Thursday, January 25, 2024

NZCPR Newsletter: 2024 - a Year of Reckoning

It’s traditional to start a new year by reflecting on the past and contemplating the future. With that in mind, we can confidently say that New Zealand is in a far better position at the dawn of 2024, than we were a year ago when Labour was in charge.

What we didn’t know back then was that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was preparing to abandon ship to avoid the ignominy of a crushing and career-damaging defeat at the election.

With plummeting popularity and support for Labour in sharp decline, it must have been obvious to the Party that with her at the helm, they could not win the election.

Nor, it turned out, could they win it with her replacement Chris Hipkins in charge. They had done far too much damage to be able to regain the trust and confidence of voters.

In effect, they had alienated the public, not only through reckless spending that had fuelled inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, but also through their divisive obsession with identity politics and gross incompetence in the delivery of public services.

Furthermore, their authoritarian approach to government deeply divided society, exposing the ugly side of humanity.

With the mainstream media funded by Labour to champion their cause, it was only through the hard work of tens of thousands of Kiwis warning others about what was really going on that National, ACT, and New Zealand First, were able to win the election.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator Anthony Willy, a former Judge and Law Lecturer, suggests that with the election of our first genuine MMP Government we may well be witnessing the end of the era for the “broad church” political parties that have traditionally dominated New Zealand politics:

“There is now reason to be optimistic that our political institutions can return to implementing the policies upon which they were voted to office, and it will be our first truly MMP government which will make that possible. No longer will it be necessary for a government to have to distort or abandon policies on which it was elected in order to appeal to a noisy minority. With a policy platform agreed to by all three parties, and in the public domain the coalition can simply ignore the wishes of those who did not vote for any of them and govern with principle and common sense.”

Ignoring the “noisy minority” might well turn out to be the very best advice anyone could give the new Government in 2024!

So, what’s in store? Will National, ACT and New Zealand First be able to sort out Labour’s mess, and will National have the fortitude to tough-out the inevitable barrage of criticism from those who are still grieving the loss of their socialist ideals and self-interested agendas?

Certainly the Coalition’s 100-day plan launches the renewal in a definitive fashion with 49 initiatives that range from repealing Labour’s disastrous co-governance measures - including Three Waters, the Maori Health Authority, the new Resource Management Act, and the meg-polytechnic - to getting rid of misguided policies including Fair Pay Agreements, the clean car discount, prisoner reduction targets, fuel tax hikes, Auckland Light Rail, the Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme, Industry Transformation Plans, and He Puapua.

They are starting to crack down on gangs, reduce public sector expenditure, and restore education not only by requiring primary and intermediate schools to teach an hour of reading, writing and maths a day, but to redesign the primary school English and Maths curricula.

The 100-day plan includes “strengthening democracy”, which, in the first instance, no doubt relates to local government: “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.”

But in light of the uprising of radicalised opposition to the Coalition’s plan to remove Labour’s race-based initiatives, a much greater emphasis on ‘strengthening democracy’ will be needed.

To understand the quantum of the problem we face, we need to cast our mind back to 2020, and remind ourselves that it’s the public mandate a government receives from voters for their policy agenda at the election, that gives them the constitutional legitimacy to govern.

That’s why Labour’s entire He Puapua agenda, which aimed to replace democracy with tribal rule by 2040, was totally illegitimate. They had kept their policy secret from voters during the election, only releasing it after winning the right to govern alone. That means Labour had no public mandate whatsoever to transfer democratic power to iwi leaders through co-governance.

50:50 ‘co-governance’ was also a fraud. It gave representatives of the 17 percent minority of the population who identify as Maori the same voting power as representatives of the 83 percent majority of New Zealanders. By giving the tribal elite almost five times greater influence in decision-making than the public, co-governance grossly discriminates, undermining the one-person, one-vote foundation stone of our Westminster democratic system.

Furthermore, through the power of veto, co-governance effectively replaces democracy with tribal totalitarianism.

To justify all of this, Labour claimed the Treaty of Waitangi was a ‘partnership’ between Maori and the Crown. Despite that being constitutionally impossible, they forced it not only onto the public sector, but also those private organisations that depend on the government for registration or funding.

Through their unmandated He Puapua agenda, Labour effectively gave the iwi elite unrestrained influence to advance their tribal control agenda across the country.

The 200 staff at the Office of Maori-Crown Relations - an agency established in collaboration with iwi leaders - were instrumental in fast-tracking co-governance and a commitment to the Treaty throughout New Zealand.

There is no question that huge progress was made by iwi over the last three years towards their goal of tribal rule and they will fight hard to keep those gains. Rallying “their people” to the Kingitanga hui at Ngaruawahia no doubt laid the groundwork for what is to follow.

But the rhetoric from iwi leaders is dishonest. They claim the Government wants to change the Treaty when it is the recently invented Treaty principles that are up for debate – namely should they continue to be defined in such a way as to divide New Zealand along racial lines, or, like the Treaty itself, should they be redefined to promote unity.

Without a doubt, last year’s election mandated the new government to deliver a reset. Voters resoundingly rejected racial privilege – elevating one person over another, purely on the basis of ancestry, is a notion that should be abhorrent in any civilised society.

So, while removing Labour’s unmandated He Puapua framework is a vital part of the reset, the Coalition needs to recognise just how fragile our democracy has become as a result of the on-going attacks by tribal leaders.

At the heart of our democracy is Parliament. Established in 1854, it is now one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world. It consists of our Sovereign, King Charles (represented by the Governor-General), along with 120 or more Members of the House of Representatives.

They are, of course, elected under the Mixed Member Proportional voting system, which was recommended by the 1986 Royal Commission into the Electoral System. The Commission warned, however, that if MMP was adopted, the Maori seats must be abolished and replaced with a common electoral roll in order to prevent an over-representation of Maori in Parliament.

Accordingly, when Jim Bolger’s National Government first introduced the MMP legislation in 1993, there was a common electoral roll. But in response to another national hui at Ngaruawahia, National caved in and provisions for Maori seats were reinstated.

As predicted by the Royal Commission, our Parliament is now no longer representative of the country as a whole, but significantly favours Maori. While Maori make up only 13.7 percent of the voting-age population, they hold a disproportionate 27 percent of the Parliamentary seats and 35 percent of Cabinet places.

This massive over-representation of Maori in Parliament - that now discriminates against non-Maori in breach of the guarantee of freedom from discrimination in our Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act - is the result of National’s weakness.

To restore democracy, National now needs to put right what they got wrong in 1993 and introduce a common electoral roll for New Zealand.

Such a move would not disadvantage Maori since more Maori are now elected to Parliament through General Seats than through the reserved Maori Seats. It would however disadvantage those radical activists who are now using the privileges the Maori Seats have given them to undermine democracy itself.

Another important cornerstone of democracy is the judiciary. Their role is to uphold the Rule of Law by ensuring the law is certain, foreseeable, easy to understand, and applies equally to everyone. But that too has been undermined. Activist judges have interpreted references to tikanga in the law in a manner that legitimises Maori preferences never intended by Parliament.

The NZCPR’s long-running campaign to prevent a tribal takeover of New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed highlighted the danger.

When National repealed Crown ownership and opened up the coastline for tribal claims in 2011, they promised no more than 10 percent of the coast would end up controlled by Maori. But - at the behest of the Maori Party - they foolishly included “tikanga” in the new law.

As a result, claimants seeking a Customary Marine Title under the Marine and Coastal Area Act not had to satisfy a stringent property rights test - that was expected to rule out most opportunistic claims - but they also had to have held their area according to tikanga.

Given National’s clear intention that only a minority of claims should succeed, it therefore came as a shock to discover that Judges in the High Court and the Court of Appeal were prioritising tikanga and tribal rights, over the intention of Parliament, property rights, and the public interest.

Because of those tikanga provisions, unless there is an urgent law change, Maori will gain ownership and control of virtually the entire New Zealand coastline and Territorial Sea.

Our case revealed that the inclusion of ‘tikanga’ fatally undermines the Rule of Law by transforming the outcome of legislation from what Parliament intended to what iwi want.

Another important component of a properly functioning democracy is the Fourth Estate. Tragically, Labour’s $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund - which continues to run until 2026 - seriously compromised the integrity of the mainstream media by requiring them to not only promote the Treaty partnership fiction, but to embed a commitment to the Treaty and a Maori World View within their business operations.

As a result, they have become a propaganda arm of the tribal elite – and the supportive media coverage of iwi leaders bullying and threatening the Coalition over the last few days attests to that.

So, what needs to be done?

Firstly, we need the new Government to recognise how vulnerable democracy has become and commit to strengthening it.

To remove discrimination in Parliament, National should finish the job they started in 1993 and enact the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a common electoral roll.

And to restore the Rule of Law, all references to tikanga should be removed from legislation.

Furthermore, the taxpayer-funded Waitangi Tribunal, which has fulfilled its original purpose but has now been radicalised and weaponised to promote disinformation and division, should be wound up.

Without a doubt 2024 is going to be a turbulent year. All of the limbs of radicalism - including in Parliament, the media, the public service, and academia - are aligning to attempt to undermine and destroy the Coalition Government.

But the Coalition needs to remember that they have been delivered a strong mandate to reset the country and get us back on track. That means ignoring the pleadings of noisy vested interests and standing firm to deliver on the promises they made to the majority of New Zealand voters at the 2023 election.

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*Should all references to Treaty principles in New Zealand legislation be retained, amended to promote equality instead of division, or removed?

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


Anonymous said...

I "really" like the MSM & others, when they make the comment -(quote) " PM Jacinda Ardern was preparing to abandon ship to avoid the ignominy of a crushing and career-damaging defeat at the (forthcoming) election" (end quote).

Nah - sorry, Dear JA was "forced to leave", me thinks that one Chris Hipkins led the "charge on that, aided & abetted by his Gay Friend - Grant Robinson" and no doubt "other Labour MP's {the weak & vacillating twats, who inhabited seats in the Debating Chamber - we will never know, silence & lies are curse for the NZ Labour Party) - with the "delightful, tearful, farewell at a Labour Hui in Napier, with the ever faithful TVNZ in tow".

Why the above statement - well folks, it was rather interesting that following that " tearful farewell" NZ is then advised that Dear JA had ' been made a "Dame, of the Realm". Strange Honour for a Socialist, but then Roger Douglas got one.

I find it strange that such an Honour could be processed that fast, and please do not say it "was in the pipeline - b... s..." - it takes time to submit paper work for the King to approve and Charles " does not use Texting, Emails, Faxing" - the paperwork is handled by a mindless person in the background - and I am sure he would not even have known who JA was.

But then again, our Dear GG could have just had such an Honour, in the top left draw of Her desk!

The other question - " Is what is Dear Dame JA up to these days", and no being a stay at home Mummy is not her thing?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, so called Honours List is a joke.