A sweet sounding “co-governance agreement” is, in fact, the sharing of sovereignty between democratically elected government and councils on the one hand and an unelected and feudal tribal elite on the other. Co-governance agreements are also a violation of the Treaty of Waitangi, which by Article One passed the sovereignty of New Zealand to Queen Victoria absolutley and without qualification.

Co-governance agreements are driving a sword through the sovereignty of the nation. They violate the democratic principle as it means that popularly elected governments and councils can make decisions not for the good of the general public but only with the consent of some small, undemocratic, local, private tribe with no interests other than its own.

The co-governance agreement that Treaty Minister, Christopher Finlayson, made with Tuhoe in secret, behind closed doors, and without any public input is overwhelming evidence of the evil of these agreements since Tuhoe is a particularly backward and selfish tribe with very little concern for or interest in other New Zealanders. Have we fought wars for democracy just to have our long held right to govern ourselves by elected representatives taken off us by a johnny-come-lately like Finlayson, who seems to have a sneering contempt for the democratic principle – presumably because on all three occasions on which he has stood for Parliament in his home town of Wellington he has been resoundingly defeated?

1 Law 4 All’s opposition to co-governance agreements is complete, unqualified, permanent and principled. That means an end to any existing co-governance agreements such as those relating to the Waikato and Wanganui Rivers, the Tuhoe settlement, the Hauraki Gulf Forum, and the co-management of Tiraupenga mountain near Lake Taupo. All these will be renegotiated, with any form of co-governance not being an option.

Either you believe in accountablr democracy or you don’t. National and Labour don’t but 1 Law 4 All does. And we will ensure that the Crown take back the authority and sovereignty that have been so unwisely been transferred from the general public to the tribal elite.

Co-governance

Co-management first appeared in the multi-tribal Poukani settlement of $2.65-million in 2000, which related to the 49,514 hectare Pouakani block situated between Lake Taupo and Mangakino, and included co-management of Tiraupenga Mountain.

Co-governance arrangements were part of the Waikato River settlements of 2010 that included five tribes — Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, and Maniapoto. This settlement created substantial co-management funding of at least $71-million over 27 years, and there was no indication whether this funding had anything to do with improving the quality of Waikato River water.

Efforts to co-govern on the Hauraki Gulf Forum, a statutory body administered by Auckland Council to manage the Hauraki Gulf, became problematic in 2012 when, dissatisfied with having five out of 21 votes, the so-called “mana whenua” group started pushing for voting powers equal to those of non-Maori members.

Its 21 members include five Auckland councillors, two Auckland council local board members, three ministry representatives (Conservation, Fisheries, Maori Affairs), five other local body representatives (Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako, Waikato district, Waikato regional), and six “tangata whenua” members.

1law4all opposes co-governance arrangements, seeing them simply as a grab for funding and political power.