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Dec 5 2023

Watch: Last Home Renters


Rodney Patea is one of a growing number of pensioners who do not own a home. But while he’s surrounded by vacant houses, finding a long-term rental is a struggle.

Made with support from NZ On Air.

Tune into the official opening of the 54th parliament

The commission opening of the 54th parliament will kick off at 11am. For those who have watched an opening before, you’ll know that it largely involves a lot of slow walking, speeches, and some general pomp. Today could be a bit more unusual, with Te Pāti Māori promising “something different” following this morning’s protests.

You can watch the livestream of the opening below and we’ll be running a separate live blog of all the goings on, which you can find here.

Greens urge commitment to Te Tiriti, Act says protesters on ‘wrong side of history’

The debating chamber at parliament. Photo:

The Green Party has taken aim at the government’s 100-day plan, calling it a “legislative assault” that would undo decades of progress for te reo Māori and Māori health.

Co-leader Marama Davidson said it also undermined Te Tiriti o Waitangi and could have “devastating impacts” on tangata whenua.

“We will not remain silent while this visionless government threatens to condemn Māori to poverty and poor health outcomes on our own whenua,” said Davidson.

“Aotearoa can be a place where te reo Māori is celebrated, tangata whenua are supported to live long, healthy lives, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is affirmed and embraced by everyone.”

But the Act Party said today’s protesters were on the “wrong side of history” and showed that Te Pāti Māori didn’t respect New Zealand’s democracy.

“This morning protestors backed by Te Pāti Māori have attempted to block roads and disrupt the opening of Parliament and New Zealander’s lives just because they’re unhappy with the election result,” said David Seymour.

“It’s a sad day when a political party is protesting equal rights. They’re on the wrong side of history. New Zealanders want a respectful debate on the constitutional future of our country and that’s what they’ve voted for.”

Follow along with our live coverage here

The Bulletin: Cabinet paper on Fair Pay Agreements leaked

As the Herald’s Thomas Coughlan writes, the new government “was rocked on Monday evening when a highly confidential cabinet paper made its way into the public domain.” Newshub reported last night that it had obtained the leaked cabinet paper about the government’s plans to repeal the Fair Pay Agreements law. The paper reveals that the official advice is that the move would disproportionately impact women, Māori and Pasifika people and young people.

Newshub reports that workplace relations minister Brooke van Velden told cabinet there had been consultation with the Council of Trade Unions and Business NZ. Treasury said there had been “no consultation”. Newshub has confirmed Business NZ was consulted, but the unions weren’t. There’s no surprise in the fact that the law is on the slate for repeal, nor is there any in the fact that the move will likely disproportionately impact women, Māori and Pasifika people and young people. It is the leak itself that is more likely to be jangling nerves.

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Te Pāti Māori will swear allegiance to Te Tiriti (and then the King)

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi  (Photo by Lynn Grieveson/Getty Images)

Te Pāti Māori MPs will give two oaths in parliament today as the business of politics resumes following October’s election.

The party, which has picked up six seats in the incoming parliament, has raised objections to the requirement of having to swear allegiance to the Crown.

A spokesperson told the Herald that the party would first swear allegiance to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, before taking the official parliamentary oath.

Otago University professor Andrew Geddis explained this morning that it was required by law for MPs to swear allegiance if they wanted to participate in parliamentary business. “It’s a bit like Harry Potter, you have to say the exact words to magically be allowed to sit in the House. If those words are not spoken in exactly the right way, the MP cannot take part in the business of the House, they can’t vote, they can’t take part in the debates,” he said.

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer told RNZ that her party’s MPs would mark the oath in their own way. “Sadly, the prime minister and his government have exactly confirmed our worst fears. We have to kick back and push back.”

It’s not the first time that Te Pāti Māori has expressed concern about the protocol followed during the official opening of parliament. In 2005, the party’s four MPs were forced to retake the oath after only referencing Te Tiriti, and Hone Harawira was kicked out of parliament in 2011.

About 600 protesters have arrived at parliament this morning, led by Te Pāti Māori, on what’s been dubbed “National Māori Action Day”. RNZ has reported that those who have converged are singing waiata and police have closed off some nearby streets.