Thursday, November 30, 2023

NZCPR Weekly: Coalition Deals

We are witnessing a remarkable turnaround in New Zealand politics.

The Coalition agreement entered into by National, ACT and New Zealand First reflects the first three-party coalition deal in our country’s history.

Democracy can be seen to have prevailed, with MMP delivering what a majority of New Zealanders want.

And that’s what’s so remarkable - the three parties have agreed to largely embrace what each of them campaigned on: The National and ACT coalition agreement can be read HERE; the National and New Zealand First coalition agreement HERE; National’s Eight Point Commitment Card HERE, their Fiscal Plan HERE, Tax Plan HERE, 100 Day Plan HERE, and 100 Point Economic Plan HERE.

Despite what the media have been saying, putting together a reform agenda of such detail and importance in less than three weeks - to finally shut the door on the destructive Ardern era - is an outstanding achievement.

To their credit, they have also mapped out how the parties will not only work together but resolve their differences without destabilising the government and the country.

This is especially important given the opposition knows they have a clear pathway to regain control if they can drive a wedge of division between the coalition partners.

The new Government must remain wary of the legacy media, which has not only displayed open bias against them, but is still bound by the
requirements of the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund to promote Labour’s fabricated Treaty partnership agenda for another two years until the funding finally runs out in January 2026

Cancelling the PIJF must surely be a priority as it is simply untenable for the media to be funded by taxpayers to undermine the government.

From the time Jacinda Ardern first became Prime Minister in 2017, the New Zealand Centre for Political Research was highly critical of the destructive effects of the deeply socialist agenda she was imposing onto the country. We are therefore delighted to see most of the issues of concern we have raised over the years are being addressed in the coalition deals.

That, of course, is a core purpose of a public policy think tank such as the NZCPR - to do the research and make the case for reform. Thanks to your backing and advocacy, we have had a significant influence on the direction of the new government.

So let’s do a deep dive into the coalition agreements to see how they have responded to our calls for reform.

Firstly, He Puapua. The NZCPR discovered it, analysed it, warned the country about its divisive and destructive effects – and now, we are thrilled to say, it’s finally going to be tossed into the dustbin of history.

The National-New Zealand First Coalition Agreement specifically states, “Stop all work on He Puapua”.

The He Puapua blueprint for tribal control of New Zealand by 2040 was developed by the Ardern Government under the pretence it was a plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In truth it was nothing more than a radical attempt by elite Maori to seize political control of the country. 

Even now, Labour - along with the Greens and the Maori Party - are continuing to promote iwi control of New Zealand. All three have become so extreme in their demands, that they are threatening insurrection if the new government attempts to restore democracy and equality before the law.

To eliminate all vestiges of He Puapua from the State Sector, everyone responsible for progressing the tribal coup, should be given their marching orders.

While it is fitting that the lead Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has already been booted out of Parliament by her electorate, the lead author, Auckland University’s Professor Clare Charters, has just been
appointed to the Human Rights Commission to promote her now discredited agenda. She should resign.

But that should not be the end of the matter.

With New Zealand First’s Coalition agreement stating: “The Coalition Government does not recognise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as having any binding legal effect on New Zealand” and David Seymour’s on-going call for the abolition of the radicalised Human Rights Commission, ACT now has a mandate to do just that through their regulatory review work programme, which aims to reduce wasteful spending across the public sector.

It is indeed a true breath of fresh air to hear a New Zealand Government categorically stating it intends treating all New Zealanders as equals before the law.

The Coalition has pledged to reject new race-based proposals and reverse existing race-based measures.

As a result, they will “Restore the right to local referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Maori wards, including requiring a referendum on any wards established without referendum at the next Local Body elections.”

That means all councils that have introduced Maori wards since Labour abolished petition rights under urgency in 2021, will be required to hold a public referendum to allow their communities to decide whether they want to keep Maori wards or abolish them.

The Coalition’s pledge to “Remove co-governance from the delivery of public services” signals the welcome demise of Three Waters, the Maori Health Authority, and Labour’s RMA reforms. And to ensure the message gets through that race-based division has ended, the Coalition will, “issue a Cabinet Office circular to all central government organisations that it is the Government’s expectation that public services should be prioritised on the basis of need, not race.”

The corruption of our language was a key part of the He Puapua agenda, but to ensure there is no doubt, New Zealand First has spelt out their expectations.

They have reaffirmed the name of our country cannot be changed without a nationwide referendum: “Commit that in the absence of a referendum, our Government will not change the official name of New Zealand.”

That means the public now has every justification insisting our country is referred to by its correct name: New Zealand. 

In light of the misguided argument that the Maori language was being forced onto the country because it is an “official” language, the new Government will “Legislate to make English an official language of New Zealand.”

Furthermore, they will “Ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English” and, along with Crown Entities, they will be required “to communicate primarily in English” - except for those that specifically relate to Maori.

Another piece of good news from New Zealand First’s coalition agreement is that they intend to fix the Marine and Coastal Area Act: “Amend section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Area Act to make clear Parliament’s original intent.”

Those words signal the Government’s intention to bring into line those activist judges who deliberately ignored the objectives of Parliament, by
interpreting the legislation in a way that will ensure virtually the entire coastline of New Zealand will end up being controlled by competing Maori tribal groups sharing Customary Marine Titles with rights akin to perpetual ownership.

That outcome would be the opposite of what National promised when they introduced the new law in 2011 and reassured the public that no more than 10 percent of the coast – in remote areas - would end up under tribal control.

The application of section 58 of the Act lies at the heart of this controversy. That section requires applicants to have held their claimed area not only according to Tikanga or tribal custom, but also continuously and exclusively since 1840 without substantial interruption.

What the NZCPR’s legal action to the High Court and then the Court of Appeal revealed is that the judiciary did not want to implement Parliament’s intention, because too many tribes would miss out!

Instead, they used the Tikanga provision in section 58 to rule that tribal custom over-rode any Western property rights considerations.

To ‘fix’ the Marine and Coastal Area Act, all references to Tikanga should be removed from the law.

But if the Coalition is serious about its commitment to uphold the Rule of Law more generally, all references to Tikanga should be removed from New Zealand’s Statutes - except for cases involving the Maori Land Court.   

Such a move would be consistent with the push by ACT and New Zealand First to rein in modern-day interpretations of the Treaty of Waitangi.

New Zealand First’s agreement states, “Conduct a comprehensive review of all legislation (except Treaty settlements) that includes ‘The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi’ and replace all such references with specific words relating to the relevance and application of the Treaty - or repeal the references.”

And ACT’s agreement states, “Introduce a Treaty Principles Bill based on existing ACT policy and support it to a Select Committee as soon as practicable.”

In addition, ACT wants to remove the
requirement that 8 percent of all government contracts must be awarded to Maori: “Ensure government contracts are awarded based on value, without racial discrimination.”

And they also want to “Repeal the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Act 2022” that has given Ngai Tahu two permanent seats on the Regional Council.

While these changes will hopefully undo the racial wedge that the radical left has used to divide our society, many other initiatives that we have raised over the years are outlined in the Coalition Agreements.

These include New Zealand First’s pledge to abolish all hate speech law changes, end all Covid-19 vaccine mandates, and hold an independent inquiry into how the pandemic was handled – including lockdowns, vaccines, and the social and economic impacts – to determine whether the decisions made, and the steps taken, were justified.

They will also introduce a ‘National Interest Test’ against which international agreements will be assessed to ensure that New Zealand’s domestic law holds primacy. Accordingly, the World Health Organisation will be advised that New Zealand’s response to imminent changes to health regulations will be delayed so they can be considered against the new “National Interest Test”.

But while the coalition agreements contain vast numbers of welcome changes, one area where all parties appear to have let New Zealand down is climate change.

The country desperately needs agriculture to flourish, yet in committing to Labour’s radical target to “Deliver Net Zero by 2050”, the coalition appears to have turned its back on farmers in order to appease environmental interests and pursue a woke global warming agenda.

As this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, former National Minister Barry Brill, the Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, highlights the danger of pursuing ‘net zero by 2050’ targets:

New Zealand was the world’s first Parliament to enshrine the confected ’targets’ into its domestic law. Just one MP, out of 120, voted against this odious political sleight-of-hand. Several other developed countries have since followed in New Zealand’s footsteps. These carefully curated misrepresentations of the Paris Agreement’s terms now dominate climate policy discussion throughout the global North.

“The obvious consequence is that the economic cost of climate policy has doubled in many countries. Taxpayers who were already struggling were burdened by doubled energy taxes and an endless slew of other unaffordable climate policies. All this has been visited upon them dishonestly by their own ideology-driven politicians.”

What is particularly disappointing is that the Coalition has failed to announce a review into the grossly inaccurate climate model assumptions that Labour and the Greens forced onto the country, even though they are responsible for the excessive carbon prices that are exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis.

Putting that to one side, we say congratulations to Christopher Luxon on becoming New Zealand’s 42nd Prime Minister, and we wish him, his new Cabinet, and the rest of his Coalition team well as they begin their crucial task of delivering the strong and enduring Government that our country so desperately needs.

And to everyone who worked so hard to ensure the Hipkins-Ardern Labour Government was booted out on election night, we say a big thank you for helping to save New Zealand!

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*How do you rate the coalition agreements - Very good, OK, Disappointing?

Dr Muriel Newman established the New Zealand Centre for Political Research as a public policy think tank in 2005 after nine years as a Member of Parliament. The NZCPR website is HERE. We also run this Breaking Views Blog and our NZCPR Facebook Group HERE

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