our council in Carterton and they performed well without needing to be propped up with special treatment. Tom
Simply undemocratic. paul
This would be yet another step towards destining New Zealand to a Zimbabwe copycat country. Chris
More importantly dispense with the apartheid separate electoral rolls. We are well on the way to a South Africa system, and look how successful that has been. Bob
Labour gain forcing leftist laws onto unsuspecting New Zealanders….. Carl
Labour up to its old tricks so quickly Warren
Not repealed – enhanced! I would like to see them extended into a recall mechanism at all levels of government. Roger
undemocratic Graeme
I in a democracy , one person one vote. Plenty of Maori representative achieve on their own merits. William
No it should not be allowed unless We have a referendum Ian
Apartheid coming!! Helen
Racism again Owen
WTF why is this even a consideration? Pavel
Absolutely not! If that is allowed then it is all over rover as far as democratic government in this country! Heaven help us. Ron
APARTHEID is alive and well in NZ. It will destroy NZ, same as it did South Africa. Geoff
This is the beginning of a socialist dictatorship. Mike
A denial of basic democratic rights. `- where people with , for instance, less than 10% Maori Blood can be appointed without being formally elected. This is liberal nonsense and is destroying NZ where we should all be ‘ one people’ hylton
Totally wrong. Totalitarian behaviour that is unacceptable in this country. John
A typical flagrant move by this new autocratic Government. Stuart
It is unbelievable that a nice country like New Zealand is well on it’s way to be dominated by a backward culture nurturing separatism and superiority. Majority should be better educated, media should only present facts, a constitution must then be created where race, religion have no place, just equality in priviliges and obligations. Unfortunately we have no change of achieving this at present and we will slide into the murky waters of lost freedom, we pay, they play. This is not something I can tolerate. Leonard
Here we go again. Ideology cannot be ignored. Will the leopard ever change its spots? Harvey
Can somebody explain how many wards per Council and how many councilors per ward. Des
If Maoris want to be represented on councils they can do what other candidates do by standing for election and winning a seat. That is the law. No one has the right to be a voting councillor unless they go through that process. The Nelson mayor has started suggesting that Nelson should change its voting system to STP which is a ridiculous suggestion as no one has the patience to assess every candidate and place them in an accurate order of merit so the election becomes a farce. We must retain the ability to vote on any major changes to our democracy, through a petition if the Council tries to introduce changes through the back door, by an internal council vote. Chris
They remove our rights all thats left is civil war or a new maori war. Bazza
The “thin end of the wedge” is getting progressively thicker. Roy
We must somehow stop this insane socialist agenda against democratic representation and towards Maori sovereignty russell
No bloody way! Rodney
Keep our rights Ted
Voting in Apartheid? Ron
Racism should be repugnant to EVERY New Zealander! Colin
Another form of Fascism. Jack
We need to be one people, a melting pot of cultures and races. Sadly, racism is alive and well and it is very wrong. Cecilie
What we want is democracy and electing people to boards without being ELECTED is NOT democracy ! Andrew
I thought that NZ was a democratic based country – where are we heading? Like South Africa? Brian
The collectivist long march to hell. Robert
The country is stuffed now as it is. It should always be the best man or woman available and willing to undertake the duties or task involved. It doesn’t matter if they are black, white or brindle but for goodness sake stand for the position on merit not the lottery of life regarding their race or place of birth. We have enough glory seekers now lacking brains. bruce
It is the 21st century. We are one people. Marie
Maori activists are the low-life of this democratic society …they should be ignored and dumped in the rubbish bin of history… Chris
This is only encouraging racism. It is also confusing even for Maoris, who are nearly all part European or other people group. Janice
Never. There is a parallel with this government and Trump! The arrogance is appalling Peter
You work for your position not given because you are Maori this government is stuffing our great country slowly but surely John
More proof if it was needed of the creeping oppression of socialism Richard
Unconstitutional!? Michael
This is a democracy and society is already fairly represented across all cultures Merv
This is just the start of it this mob will change NZ (oops) Aotearoa sadly for ever Allan
Hell No. Maori (not Maoris) pay neither their rates nor their fair share of taxes yet expect priorities over others in various areas and funding by the taxpayer for their various and often nefarious objectives like taking over the government of this country. The more we give, the more they take. We’re a soft touch!! And as for Mahuta, need I say more?? Alan
I was shocked to read what Mahuta even before cabinet was sworn in. Silly me! of course I saw it coming, but so bluntly and arrogantly?? Dick
A socialist govt. is only a short way from communism, and no good kiwi wants that! What can be done to educate kiwis about this creeping cancer?? norman
The Treaty does not and never did confer 50% rights of governance on Maori nor did it confer the right of using any race based office to be activated as a permanent right of veto to the proper conductance of governance and administration. It did confer the singular right of fair governance to all citizens under the one English Law. Richard
The small group of activist in this country is getting to much say but with a labour govt they are going to get there way sadly to say Russell
This part of a racist agenda which our media seem to tacitly ignore Terry
Democracy has survived so long for a reason. Communism has failed everywhere. Mark
Never Iain
Democracy Democracy Democracy Gerald
Race based legislation is totally unacceptable Russell
Here we go again. Giving people a fish to eat each day and not teaching them to fish! The answer is to improve our school system verses continuing to dumb it down – as has been going on for at least the last 50 years. And then work very hard at getting the underprivileged children are far better outcome from their schooling so that these people can participate in our society and compete as equals as should be the case. Ian
What next?? There is no freedom of speech in this country as it is. An example being the author on what she said about Mahuta and her tattoo. Is it not her right to say what she thinks? Chris
Why are we allowing Apartheid into NZ now when we protested against it in the 70’s? DAvid
Absolutely not bruce
Another separatist manoeuvre! Maori are quite capable of being elected on their own merit without being handed roles based on their race. Communities have the right to elect their own representatives -NZ is not yet a dictatorship but we seem determined to head in that direction! Martin
ALL kiwis have the right to stand for their local Councils. Keep it that way RICHard
Absolutely not Bryce
Anybody didn’t see this coming had to be blind or just stupid, you voted Labour, this is what you’ve got. Democracy or not, the browning of the country continues apace, surprised? you shouldn’t be and there’s no point in whining about it now. Bart
Any and all freedoms we have now should be protected because there are those who claim that NZ is Maori land and they hope to screw the democratic process and all of us to get what they want. Ray
It’s just more communist exploitation via Ardern’s incapability or deliberate shortsightedness. Jim
Her we go again. Brainless cruds getting into positions of power without being voted for and doing things without discussion. Natural for that feral creature Adern to cover her bases for the next election which she has no chance of winning, but amplifying racial inequality while doing it. Charles
Labour should be deregistered as they are not a democratic party chris
No surprises here, what is the definition of communism? Paul
It will not stop there – we are either a democratic country where race is not a criteria or we are segregationists. John
Gick socialists again dabbling in things they know nothing about and leaving wreckage in their wake. That they can maintain such hubrus despite this is truly worrying. Tony
Labour and the Greens didn’t campaign on this crucial issue because they knew that it would cost them a significant number of votes. However, that’s always the way of the political left: they are deceitful, sly, and unprincipled. They support the idea of democracy only insofar as it accords with their prejudices. We shouldn’t be surprised by this announcement from Mahuta. Graham
Any change to constitutional rights at central and local government levels must be made with public consultation Ray
it is a step towards apartheid and we should avoid that. john
Petition rights must not be repealed – it is essential that they are retained as an important democratic safeguard. It is the only way we can hold councils to account for failing to consult their communities.   Danny
If Labour repeals our petition rights, they will be acting like a dictator – but what’s new! Jeff
Race-based rights are an anathema. There should be NO Maori wards. Pat
Well done to John Bain for standing up to the council. How dreadful that those other councillors caved in. It’s time our elected representatives found their spine and started standing up for the people who voted them into office.  Bruce
Councils that vote for Maori wards against the wishes of their community should be sacked – or voted out at the next election!  Terry