No Good Options.


Will Co-Governance Break Our Democracy?

THERE ARE MOMENTS IN HISTORY when all the options available to political leaders are bad. The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, faced such a moment in the late-1930s. New Zealand’s current political leadership is facing an equally fraught range of options. Already, there is no course of action available to either Jacinda Ardern or Christopher Luxon that does not, ultimately, end in tears.

How did we arrive at such a dangerous moment?

For the beginnings of an answer we must look to the Bicultural Project developed by the New Zealand Left in the 1980s. In its essence, this project was an attempt to retain the coherence of the New Zealand working-class by building a much greater level of cultural understanding between Pakeha and Māori workers, thereby ensuring that any improvements in living standards and political influence would benefit both ethnicities equally. In its first iteration, at least, the Bicultural Project was about class and culture. A rising economic tide, born of working-class unity, would lift all boats – and waka.

Māori nationalists were having none of it. From their perspective, the original Bicultural Project was just another Pakeha ruse for remaining in charge of the evolution of the New Zealand state. From the very beginning, nationalist writers – most notably Donna Awatere – were at pains to make it clear that the acquisition of Tino Rangatiratanga, Māori Sovereignty, would be achieved in spite of, not by the grace and favour of, the “White Left”. Māori nationalists of aristocratic lineage evinced only scorn for the trade unions and the left-wing parties. Their goal was always admirably clear. They wanted their country back. All of it. Now.

Perhaps, if Rogernomics had never happened, some sort of compromise might have been reached. We’ll never know. The Neoliberal Revolution smashed the unity of the New Zealand working-class into a thousand pieces. As always in this country’s history, massive economic change hit Māori communities the hardest. Meanwhile, what was left of the traditional Pakeha working-class was demobilised and disarmed by the Employment Contracts Act. Within a few years the White Left had ceased to exist.

Biculturalism 2.0, however, neither needed nor wanted any sort of Left. Māori nationalists found Neoliberalism’s take on the Bicultural Project much more encouraging than the Marxists’ version. Lord Cooke of Thorndon’s 1987 “partnership” formulation of the Treaty relationship dovetailed neatly with the neo-tribal capitalism mandated by the Crown/Iwi-based Treaty Settlement Process. The resulting quasi-autonomous ethnic corporations, working hand-in-glove with the Executive Branch of the New Zealand state, were now on course to produce an entirely new set of constitutional possibilities.

The relentless promotion of the so-called “Partnership Model” within those institutions directly controlled by, and/or beholden to, the State, combined with a young Māori elite, educated by the Iwi corporates, and strategically located by sympathetic public servants at the myriad power-points of the state apparatus, transformed the human resources of the Crown into a powerful ideological force. In alliance with the free-floating Iwi corporations, the New Zealand state and its appendages – especially the major political parties, the mainstream news media and the universities – were now ready to proceed to the next phase: Biculturalism 3.0 – also known as “Co-Governance”.

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Given the intense preparation which has gone into raising Māori expectations of co-governance, it would now be extremely dangerous for any political party to bring its institutional evolution to a halt. That said, the lack of any serious preparation of the non-Māori population for the revolutionary implications of setting New Zealand’s democratic political system aside in favour of “parity” between the Treaty “partners”, has already set in motion the growth of potentially massive electoral resistance to the co-governance project.

On the Pakeha Right the expectation is that the National and Act parties will, between them, bring the “anti-democratic” innovations of “Māori radicals” to a shuddering halt. The vehicle for this moratorium is the Act Party’s “bottom-line” referendum on co-governance, the result of which the Right (almost certainly correctly) regards as a forgone conclusion. Should National indicate in any way its reluctance to adhere to Act’s bottom-line, then its grip on the right-leaning electorate will be weakened profoundly – boosting Act’s support and quite possibly bringing the NZ First Party back into Parliament.

On the Centre-Left, by contrast, there is a growing level of apprehension that its steadily declining level of support – as registered in the opinion polls – will require not only the seats of Labour and the Greens, but also those of Te Pāti Māori, if “progressives” are to retain possession of the Treasury Benches. With support for Te Pāti Māori rising (at the Greens’ expense) neither Labour nor the Greens will be able to signal any retreat from their commitment to the co-governance project.

Even within Te Pāti Māori, fears will be growing that the support it is attracting in the polls may not end up being reflected in the polling-booths. Younger voters are notoriously difficult to mobilise, especially when compared to older voters (who can be relied upon to cast their votes with an almost religious devotion). To get these younger voters “off the couch”, Te Pāti Māori will need to present the coming election as an existential threat to the future of tangata whenua in Aotearoa. Co-governance will thus be elevated to a non-negotiable component of the nation’s future.

Labour and the Greens will find themselves being dragged further and further to the left in order to keep this nascent Red-Green-Brown coalition together. To distract their still dubious working-class Pakeha supporters from the co-governance question, Labour may lay before them reforms aimed squarely at dismantling the neoliberal economic order in favour of “real Labour policies”. With the Greens and Te Pāti Māori shouting “Me too!”, it will be the turn of National and Act to paint the forthcoming election as not only an existential threat to democracy, but also to the socio-economic status quo.

Clearly, not everybody’s expectations can be fulfilled in a democratic election. Historically, the voters on either side of the political divide have understood and accepted this state of affairs. There is always next time.

The risk New Zealand runs in 2023 is that the policy promises of the contending parties will be come to be seen by their respective supporters as critical to the survival of the nation. On the Right, the introduction of co-governance will be equated with the death of democracy. On the Left, a racist referendum endorsing the elimination of co-governance will be construed as an all-out assault on the Treaty of Waitangi and the indigenous people it was intended to protect.

In such circumstances, the uncompromising partisans on both sides begin to believe that if they concede defeat there will be no “next time”. At that point the cry goes out for a “continuation of politics by other means”. Bullets replace ballots, and peace ceases to be an option – for anybody.



  1. “The resulting quasi-autonomous ethnic corporations, working hand-in-glove with the Executive Branch of the New Zealand state, were now on course to produce an entirely new set of constitutional possibilities.”

    Without any electoral mandate. You reap what you sow.

  2. If it is true that increasing indigenous rights and resource management is apartheid, then access to land, resources and government services must be maintained, for all.

  3. Just don’t mention the mass neo-colonial migration of the last 25 years or so that is part of the neo-liberal experiment and is adding further to the collapse of NZ… significantly so.

    • I’ll tell my wife that she is apparently part of the collapse of NZ.
      It’s amazing that people like you are happy to push racism in the favour of Maoris and (for some unknown reason) Pacific Islanders and against people like my wife and myself.

      • Boo who Jay, firstly we are Maori not Maoris and by the way immigration has both a good and bad side. And when John key was PM his party allowed extremely high immigration 80 thousand I believe were the numbers he boasted. Now we are paying for our over reliance on cheap foreign labour and while doing this the National government failed to invest in upskilling Maori and PI instead choosing to bring in foreigners.

    • yes cheap labour is about cheap labour therefore neo-libs favour it….it’s not race it’s keeping wages down and look where that policy has got us, poverty wages and low productivity…so that turned out well didn’t it?

  4. Your explaination of where we are is clear Chris and I agree. I believe the acceptance of the co-governance proposals have been hamstrung by Labour’s inability to put forward a clearly thought out pathway that stacks up financially and is non threatening to all NewZealanders. What they’re doing is trying to get us used to the Maori way by stealth and it causes mistrust. Just simple stuff like formalising our countries Name to Aotearoa/NZ and having the National radio and TV commentators parroting bits and bob’s of Maori might seem clever, but for those who are not convinced that co governance is a good thing, those simple acts, that just seem to arrive out of nowhere, are just more cause for suspicion on where all this is going. This Labour Government has given me no cause for enthusiasm when it comes to the economy. Any co governance proposal will have to show to me it won’t be a drain on our very limited resources. To date the pathway to co-governance is a muddy misty track with steep bluffs. To say we’re already doing it in certain areas, and it will just be more of the same, is not good enough. We are already heading for civil disobedience and more protests if our current unbalanced and unequal society isn’t corrected. Luxon may get one chance if elected, to show his model to target the massive social issues we have, can succeed. He won’t get two chances like this government. If this government gets re elected it will need to show a massive improvement on its past performance to take the electorate with it to a new future. Either way I Don’t believe the people are convinced.

    • Don’t worry about Co-Governance New View you are just getting a bit paranoid, Maoris are the same as you and I however they are the only ones that genuinely care about New Zealand.

      • Hongi Ika If you think Maori are the only race who cares about NZ you’re a very strange person with a superior attitude. Or is that an inferior attitude.

        • When you assimilate some one or a group you assume a position of superiority isn’t that what has happened in NZ for the last 182 years new view.

          • you are most likely right CIP. But to say the Maori are the only race that genuinly cares about NZ is an extraordinary statement. It’s a racist remark isn’t it.

      • CIP. If you didn’t like what I said in my original post come out and say so and tell me what you think my problem is. I obviously have a different opinion to you. These other comments are just BS.

    • Tend to agree New View. All of this could have been avoided if the Labour Govt had been upfront and honest and used the time honoured method of genuinely consulting with the masses. To date they have only consulted with Maori extensively.

      What did they think would happen when 84% have the carpet pulled out from under them with no discussion? And I am not talking about rights and wrongs, I am talking about a massive power transfer from those who hold it to those who dont. Now we are damned if we do and damned if we dont whatever we do. They have stoked resentfulness on both sides and whichever government takes the major action (for or against) there will be hell to pay out here in the real world.

      As for flip flopper Luxon, not being values led, he will run scared at the first sign of opposition so if you are pinning your hopes on him to take a principled stand against co governance, I think you will be sorely disappointed.

  5. Don’t worry about Co-Governance New View you are just getting a bit paranoid, Maoris are the same as you and I however they are the only ones that genuinely care about New Zealand.

    • Maori are the only ones who care about the environment? So do you think this is a genetic thing, Hongi? A kaitiakitanga gene maybe?

      A couple of non-Maori friends of mine run an ecological restoration society. They’ve restablished populations of kokako in places where they’d gone extinct. I’m trying to imagine their reaction when I tell them that they’re just faking it – that Maori are the only ones who care about the environment.

    • Which part of the current population that calls itself Maori cares .Does the European part of a mixed blood race not care while the Maori side does .What a stupid call to make.

    • Why did they eat all the moa then? Why didn’t they think for one second to possibly farm them instead of eating them out of exsistance?

      The last time I looked Maori were human beings, the same humans that has destroyed ecologies world over, no better no worse.

  6. Let’s be fair both sides would be too lazy for this to deteriorate into a civil war UNLESS there is absolute economic carnage occurring at the same time. The difference between South Africa/Zimbabwe and New Zealand is it is the MINORITY of the population that want this not the majority. Hence it would be foolish for Maori to go to war.

    • while living standards remain comfortable enough there will never be anyone willing to start a civil war as they still have too much to lose

  7. The cynical Liebour misfits actually cut fuel and bus prices to a level that would ensure the inflation rate was ONLY 6.9 and not in the 7’s. Grants just been on the radio and confirmed it. What utter gobshite people they are. Everything about them is fake. And yes, National rent seeking parasites are just as bad, so don’t give me any partisan BS.

  8. A clear indication of where this government is leading us is now on show in Rotorua, where Tamati Coffey, who didn’t even get sufficient support in his own electorate to retain his seat, now returns like a bad smell to introduce a Local Bill for the Rotorua District Council that seeks to throw out the one person, one vote principle, as it is enshrined in the Local Electoral Act.
    I cannot believe that in the 21st century a major political party in a western democracy would propose to introduce a race based (apartheid) electoral system. It’s mind boggling. It speaks of an unbelievable and willful ignorance of history. One wonders what Labour’s PI support things of this – clearly Labour thinks they’re the wrong shade of brown.

    • An interesting objection to the unequal representation Tamati Coffey plans for the Rotorua District Council comes from Morgan Godfery. His objection is that the voters for the Māori ward will be drawn from the Māori electoral roll (part of the kawanatanga), which will allow Māori hoi polloi without historical ties to the area to have equal say with the true tangata whenua. His concept of co-governance seems to be that it is the iwi and hapū of an area that should provide the Māori representation, elected or chosen by their own methods. A little bit like saying the Scottish highlands, regardless of who lives in them now, should be governed by whichever clans occupied them back in the day … of Robert the Bruce?

    • Seymour didn’t get elected in Epsom, he was gifted it Andrew. At least Coffey stood on his own two feet.

    • … would propose to introduce a race based (apartheid) electoral system. It’s mind boggling.

      [shrugs shoulders]. It’s a perfectly natural consequence of the academic argument that has drifted down from on high to the activists, the the classic argument of the mid-20th century civil rights movement that one should be able to see beyond the colour of a person’s skin – is actually now an example of racism.

      • The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group. Maori aren’t doing none what you are accusing.

    • An ignorance of history Andrew? Whose history are you talking of, ours?I think it’s more based on an acknowledgment of our history. As in one lot got shafted relative to the other. You can argue what the best way forward actually is, but seriously

  9. Oddly enough I think ACTs proposal to discuss and debate all of this could actually help but only if both sides can do so without screeching insults at one another.

    The treaty has no reference to partnership or co-Governance, all it states is that the Queen is sovereign, people have property rights and last but most importantly we are equal under the law

    As a society NZ has never discussed the shift being driven behind the scenes and by incremental stealth that Chris outlines and I can’t help but think that a referendum such as the one ACT has proposed would see an outcome not dissimilar to that of the UK voting for Brexit which was in many ways a vote against the elites and the establishment’s love for unfettered immigration.

    So yes, I agree with Chris insofar as a referendum would be hugely disruptive however I think it will be to our own elites who will be the ones fighting to shut it down as outside of the cesspit that is Wellington most of us just want to be left alone to live amongst all New Zealanders regardless of who our ancestors may or may not have been.

    The average kiwi is a decent and fair minded person and the belief that we should all get a chance to have a suck of the sav is deeply ingrained in what is still a very egalitarian society on a global stage. There’s so much hullabaloo about this co-governance malarkey because the fat cat elites are terrified that the man and woman in the street will see it for what it is, an unashamed asset grab and vote against it and further imposition of contrived and falsely fabricated principles upon us all thereby derailing their gold plated, fur lined gravy train.

    We should be excited and energised about the chance to debate this subject as it will define who we will be in the future and we should be brave enough to acknowledge and speak of the horrors committed in the past by all parties as well as being proud of the many incredible things this small country should rightfully be proud of.

    The very fact that so many on the left don’t want the debate and most certainly don’t want the people to have a say in a referendum is hugely informative as to their confidence around the strength of their argument.

    Unless we talk about it, this issue is just going to fester and rot and that l believe will be far worse in the long run for NZ rather than a year or three of robust debates and noisy protests.

    Are we to become the peoples republic of Aotearoa where access to healthcare, education, welfare and the very strength of one’s vote is determined by one’s ethnicity or will be a nation where all are given an equal chance and all have an equal say regardless of anything other than citizenship.

    Co- governance needs a Referendum.
    This is a major constitutional change to administration of the country.
    I will be voting Act.
    I have been a lifelong voter on the left.
    As the opinion piece in the link shows the co governance agenda has been dirty sneaky dishonest and racist .
    We do not need it. It will not benefit NZ . And we will continue to go backwards as a society.
    Ardern is a dangerously ignorant leader.
    Easy to manipulate she is too lazy to think and cares little for the consequences of her asinine beliefs.

    • Seymour is far more dangerous than Ardern.
      A referendum will favour the majority, ie the anti Maori bloc. This means Maori will see no change in being shafted like they have been ever since the Treaty was signed.
      While we are apparently content to live out the neoliberal nightmare we are enduring there will be no improvements, just more and more grinding us all down (except for the 0.1%).

    • A Referendum is not going to work except for the White Man, it is like having a referendum on Abolishing the Maori Seats with 83% of the population being Non Maori. It’s the RWNJ’s who do not want Maori anywhere near the decision making processes her in NZ. We have some severe sociological imbalances here in NZ especially with JK bringing in 600k Asians when he was in power, they now out number te tangata whenua.

      • All of what you’ve said here demonstrates clearly why reducing everything down to ever smaller groups based on identity is doomed to fail.

        So what if there are more of one group than another if we are all New Zealand citizens?

        If as a society we placed the emphasis on citizenship first and foremost regardless of any other factor I think we would all be in a better place. The idea that has been expressed here rather poorly but still expressed nonetheless that for some unexplainable reason Māori have a greater sense of connection to a tree or hill than any other citizen of this country is laughable and also quite depressing.

    • My voting pattern is the same as yours Shona and I have reluctantly come to the same conclusion. Democracy must stand and then we must definitively deal with the way forward for Maori, the underclass and NZ as a whole. Much as I despise the Act parties other policies.

      In December following the 2020 election, it was obvious to me, what was going down. I wrote to Ardern and then Clarke (to bring pressure to bear if possible) and beseeched them not to do this.

      I suggested that their approach would sew division and because the changes were unheralded, they would squander their first chance in years to make a real difference for the underclass. Specifically, people want houses built and the housing issue solved. Get on and build the houses and make them affordable and available longer term because it will mostly benefit Maori and Pacifica and others who are at the bottom. It is a genuine win for real Maori. When this is done, go to the people and tell them we need to look at NZ’s future, the status of Maori etc and because you have already delivered what they asked for and made a difference for Maori, they will be ready to listen.

      I imagine that since then Ardern has received many similar letters so anyone who thinks she doesnt know what she is doing should think again. She is the biggest liar of any prime minister we have had in recent memory (Key included) and her arrogance is only matched by the weakness of her intellect and inability to think more than 2 steps ahead.

      • If Fantail and Anker can move from voting Left to voting for Act so easily, they are shallow in thought and had no reason for voting Left in the first place.

        • Really? Here’s another possibility, In Vino. Maybe the comments by Fantail and Anker just show they’re not blindly loyal to any particular party – they expect results. I too voted for Labour in 2017, hoping they would do what you might expect of a Labour government – roll back neoliberalism and user-pays. But instead, Ardern and company run off on a tangent, pursing an agenda of radical identity politics. Instead of attacking the country’s existing problems, they seem intent on creating their own legacy of new problems.

          Except for the fervidly ideological, voting is about choosing what you believe to be the least of the evils on offer. Currently we have a PM who shows all the intellectual maturity of a 19-yr old grievance studies student. She and her government have acted deceitfully, and are pushing through an agenda they have no mandate for. Two opposition parties (NZF and ACT) have consistently opposed this government’s anti-democratic agenda, and pledged to halt the identity politics juggernaut. Perhaps mistakenly, I place a very high value on one-person one-vote democracy, and on free speech. So either NZF or ACT will get my vote this time.

  11. Co governance continues by stealth where a stacked Rotorua council is having Labour push through a bill ending universal suffrage : they wish there to be no more one person one vote, starting in Rotorua.
    The submission process was obscenely shortened to 2 weeks.
    None less Graeme Edgeler submits against here:
    “ There are a range of concerns arising from this bill, which suggest it is at best unnecessary, and at worst, profoundly contrary to established democratic principles.”

  12. Well, I guess. If LINO really ‘Go hard’ on co-governance for their 2023 election campaign. They’ll be gone!

    The last 14 polls trend says they’re dog tucker!

    • If my memory serves me correctly? Winston Peters. “Two ‘Wongs’ don’t make it ‘White?”

  13. If I was ACT or the Nats, I would campaign that if Labour wins the 2023 election, it will be the last election held that is ‘one person, one vote, of equal value’.
    Labour will bring in ‘parity’ of Parliament’s MPs – because that is in its DNA.

    Evidence – the Rotorua Council legislation.

    And voters can’t trust the MSM to tell the truth because they have taken the Governments $55m funding.

  14. co-governance is identity politics on steroids

    identity politics is tearing the world apart right now and destroying the human cohesion that keeps societies together and relatively stable

    If we keep going down this path it is going to be an unhappy ending

    on top of that any power system or social structure based on race is simply wrong in 2022. We in NZ prided ourselves on our stand against apartheid and now we let the same kind of racist system into NZ via a sneaky back door? Not for me.

    I have never voted act or even liked act but right now they have my vote :S

  15. Those who control land – the landed gentry – control the country. Our forebears, having fled the impoverishment imposed on them then by Britain’s landed gentry, then immediately set about imposing that self-same system here, on the Maori.
    Maori, after initially seeing European settlement as a boon, soon realized that the parting with their land, that went with it, was parting with their power to participate in decision-making, and so tried to halt the process. Valiantly trying to stop land sales, or to negotiate leasing arrangements that would enable them to retain ownership, they were ignored by the colonialists and so went to war, which ultimately saw them brutally smashed down and their lands then simply confiscated.
    Ironically today, as house prices soar beyond the average Kiwi’s ability to “participate” in the housing market, many are experiencing, in essence, the same dispossession that Maori experienced all those years ago, some even doing as their forebears did and emigrating to other lands, but they don’t see the connection.
    That aside, “Co-governance” is a means of giving Maori a modicum of the power which retention of their land at the outset would have accorded them, and our “landed gentry” don’t like it.

    • Nonsense Malcolm and anyone with half a brain has been able to see the connection between what happened to Maori with illegal land confiscations and what has happened to kiwis under neoliberalism. All of this dispossession was predicted by Bruce Jesson.
      What Coffey has done in Rotorua is illegal.
      This government has NO mandate to destroy our representative democracy.
      The Waitangi Tribunal has been proven to be a successful system for righting the land thefts of the past.
      Our electoral system is NOT up for grabs by 16% of the population.
      Maori are sucessful in the Corporate world. Many are extremely wealthy.
      There are countless mechanisms available to Maori to succeed in the world …and they do.
      Time to stop whining.
      Ardern is a deceitful supine toad and deserves along with her useless political party to be kicked to the curb. Permanently.
      As a non Maori boomer who has studied NZ history at tertiary level for many years and whose family arrived here 190 years ago I have had a gutsful of revisionists.
      Ardern is one.

      Oh just what happened to all the funds from the Sealord Deal???????

      • It seems that Maori can be just as capitalist and greedy as Pakeha..
        But I think you are overstating the danger to representative democracy.

      • Shona you’re spewing garbage literally. example “Maori are successful in the Corporate world. Many are extremely wealthy.” Please provide names of these many extremely elite wealthy Maori??

        “There are countless mechanisms available to Maori to succeed in the world …and they do.
        Time to stop whining.”
        Please don’t confuse equality with equity.
        And what you’ve describe as whining is indicative of the racist pakeha mentality when dealing with tangata-whenua lost.

        “As a non Maori boomer who has studied NZ history at tertiary level for many years and whose family arrived here 190 years ago I have had a gutsful of revisionists.”
        I guess your history at tertiary level taught you absolutely nothing about Maori Feeding and protecting your ancestors whilst they were planning on how to rip them off. And if true that your ancestors arrived 190 years ago then you’re probably descendant of drunken whalers that kidnaped Maori woman, children, to never be seen again.

  16. Peace has not been an option for a long time. I can still remember Ernie Abbott. That was 1984 at the height of the neo-liberal uprising. Since then our votes have had less and less meaning until now when there is little or no purpose to voting.

  17. “The Labour [Government] has no choice but to vote against the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill after Attorney General David Parker found the Bill would limit the right to be free from discrimination and cannot be justified under the Bill of Rights Act,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

    “This Bill was always anti-democratic. It was brought to Parliament as a local bill by former Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey, who is now a list MP, and supported by Labour at first reading.

    “The bill was prepared by the Rotorua Lakes Council to allow it to have more Māori seats. Māori make up 28 per cent of voters in the area and the Bill would have give the 31 per cent of the vote.

    “The assessment by David Parker says: “The conclusion I have reached, that the Bill cannot be justified under s 5 of the Bill of Rights Act, is largely due to the absence of information and analysis available to provide justification for the limit on the right to freedom from discrimination… I have concluded the Bill appears to limit the right to be free from discrimination affirmed in s 19 of the Bill of Rights Act and cannot be justified under s 5 of that Act.”

    “All of the good political movements of the past four hundred years have been about ending discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and sexuality to treat each person with the same dignity.

    “ACT believes this Bill should now go to the Privileges Committee rather than the Māori Affairs Committee. The Māori Affairs Committee is already expected to refer the bill back before it is due, it is more focused on rushing the bill than scrutinising it.

    ““Liberal democracy matters. Every adult New Zealander gets one vote. Superficial characteristics like race, sex, sexuality and religion are not relevant to our rights. Being the first in the world to achieve that is New Zealand’s greatest political achievement.

    “ACT is appealing to the Government to make openness and inclusion the non-negotiable condition for work on our country’s constitutional future. That starts with voting down this bill.”

  18. I think this analysis is spot on.

    For well over a decade now historic Treaty settlements have included co-governance regimes. It is vital that the integrity of those settlements be protected, or else we go back to square one with historical claims. Not somewhere good to go.

    Of course those provisions were reasonable things to have negotiated. Settling Maori want a say in the governance of resources, particularly resources near and dear, and which are often regarded as essential parts of ‘who they are’, or even indivisible from the group. We all feel and want some version of that – subsidiarity as you’ve recently talked about Chris.

    Yet the rationale for historic settlement processes contemplating co-governance redress is different to the rational for the bulk of other settlement redress. The return of land, rights of first refusal, financial redress etc. These were always seen to be – both on the terms of the Treaty and in the eyes of governments – about the return of wrongly-taken property rights. For the legislature to cede governance rights is purely an issue of Crown honour.

    Accumulating unbreakable co-governance obligations was always going to have two effects. One, it would eventually raise expectations in parts of Maoridom for co-governance outside of a settlement context. Thirty years in, this expectation has become considerable among some. But two, having erected a democratic country over more the century since the wrongs being righted in historic settlements, and yes actually meaning it for most or all of that time, equally, the accumulation of settlement-based co-gov obligations was always eventually going to pose challenges in the wider polity. Especially when strong non-settlement co-gov expectations found political support. They would always pose “one person one vote” issues under those inevitably-coming conditions.

    So the settlement co-gov was reasonable. And it goes without saying that it was never going to be desirable or possible to receive the ratification of the public to every settlement, to mirror popular iwi ratification. Equally unpalatable would have been explaining the dynamic of accumulating co-gov obligations to the public in advance. So a widely un-discussed accumulation of obligations we got. It sowed the seeds, nigh on inevitably, for today’s situation. Ironical given that the in attempt to do right so sincerely may be the seeds of its own unwinding.

    Why did (primarily) the National party think this situation would not come to pass? One – they genuinely seem to have pursued settlements because of their belief in the property rights analysis of the historic settlements. But once in, the honour side of things was hardly optional. Two, it seems to me, they subscribed to the (beautiful) idea that the recipient of a sincerely given apology is under a moral obligation to forgive. They truly believed settlements would be “it”.

    That was always going to be somewhat naïve, not to mention in a cross-cultural context, or even any interpersonal one. Some people would always have different takes on all those issues, and some subset of those people would always seek to game a difference of views. That’s just humans. Their view was also silly unless they also pursued economic policies that narrowed inequalities in fact.

    So we now have a serious knot. There is a lot to be said about how to get out it without getting into existential territory. It is needed now. Our impoverished contemporary identity analysis and language are not helping – too much demonising and too much romanticising. Unfortunately all roads lead to quite a lot of truths being held up simultaneously. One: historic settlements must endure and they contain extensive co-governance. Two: possible future historic settlements, including in re freshwater, may extend that further. Three: New Zealand citizens have the same civil and political rights and duties. Four: to the extent that “partnership” undermines that, it is not legitimate. Five: that is not to say significant devolutions and subsidiarity – ie tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake – are not possible within that framework. And so on.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  19. Why don’t we govern by referendums?

    We have 120 electorates and 120 elected MP’s who work with their electorates on the referendum issues. They have no powers.
    The MP’s are effectively administrators and are beholden to their electorate and can be removed by their constituents if they decide to elect them out of that position.

    This should prevent fuckwits like we have now pretending to represent their constituents when effectively as they are now, they don’t for the whole term that they’re in government!

    • MPs as delegates of their electorates rather than representatives would do the trick

      …but it’ll never happen why would pollies give up their brown envelope privileges.

  20. Adern is a Blairite. Blairites always see a move further to the right as a solution to falling poll numbers. That and policy based on the feedback from focus groups provided it doesnt disrupt the market. This lot wouldnt know a left wing policy if it bit them on the arse.

    • Agree Alan. The left of centre is open space, a void, vacant, uninhabited.
      But none of the political parties are interested in a large chunk of the voting populace because it(they) are in the too hard basket.
      The current thinking is just to ‘generation,(zero) them out. Leave them to die off. At any cost.
      They think that this is possible and feasible.

      Is there any chance for an early election?

  21. I keep reading that it was the Nats who began this process.
    If so, what guarantees are there would that voting in a change of govt would make much difference?
    Given that pre-election “promises” seem to be made to be broken (Key: “Won’t raise the GST” – we live with the tragic effects of that one.)

  22. If the changes were to go through, could that mean that ultimately, in the future, some people would need to take a DNA test in order to vote in their preferred manner?

    • Unlike trans-gender issues where self-declaration is declared the reality, a person is not allowed to self-determine their ethnicity.

      Allowing that would make a mockery of ethno-nationalism, and claims of being ‘special’.

      So a DNA test might be needed, but would be hard to get a clear result.

  23. nawww be fair labour want us all to be treated equally…treated like shit that is, without fear or favour

  24. Once we’re without the Treaty and the Crown working collaboratively yet as seperate entities we’re all dog tucker and that’s they way we’re heading at breakneck speed.
    “Will Co-Governance Break Our Democracy?”
    A word on our ‘democracy’. We don’t have one.
    Ok. That was four words but you get my drift.
    What we do have is fascist capitalist tyranny which forces us to accept the rules of the riche elite and their rules are simple; work harder to make us richer now fuck off and die as economically as possible.
    Voting must be made compulsory. Once voting is compulsory, then and only then can you call the current cluster fuck of greed producing deprivation a ‘democracy’.
    “Co-Governance” is a con job invented by lawyers advising the hyper riche to divide us in order for super rich foreign interests to gain a foot hold in our AO/NZ while we squabble like seagulls over a chip Bro.

    • Australia and Samoa have compulsory voting CB plus a slew of South American countries. I would argue that our system of power sharing is no worse than any of theirs.
      Interestingly it is compulsory to vote in North Korea notwithstanding there is only one candidate.

  25. if voting were mandatory at least then we could tally ‘spoilt ballots’

    imagine the scene…

    the returning officer mounts the podium, adjusts the mike, clears his throat
    ‘and the result of the election is
    30percent lab
    20percent nats
    05percent others
    and 45 percent ‘you’re all fuckwits’

    now there’s a result worth staying up for.

    end of all the ‘we’ve got a mandate from the electorate’ bollocks from either side

  26. Can anyone tell me if the ‘Co’ in co government stands for ‘Corporate’ Government?

    You know. Upper House. Ngai Tahu, Tainui-Waikato, Ngati Porou, Ngati Whatua Orakei plus two or three more.
    All you need is to afford the ‘blind’ of One Billion.
    They’re all corporate entities ay?

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