from Hobson’s Pledge

Through our many supporters a massive 13,000 submissions were made to the select committee on the matter which resulted in the bill being “paused” in April last year.

After the local government elections last year, newly elected Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell expressed that she shared many of the same concerns our supporters raised about the bill. Now that her Council has voted to withdraw support for this controversial legislation, Mayor Tapsell will advise the Māori Affairs Select Committee of the decision. 

The Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) bill sought to ignore the foundational principle of democracy that every vote is worth the same. With 21,700 people in the proposed Māori ward and 55,600 in the proposed general ward each ward would elect three councillors. In effect, the general ward would get a normalised 58% of the representation that the population in the Māori ward would get.

This legislation was being railroaded through Parliament shepherded by Labour’s Māori Caucus and, had it not been for the public outcry, it would have become law.

We celebrated the victory that the bill was paused back in April, but it is the continuation of pressure from supporters like you that has resulted in the Rotorua Lakes Council withdrawing their support.

New Zealand has a proud history as a multi-cultural nation. It is inherent in our nature as New Zealanders to be tolerant, accepting and supportive of each other and especially those in need.

Successive governments’ policies and bad legislation are driving a wedge between us and forcing racial division that none of us signed up for. The images and stories coming out of local communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle are evidence of who we are as a nation. A nation of people who pitch in and help each other when times are tough. 

Hobson’s Pledge continue to make sure your voice is heard and demand better outcomes for all New Zealanders. We cannot afford to be complacent with an election fast approaching. It is crucial that whoever our next Government is, they will not allow us to be treated differently based upon when we or our ancestors came to New Zealand.

This year is critical for us and the announcement today shows that democracy works when we speak up for it. That is why it is so important we continue to defend it.

Casey Costello

Hobson’s Pledge