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Te Pāti Māori calls for nationwide protest against government’s co-governance policies

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Motorists are being advised to prepare for disruptions across the country tomorrow as Te Pāti Māori plans protests against the newly-formed government’s policies.

Te Pāti Māori is calling on the community to join in taking a stand against what they say is an “assault on tangata whenua”.

In a social media post on Monday, Te Pāti Māori issued a nationwide call to action, scheduled for Tuesday, 5 December.

The Nationwide Action Day aligns with the opening of the 54th term of Parliament, where all MPs are required to swear an oath of allegiance to the King of England.

The action comes in response to a raft of co-governance related policies announced last week by the new National-led coalition.

Some of the policies include scrapping Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority, just 16 months after its establishment, and the proposal of a Treaty Principles Bill. The bill promises a comprehensive review of all legislation, aside from the full and final Treaty Settlements Act, with the aim of removing existing references to “principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” from law.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, speaking at Monday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, said he encouraged everyone to be lawful, peaceful and respectful.

“Everyone’s entitled to their right to protest … our government is deeply committed to improving outcomes for Māori and non-Māori. And if we’re really honest, the last six years, the outcomes have not been good for Māori under the Labour government.”

He acknowledged the protests were also being organised by some iwi.

“What I’d say to you is we’ve only been in government just on a week … we are deeply committed to improving outcomes for Māori, period.

“The one word we have to focus on is delivery and actually getting things done for Kiwis.”

According to Te Pāti Māori social media posts, the kaupapa of the action day is to demonstrate the “beginning of a unified Aotearoa approach to the government’s assault on Tangata Whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

“Demonstrating the might of Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti working together. The revolution of Gen-T (Generation Tiriti) standing up for and protecting the rights of all our mokopuna”, and “asserting the mana of Te Tiriti O Waitangi as enduring and everlasting”.

The tikanga of the Action Day is peaceful, respectful, mokopuna focused, mokopuna friendly, and wairua pai, according to the Te Pāti Māori social media post.

Plans for the day are already emerging with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Te Rangi Iwi trust, a Tauranga-based iwi, issuing a pānui to whānau on Facebook calling them to take protest action.

“This national protest is in direct response to the government changes that seek to rapidly dismantle three generations worth of work under an agenda that blatantly disregards the place of Māori in Aotearoa and looks to marginalise us as Tangata Whenua,” the pānui said.

“We have worked too hard to revitalise our reo, educate our people, correct the injustices faced by Māori by offering equitable opportunities to be healthy, housed and employed, keep our people out of jail, whilst working towards ensuring that future generations of Māori do not bear the weight of the same injustices imposed upon us, to have these efforts reversed.”

The action will be taking place across the country, starting at 7am Tuesday with more than 16 planned locations posted on Te Pāti Māori social media.

Police preparing for disruptions across the North Island
In a statement, police assistant commissioner Sandra Venables said they were preparing for the protests, which were likely to cause disruptions to traffic between 7.30am and 9am on motorways across Tāmaki Makaurau, Waikato, Palmerston North, Hawera, New Plymouth, Tokoroa, Whanganui, Porirua, Whangārei, Tauranga, Rotorua, and Wellington.

Police were working with organisers to provide advice on lawful protest, as well as any health and safety implications, Venables said.

“Officers will be highly visible across the roading network throughout the morning and, in some locations, will put measures in place to prevent protesters putting themselves and motorists in harm’s way.

“Unlawful behaviour will result in enforcement action, either at the time or following the event if safety issues prevent immediate action.”

Motorists in affected areas were advised to plan ahead and anyone travelling to the airport or to any other time-sensitive commitment is advised to allow more time for their journey.

RNZ has contacted Te Pāti Māori for comment.

Labour spokesperson says protests ‘not a surprise’
Labour Māori development spokesperson Willie Jackson said he understood the anger at the new government.

“I don’t know all the details but I hear that there’s going to be major protests around the Auckland area, so we’ll be watching and it’s not a surprise but there’s a lot of anger out there at the moment.

“I understand it, I’ve heard about it for quite some time, I did make some warnings before about the type of response you’d get if a referendum was rolled out – and while they’re not rolling out a referendum, you’ve got attacks on te reo Māori, you’ve got attacks on the Māori Health Authority, there’s question marks about Māori funding going forward, and there’s a huge level of frustration.”

“At the moment, I say good on them,” he said of the protesters.

Te Pāti Māori also plan to pledge an oath of allegiance to mokopuna, rather than the King. Jackson said he did not plan to do the same, but he understood it and there should be a choice offered.

“I think our people should have an option, and I don’t have a problem supporting that. I’m thinking more about what we have to do right now in terms of responding to the attacks on us but if people want to make a statement and roll out a strategy there at the swearing-in, good on them.”

VIA RNZ

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Heavy rain, wind and snow possible as autumn storm sweeps in

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Forecasters say Mother Nature is “shifting into a new gear”, with the temperatures set to plunge and weather warnings possible.

Heavy rain, wind and snow are on their way for parts of the country as an autumn storm moves in.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said on social media that Mother Nature would be “shifting into a new gear” this weekend Heavy rain, wind and snow are on their way for parts of the country as an autumn storm moves in.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said on social media that Mother Nature would be “shifting into a new gear” this weekend now that summer was over.

A band of heavy rain would move over the country on Saturday and Sunday, while wind, colder temperatures and snow to high elevations could be expected at the start of next week.

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Air NZ sorry for charging tourists $13,000 to change flight after terminal diagnosis

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Air New Zealand has admitted it made a mistake when it tried to charge two US tourists $13,000 to change their flights after one of them received a grave medical diagnosis.

Todd and Patricia Kerekes flew business class from New York to Auckland in January. The return tickets cost $37,500.

They intended to stay until April, but six weeks into their visit Patricia was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder. Their surgeon advised them to head home immediately, so Todd contacted Air NZ to have their flights moved up.

“Right away on the first call I told them my wife was gravely ill, and we were on holiday and we needed to go back home,” the 60-year-old told Checkpoint.

“And it was a whole series of long pauses, and I couldn’t tell whether they were conferring with co-workers or working at it on the computer, or what it was. But I would go through a whole series of 15- to 30-minute hold periods, and sometimes the people would come back and basically tell me something I didn’t want to hear, like it was gonna cost me NZ$13,000 to change my flight.”

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Housing Minister Chris Bishop sets ‘long-term’ price target of three to five times household incomes

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The new housing minister has set a target of having homes costing just three to five times household incomes – well below what they are now in most of New Zealand.

But Chris Bishop does not want too quick a fix to the country’s housing affordability crisis – saying a crash “tomorrow” would “cause enormous economic and financial instability to people”.

“What I want is for house prices to moderate over time, so that in 10 to 20 years’ time, we have essentially gone a long way towards solving our housing affordability problem,” he told Checkpoint on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day he outlined the first steps in his plan, saying most of the country’s biggest cities will be flooded with land for residential development.

In a speech delivered to Wellington’s Chamber of Commerce, Bishop confirmed councils will have to earmark 30 years’ worth of land for housing development.

They will be able to opt out of housing density rules that allow homes up to three stories high on most residential sites without the need for a consent – a bi-partisan rule that National signed up to in opposition. Instead, councils will be able to choose exactly where high density housing goes.

He also promised to make it easier to build granny flats or dwellings less than 60 square metres.

In his speech, Bishop said the status quo was costing the country the equivalent of 15 Transmission Gully motorways every four years “just on helping people to be housed”.

“The taxpayer subsidises rents for people in social housing, we pay for emergency housing grants, we pay for transitional housing, we help people with their bond payments and so it goes. A failure to reform housing has made it extremely expensive for government.”

And in a briefing to Cabinet, Bishop said housing affordability was arguably the single most pressing economic and social issue.

Speaking to Checkpoint, Bishop said New Zealand was not short of land, but rules “make it very difficult to use that land”.

“What we’re saying is we need to go out at the edge of our cities and we also need to go up inside our cities.”

Inside existing limits, Bishop said the coalition government would keep Labour’s policy of allowing up to six storeys “within walkable catchment areas of rapid transit stops”, and give councils more discretion over what areas had to allow up to three storeys.

Asked how councils would be prevented from pushing most of the intensification to certain suburbs and leaving others alone, he said: “There are natural limits on the intensification that would take place in suburbs. There are infrastructure limits, for example.

“But also, you know, over time suburbs will change and the nature of our cities will change. I mean, if you think about the Auckland CBD now, compared to say 50 years ago, it is much more dense, many more people live in apartments, they live in tower blocks in the CBD. The same is true to some extent of Wellington.

“But you know, the Wellington of today will look very different to the Wellington of 30 years’ time. Change will be gradual. It is not going to happen immediately, change will happen over many, many years.

“But what I am saying and what the government is saying is that we need more houses. We have an affordability problem in New Zealand and have done so for 30 years because we have designed a planning system that has made it very difficult to build more housing, and it is a social and economic problem we’ve simply got to grapple with.”

Pressed on how much he would like to see house prices drop, Bishop cited the internationally popular metric of prices to household incomes.

“In housing markets that we consider to be affordable, a house price to income ratio of between three and five is considered affordable. That’s not the case in most of our major cities right now.”

Current data shows that multiple nationwide is currently 6.6. In Auckland it is 8.1, Wellington 6.14, Christchurch 5.84, Hamilton 6.57 and Dunedin 5.7. In Queenstown-Lakes, the multiple is almost 15.

“Over time as you moderate house prices and incomes grow, [three to five] is what we would like to see things get to, but as I say, that is not going to happen immediately and it is not going to even happen in the next two to three or four years. This is something that has to happen in the medium- to long-term.

“And unless we do that, house prices will continue to go up and people will continue to be locked out of the housing market.

“I want house prices to be affordable, and a house price to income ratio of seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, in some cases 13 to one in some parts of New Zealand is not affordable, entrenching inequality and poverty in our cities.”

He refused to give an exact timeframe, saying that would be making the same mistake the Labour-led government did in claiming it could build 100,000 houses in 10 years.

“Land markets and the economy is much more complicated than that. What I am saying to you is that we have [an] extensive and comprehensive work programme based on evidence to make housing more affordable in the medium- to long-term.”

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