Newsletter 15

 

Capital Gains Tax

5PM opposes all new taxes and is opposed to the capital gains tax being promoted by Labour and the Greens. They say it is targeted at speculators but they don’t say speculative gains on the sale of assets are already taxed. You can read some background material here:

Capital Gains Tax – Labour’s great leap backwards and
Capital Gains Tax pitfalls and false prophets

 

Media disclosure

An editorial appearing in the NZ Herald on May 14, made an observation that 5PM supporters already know: Partisan politics and mass media journalism do not mix.

The editorial was commenting on the Shane Taurima affair and in particular the independent report into political bias at Television New Zealand. That report found Taurima not only had a clear conflict of interest, but had used TVNZ facilities for Labour Party activities.

The editor makes the point, “It is elementary to journalists that joining a political party is not an option unless they plan to make their career in the party’s publications. Those who want to be credible reporters of news and politics for a mass audience cannot belong to a party. If they did, they would have to declare their affiliation, and their audience would rightly question the reliability of everything they reported.”

Television New Zealand has come to a similar view, and is now demanding journalists and presenters declare membership, fund-raising or other political party activity.

TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick said, “It’s an absolute necessity for our news and current affairs service to operate free from political influence.”

Too true. We think all media organisations should do likewise – Maori Television for example.

 

RMA changes

Last week the government confirmed it has abandoned its third round of Resource Management Act (RMA) amendments because Peter Dunne and the Maori Party have refused to support it. The proposed changes would have required decision-makers to balance environmental, social, economic and cultural values when considering resource management issues.

The Maori Party claim the changes would undermine the traditional role of Maori. In a newspaper article in the Wanganui Chronicle, co-leader Tariana Turia wrote, “The connection to the resources and the environment was more than one of merely obtaining food for physical sustenance – it also reflected the spiritual connection with deities like Tane, Tangaroa and Rongo – the guardians of the forests, the waterways and cultivated foods for example.”

Mr Dunne says the proposal to combine the existing principles section 6 (Matters of national importance) with section 7 (Other matters) into one non-hierarchical list in a new principles section 6 would weaken environmental protections and strengthen economic considerations. In other words, he wants to maintain the hierarchy where environmental protection has greater regard than the economic and social wellbeing of our communities.

Unfortunately this is yet another example that shows MMP is a dog with fleas. Two parties that collectively represent some 2% of voters have stymied plans that would benefit the majority of the population and bring a sense of pragmatism to the RMA that is long overdue.

The National Party has undertaken to resume the reforms should it have the numbers after the 20 September election. Indeed, reform of the RMA should be an election issue – it needs major reform to force councils to act sensibly as clearly many have shown an inability to do so.

We hope reform will eventually put an end to the obscene racketeering by those within the RMA industry – and it is indeed a huge regulatory industry. Everyone from judges, commissioners, lawyers, consultants, environmental activists, and iwi are making fortunes by grafting off the enterprise of others – taking years to make decisions that should be made within days or weeks. We think history will eventually show the RMA to be ill-conceived legislation – but not before a generation of professionals has used its weaknesses to plunder and pillage!

 

Firewood

As if we need another example that highlights the case against the RMA, consider this action by the Auckland Council against a couple running a firewood business. A report in the NZ Herald states:

“Comer and his wife, Nora, obtained a resource consent to run a firewood company at Kumeu in 1996. But the premises, originally in a rural area, had become unsuitable over the years. Lifestyle blocks had been created nearby and noise from the business became an issue for some of the Comers’ new neighbours.

The Comers decided to move and in 2004 they bought a property in Whenuapai to serve as their new premises.

Comer’s lawyer…told the court that the couple had spent more than $135,000 in securing resource consent for the new premises. That was finally granted last January, eight years after it had been applied for.

Meanwhile, Auckland Council issued an abatement notice ordering the Comers to cease operating their business at Kumeu as the resource consent there had expired.

Council staff accompanied by a police officer executed a search warrant in May last year, confirming that the business was still operating at the site.

At the sentencing, Auckland Council asked for fines of more than $40,000 on Comer personally and $15,000 on his company…as a starting point.”

Some key points stand out.

  • The couple spend $135,000 obtaining the resource consent. No wonder firewood is getting expensive!
  • The consent took eight years to obtain!
  • Why didn’t the Comer’s have existing use rights? After all their new neighbours chose to live near their existing activity.
  • The Council issued an abatement notice, even though the Comer’s had proved they were relocating. Instead of taking legal action the Council should have put its efforts into processing the resource consent and assisting the applicants through the process.

The Court found the couple guilty of breaching the abatement notice but some sanity prevailed at the sentencing when the penalty imposed was in the form of a donation of firewood to charity.

Nora Comer said she did not think her husband should have been penalised at all: “We don’t feel like devious criminals, we had just been doing what we had already been doing for 17 years.”

We agree.  They are not criminals. They are people going about their ordinary business. The charges should have been dismissed – the judge should have ordered the Council to use its powers more responsibly in the future.

In fact, it’s a tribute to human resilience that the Comers continued with the consent process, and it’s also remarkable that anything outside of the rigid requirements of the definition of a complying activity ever happens in New Zealand at all. The RMA was intended to be an enabling Act – one that gave flexibility to those with enterprise and initiative to pursue their activities, providing the effects are avoided, remedied, or mitigated, as well as balancing a community’s environmental, social, cultural and economic needs.

The Act has instead choked enterprise and cost communities. It is nonsense like this which shows how wrong Peter Dunne and the Maori Party are to oppose reform of the RMA. Perhaps they should realise that most people need jobs more than they need to sit in a love circle sniffing incense and chanting environmental mantras.

 

5PM polls

Last week we asked:

Do you think the Local Electoral Act 2001 should be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives?

The sentiment was clear: 98% said yes, 2% no.

The full list of comments can be seen at the end of this newsletter and include:

  • I do not agree that the council has any right to grant any person a seat on their council with voting rights. Any seat held by a member should only be there from a vote by rate payers – Graeme<
  • Unelected representatives have no right to be there – Russell
  • We are all one people. No one group must have special privileges granted by a local government without majority approval of all citizens on the roll – David
  • We should demand to uphold our hard won Democracy! What they are suggesting here goes totally against Democracy! How dare they even think it, let alone propose to do it? – Heather
  • The proposal to appoint non-elected ‘experts’ with voting power has just been made by our Nelson Mayor. There are already letters of objection in the Nelson Mail – Robin

We have therefore put up a new policy proposal: That Section 19ZB of the Local Electoral Act 2001 be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives.

If supported, it will become part of the 5PM policy platform.

 

The results are in!

Polling has closed for the policy proposation that: The local government Act be amendment to include the right of citizens to demand a binding referendum to remove their mayor from office?

The policy proposition was supported by more than 90% of those who voted. It has therefore been added to our list of policies.

For a full list of policies see HERE

 

5PM Voting Booth

Today we have added the new proposal regarding the right for voters to have a final say on the appointment of unelected members to council committees:

That Section 19ZB of the Local Electoral Act 2001 be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives.

The other policies in the 5PM Polling Booth are:

*NOTA on Ballot Papers: That a NOTA (none of the above) voting option be included on ballot papers in local and central government elections, with the effect that should NOTA gain the most votes, the election nominations would be re-opened and another election held.


*Foreign Ownership of Land:
 Should foreign entities and foreigners (individuals who are neither New Zealand citizens nor permanent residents) be taxed 10% of the value of New Zealand property purchases with the funds raised being offered as low interest loans to NZ resident first home buyers?

Many thanks to those who have already voted – if you haven’t voted, votes may be cast at the Voting Booth on the 5PM website HERE.

 

5PM poll

This week we ask:

Do you think Peter Dunne and the Maori Party were right to withhold their support for the proposed RMA reforms?

To take part in the poll visit the 5PM website 5pm.org.nz and look on the sidebar.

 

The 5PM Facebook Page

Don’t forget that we encourage your comments on the 5PM Facebook page. The link is HERE.

 

And please don’t forget to help us spread the message about 5PM!

 

Regards,
Frank and Muriel Newman

P.S. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others!

Here are the comments received on the latest pollDo you think the Local Electoral Act 2001 should be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives?

It is vital that this is done correctly. There are too many back-door deals being done to get Maoris onto council. It’s underhand & illegal. PETER
I find it hard to believe that our elected councillors are bowing to the demands of Maori. Is it that they are threatened with civil unrest, directions from the UN or do they wish to be seen as the great PR/PC big boys/girls of the nation? Mike
These rights should not be granted to anyone and particularly on a race basis only situation. Gina
That what democracy is all about. Hermann
Generally I don’t believe that polls are good as so many especially elderly are swayed to affect the result when they don’t understand the implications. Joan
All New Zealanders should be treated the same. Iain
No Race based council members, not voted by the citizens. Clint
There should be no unelected representatives with voting rights in any council. Ian
It’s not right. It stinks. Had a gutsful of this racism. It’s time NZ was run for everybody not just a small bunch of racists. Richard
I do not agree that the council has any right to grant any person a seat on their council with voting rights. Any seal held by a member should only be there from a vote by rate payers. Graeme
Unelected representatives are not true reps but, instead, false reps and therefore have no right to be there. Russell
Until we have ‘one law for all’ in Local, Regional Bodies and Central Government we will continue to have race based policy that can only lead to further division between cultures. Maureen
One New Zealand – no racial preferences. Patrick
Maori now, who next? Pacific Islanders? Muslims? Climate Change Goblins? Peter
We are all one people. No one group must have special privileges granted by a local government without majority approval of all citizens on the roll. David
The situation at present, allowing unelected Maori representatives to have voting rights on certain councils is completely undemocratic Myles
Democracy is a precious thing for which many fought long and hard. In New Zealand it is not based on racial privilege – yet. Alan
The Local Body Councils are put there by the local people for the local people, and must act for the majority of the people. The only Race in New Zealand is a New Zealander, otherwise we are only made up of Tribes of different colour. Bill
Maori do not have a democratic system but a Feudal system of ancient history. David
ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS WITH VOTING RIGTHS SHOULD BE ELECTED MEMBERS ONLY. Maurice
There should be no race voting allowed – we are one race and a great one – let’s ensure we head this way. Phill
I am totally against any unelected representation on Councils, particularly so if voting rights are also granted. Doug
Very undemocratic and with racial overtones. Laurie
Absolutely – no debate, no exceptions! Murray
Yes, and quickly. Douglas
Sooner the better. Richard
This is an essential and just requirement. No further comment needed. Graham
If a person or body is not elected into any position then that person or body has no right to vote on any matter as they do not represent the people their vote will effect. Stan
It very likely demonstrates the mindlessness of these so called councillors that they contemplate such a move without consulting their employers… the ratepayers. Peter
We should demand to uphold our hard won Democracy! What they are suggesting here goes totally against Democracy! How dare they even think it, let alone propose to do it? Heather
Anything other a bonding poll is undemocratic. Let’s try democracy here for a change! Kevan
It shouldn’t even come up for discussion, it is not democratic and if it is for a Maori, it is racist as well. Eric
The proposal to appoint non-elected ‘experts’ with voting power has just been made by our Nelson Mayor. There are already letters of objection in the Nelson Mail. Robin
How much more of this BS special rights for these part-pakeha-Maori do we have to tolerate? And what an insult to these people that they need to be appointed rather than elected (is it because they are regarded as thick?). Carolyn
By what ‘divine right’ do they think they can just ‘do’ this??? We live in a country where we really and truly DO have apartheid…..and that is directed against anyone not perceived to be a person of the land! it is – purely and simply – pandering. Naine
We are supposed to be all equal citizens of New Zealand, aren’t we?????? Peter
Do not give preferential treatment based on ethnic origin. Neil
Elected council members are there because they polled from the public at large sufficient votes to be worthy of voting on matters affecting policy. Robert
Enough of this nonsense. Hugo
That is democracy. John
My NO vote is not to say I agree with any UNELECTED appointments, I DO NOT. Councils are free to accept the advice of any person, group, lobby group, reporting agency paid or unpaid, even pollsters. Richard
It is patently undemocratic to have unelected representatives with voting rights. Unelected representatives will enjoy this as a feeding trough. Any trial of this should be a trial and it should be reviewed after a short period. Charles
At all level of local and govt. Arthur
I feel very angry about councils appointing non-elected people to have voting rights. If they are not elected they should never have voting rights at the council. This is side-stepping democracy. Rob
Remember Boston! In this case no representation without taxation. Christopher
Raced based privileges are not democratic or legal. Edward
Unelected iwi or any other gang should never have voting rights on any elected council any where in our country. End of story. james
Are we living in a democracy or not 1 law for all please. This insidious act against the people of NZ must be stopped immediately. wendy
The amendment should forbid councils from giving voting rights to anyone not an elected representative. Phil
Councils do not have the right to make these sorts of decisions. They should stick to their core business which is maintaining infrastructure for the benefit of their ratepayers. kevin
UNELECTED should not vote. Errol
Definitely! Judy
We have to stop this racism at work…so where to from here? Paul
Unelected says it all. Neil
Otherwise you could end up with any tom, dick or harry on there for themselves voting to get what they want. Tony
The entire principal of elected representation is undermined when appointees are granted veto and voting rights. Ian
Maori are very astute politically and do not need or require assistance over and above standing for election on an equal footing with other candidates. Look at the empirical evidence available within NZ. John
Sounds like commonsense but that is in very short supply with PC (cultural Marxism) ruling the day. Monica
And the sooner the better. Bill
What comes next, a Chinese seat in parliament given to an Asian? Sam
But can we make a poll binding before holding a referendum making polls, and referenda binding? Alan
Absolutely! Utterly fed up with this racist circumvention of democracy here in NZ. It is born of a rampant, misplaced colonial guilt that was surreptitiously seeded into our national discourse from the 70s onwards, and has culminated in a brainwashed population. Jeremy
New Zealand government and local government thinking needs to view the population and its policies in the context of the present and not yoke it to the Treaty of Waiting forever. Times and circumstances change, we are in the 21st century. Tony
Should not even be an issue! Scott
Unelected – no voting rights; otherwise there is too much scope for interest groups to steer local authorities with selective rather than broad community interests. Any Council thinking of doing otherwise should have the idea considered by the appropriate Stan
It is simply wrong/unlawful to allow unelected representatives to make decisions that effect ratepayers. It is also continuing to further the divisive gap which has been created by some Maori. And stupid politicians. Fraser
I feel like a 2nd class citizen every time Maori get special rights. David
The dam clause should not be there in the first place! “Privileged racism”. A blight on our nation after all the garbage we went through against apartheid. John Minto & co should be ashamed!!! Then again I suppose most “politicians”. Brian
IT would be better to have legislation to prevent this happening in the first place. More thought needs to be given to the unintended consequences of new or existing legislation. Ray
Without the right to a vote on what is, a local government constitution reform, any demand by the Local Government Commission or Councils to include any representation on Councils by the appointment process is not only invalid, but totally undemocratic. Brian
And made retrospective to 1750! Robert
Basic democracy. Ross
No one in the 21st century should have special privilege over anyone else based on the colour of their skin or race. What is truly disgusting in NZ is the media shut down of any of this happening. No one knows about this. Lee
Lets have a level playing field for all! Bill
Absolutely!!! Maddi
I believe attempts to unilaterally appoint voting Maori without a binding poll is racist and scandalous – at its worst. BEWARE: Hitler, Stalin and other dictators went down self appointed domination – and history clearly illustrated the dire consequences. Stuart
One Law for All. Robin
We should not call this country a democracy if unelected representatives can influence councils, regardless of their race. Fiona
If Mayors campaign on a platform of equality and law for all and subsequently seek to implement a hidden agenda – impeachment and removal should follow automatically. Bruce
Any other move than this would be undemocratic and goes back to the communistic government that Clark was supposedly the head of. Roy
Elected representatives only otherwise the door is wide open for corruption. Chris
The public’s rights are not served in the absence of binding polls relevant to this and similar important democratic issues. Les
Without this basic principal being included, it makes a mockery of any voting carried out by the council! The purpose of an election is to give citizens the opportunity to place the best possible candidates in a position of trust. John
Binding referenda needs to become the law of the Country……both nationally and for local bodies. Ronmac
This should be accompanied by a statutory requirement that all councils throughout the country be required to publish in the local and national press the voting record of each councillor not more than 7 days following each meeting. Victor
The CORE of any democracy is power to the people ….. NOT cronyism and political correctness allowing UNELECTED and undemocratic wannabes to gain voting rights and unwarranted power via a back door loophole! Michael
Although the public shouldn’t have to demand anything. And is a poll the same as a referendum? Councils should only be able to act if they have obtained majority approval from a binding referendum. Fiona
Absolutely. It is a fundamental right of democracy, especially when and where vested interests seek to circumvent due process through devious manipulation in pursuit of their cause for the sole benefit of a small minority. Brian
I consider that to grant voting rights on any other basis than 1 person, 1 vote is a step to division in society and would lead to problems and possible insurrection in society. A binding poll is a prerogative. Brian
When somebody is elected to office they should seek to endorse public (majority) opinion. Richard
No council should have the ability to circumvent the democratic process. This is New Zealand, not a fascist state. Peter
I agree with the above. Barbara
Yes there is too much of this PC rubbish and appeasing the minorities and silencing the majority. David
This is what the Waikato Regional Council did-created separate Maori seats without holding a vote. Roger
To do anything else is to subvert democracy. Tom
Absolutely we need to have this to ensure we have democracy for all retained as best as we can. Audrey
Councils can only be responsible to the electors if done by elected people – the motives change when it is by appointment. Maurie
We are a democracy not a dictatorship where the few tell the majority what is going to happen. Ian
That’s not democratic. Tony
..Return of DEMOCRACY…is essential… Christopher
Ultimately the ratepayers (including those who pay through rents) meet all a council’s funding needs including salaries to the bureaucrats they should control and remuneration to the councillors themselves. This, as they build their little empires. Alan
It is not democratic, what the Council proposes to do. David
The Maoris are only interested in destroying democracy in this country and councils and the government are helping them to achieve it. The wishes of the people have been sacrificed for “indigenous rights”. Mitch
Definitely need public input to these decisions. Alan
Excellent proposal. A pity we have to enforce this by legislation. Elvin
But it must be very weak legislation to begin with. Why should ANY special interest or ethnic or religious group etc be allowed representation in any ‘special’ way? The very notion is outrageous!!! Frank
Only the ratepayers should have the right to choose voting council representatives James
It’s just ridiculous that unelected people can have voting rights. We are supposed to live in a democracy, or so we thought. Lorraine
Yes, you bet and the sooner the better. Athol
Actually – no! The electoral act should be amended to preclude a council from taking racist and/or undemocratic action of any sort. Auntie Podes
A council should not be able to over-ride the public’s right to vote in voting representatives. Unethical. Bev
Councils have sunk to the same depth as the National Maori Government by acting in a sly way in order to appease a minority race where stealth can be used as a dishonest resort. Colin
Only elected members represent the people. Francis
But it should go further: there must be no unelected representatives with voting rights appointed to local council committees, under any circumstances. Graham
What part of the word democracy do councils not understand? Wayne
Absolutely the public should demand the right. In no way should unelected people have voting rights. Frank
We are slowly becoming taken over by a minority group. I have no problem with Maori representation on a population based membership – not 50 – 50 or even a majority in some cases. Barrie