Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Frank Newman: The Letter from Mayors & Chairs

Earlier this week Local Government NZ sent a letter to the leaders of the coalition parties and Ministers Simeon Brown and Tama Potaka. It was signed by 52 local government leaders (see list appended).

The essence of the letter is this:

Our position…is that Māori wards and constituencies should be treated like all other wards and that decisions should be made at the council level. Polls aren’t required on any other wards or constituencies, and requiring them will add increased costs to councils.

Polls are not required where ward boundaries are changed, created or consolidated, because it does not change the electoral system.

That petition right was first introduced in 2001 when STV was introduced as an alternative to FPP for the 2004 and subsequent local body elections. That petition right remains today.

When Māori reserved seats on local authorities were permitted in an amendment to the Local Electoral Act in 2002, the Clark Labour Government extended the petition right to include Māori wards, because it introduced the Māori electoral roll into the local electoral system.

There is a very good reason why the binding petition right should apply whenever councillors change the electoral system. It’s because they have a vested interest in the way they are elected! Democratic fairness dictates that electors should have the final say about how their representatives are elected.

Their letter goes on to say:

We are disappointed this is in contrast with the commitments the Government made during the election campaign to empower local government to make decisions about its own communities.

It is absurd for these elected leaders to say the coalition government campaigned to empower local councillors. The narrative around local democracy has been about encouraging greater engagement with local communities, not less. For these 52 luminaries to see no wrong in their proposal displays an incredible arrogance and delusional lack of understanding about their role as community representatives.

Reinstating the petition right strengthens local democracy.  

But it should go further. The binding petition right should be extended to become a general right applying to any resolution passed by a local authority. Only then will local councillors appreciate that they are representatives.

A counterargument to a general petition right is that this may prompt too many petitions on matters of little importance and impose unnecessary costs on councils - ratepayers.

From experience, I assure detractors that achieving the threshold support of 5% of registered electors in the form required is no easy task, especially when the voter turnout in local elections is typically less than 50%. It requires a well-resourced and organised team and the issue must be of great public interest. 

See their letter Here >>>

The signatories are:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Chair Doug Leeder

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council

Mayor Alex Walker

Central Otago District Council

Mayor Tim Cadogan

Chatham Islands Council

Mayor Monique Croon

Clutha District Council

Mayor Bryan Cadogan

Dunedin City Council

Mayor Jules Radich

Environment Canterbury

Acting Chair Craig Pauling

Environment Southland

Chair Nicol Horrell

Far North District Council

Mayor Moko Tepania

Gisborne District Council

Mayor Rehette Stoltz

Gore District Council

Mayor Ben Bell

Greater Wellington Regional Council

Chair Daran Ponter

Hastings District Council

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst

Hauraki District Council

Mayor Toby Adams

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Chair Hinewai Ormsby

Horizons Regional Council

Chair Rachel Keedwell

Horowhenua District Council

Mayor Bernie Wanden

Hutt City Council

 Mayor Campbell Barry

Kāpiti Coast District Council

Mayor Janet Holborow

Kawerau District Council

Mayor Faylene Tunui

Mackenzie District Council

Mayor Anne Munro

Marlborough District Council

Mayor Nadine Taylor

Masterton District Council

Mayor Gary Caffell

Mayor Janet Holborow

Mayor Neil Holdom

Napier City Council

Mayor Kirsten Wise

New Plymouth District Council

Mayor Neil Holdom

Northland Regional Council

Chair Geoff Crawford

Ōpōtiki District Council

Mayor David Moore

Ōtorohanga District Council

Mayor Max Baxter

Palmerston North City Council

Mayor Grant Smith

Porirua City Council

Mayor Anita Baker

Rangitīkei District Council

Mayor Andy Watson

Ruapehu District Council

Mayor Weston Kirton

Selwyn District Council

 Mayor Sam Broughton

South Taranaki District Council

Mayor Phil Nixon

South Waikato District Council

Mayor Gary Petley

South Wairarapa District Council

Mayor Martin Connelly

Southland District Council

Mayor Rob Scott

Stratford District Council

Mayor Neil Volzke

Taranaki Regional Council

Chair Charlotte Littlewood

Tararua District Council

Mayor Tracey Collis

Tasman District Council

Mayor Tim King

Taupō District Council

Mayor David Trewavas

Te Maruata Rōpū Whakahaere

Cr Toni Boynton & Cr Iaean Cranwell

Thames-Coromandel District Council

Mayor Len Salt

Upper Hutt City Council

Mayor Wayne Guppy

Waikato District Council

Mayor Jacqui Church

Waikato Regional Council

Chair Pamela Storey

Waipā District Council

Mayor Susan O’Regan

Wairoa District Council

Mayor Craig Little

Waitaki District Council

Mayor Gary Kircher

Wellington City Council

Mayor Tory Whanau

Whakatāne District Council

Mayor Dr Victor Luca

Whanganui District Council

Mayor Andrew Tripe


Anonymous said...

“We urge the Government to reconsider its position and leave it to local councils to make decisions about appropriate representation arrangements IN PARTNERSHIP with Iwi and their communities”.

So Broughton and Barry are the ‘Brown Shirts’ for the State’s policy and enforcer arm masquerading as LGNZ?

What threats were conveyed to get the other “independent” mayors to sign off on keeping this forced Co-Governance wonderfulness going, or are they all just indoctrinated woke leftest retards?

The APARTHEID LGNZ along with the APARTHEID Waitangi Tribunal need to be shut down ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Broughton is the mayor of Selwyn DC and the most unpopular mayor in the history of the district. A young fellow with very little life experience, but unfortunately it is a pretty thankless job and nobody worth their weight is prepared to stand against him.

Anna Mouse said...

Why is it that some people think democracy is fluid for them when it suits them?

These Mayors need to take a very long hard look at their respective selves and ask if their individual voting right was dismissed at the whim of another where then would they then stand?

One vote, one person, one nation. New Zealand is for New Zealanders not the whim of someones ideology. We had 6 years of that and look where we are today.....

Anonymous said...

Could there be a better reason to put commissioners in to put all these Councils to rights?

hughvane said...

Why are these 50 Councils so scared of a poll?

I suggest it is because they know full well that the legislation will improve democratic representation, and they will be held more, far more, accountable to their ratepayers and electors.

Kay O'Lacey said...

There has been something very strange going on in LGNZ ever since the last government massively increased their annual budget. Some racist fat cats there perhaps driving this. Time for a clean-up there too!

Grumpy said...

Local govt is no different from central govt in reality - one person, one vote, govern on behalf of your electorate without prejudice.
It seems simple enough, yet...without prejudice might be tricky for some.

Anonymous said...

They fair democracy. They demand the right to make community decisions, but reject the right of the community to make decisions.

Allan said...

New Plymouth is a classic case of a woke Mayer, who cares little about the wishes of the people in his community. A poll has already been carried out in the New Plymouth council district, with 80% demanding democracy; i.e, one person one vote. Now with no consultation, he is requesting special privilege's for mixed race descendants of just one ethnic group.
Meanwhile those who have worked and achieved something, are given a 20% increase in their Rates {wealth tax} bill.

Peter said...

Of those that signed, aren't they a bunch of truly woke, gutless wa....s!
They have every similarity to the 2,000-odd likewise gutless and ignorant academics who signed the letter in opposition to the esteemed "Listener 7" - who had the audacity to challenge matauranga Maori's incorporation in the science curriculum.

These Mayors (and Chairs) do need to sit back on their well-padded derrieres and contemplate their navels and determine what they are really supporting here.

Like truth, democracy will out (eventually), and if they really think what they propose is 'the will of the people', they are deluded. One can only hope, they reap what they sow.

Kerry said...

It really surprises me that these ELECTED representatives of their local communities haven;'t read the room - the election showed clearly that the majority had decided that Labour's ideology had put NZ in the worst position it has been in its history, socially, economically, and politically. NZ has never been this divided and indebted.

Of real concern is that these people could end up on the four person panels that assess fast track applications. That's why I objected to that part of the Fast Track Bill - the panel must have one iwi representative (racist) and one council (socialist) member.

Democracy is under attack and MUST revert to 'one person, one vote'.

Anonymous said...

One person one vote, how can you change this and be deluded enough to believe Democracy stands.

Anonymous said...

We had a vote in Kapiti and they lost with 60% declining Maori wards. The council then had the audacity to say that they knew better and they were doing this for the Rangatahi as they had also been asked. These 'Rangatahi" are not old enough to vote!!! Disgusting