Devoid of Democracy

Unelected iwi interests are determining the future of the Hauraki Gulf.

Their representatives control the development of the Hauraki Gulf marine spatial plan. They will ultimately recommend the plan to relevant councils and agencies for implementation through their statutory processes.

For some hard to fathom reason, the project (christened ‘Sea Change’) has been set up as a 50/50 partnership. It is comprised of 8 representatives of regional iwi – known as mana whenua – and 8 from participating government agencies, i.e. the Hauraki Gulf Forum, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Ministry of Primary Industries and Territorial Authorities.

To add to the racially selected make-up of this steering group, one of the Waikato Regional Council delegates represents the newly created Nga Tai ki Uta Maori constituency. Consequently the steering group is made up of 9 members representing Maori interests, and just 7 representing the general population.

This arrangement is another example of how our democratic principles are being subverted. Power is being demanded and granted on an unelected, unaccountable racial basis. There is a significant shift in the balance of power away from the general population and towards self-appointed iwi interests.

For a list of the members of the steering group see:

Questions you might well ask your Councillors and MPs:

  •  Who exactly do the “mana whenua” representatives actually work for? How does one join this group and obtain power? By what process do they get their positions?
  • Apart from them representing just one population segment, have they been checked for any other conflicts of interest?
  • Who pays their costs?
  • How is their performance evaluated and by whom?
  • What confidence can ratepayers have that the interests of all New Zealanders in the region will be protected?

(Note: The Hauraki Gulf approximates 4000 km². Its waters surround the eastern side of the Auckland Region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island.)

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