Two district councillors and a Rotorua academic have set up a new organisation - the Rotorua Pro-Democracy Society - to protect the democratic rights of all citizens.

Councillors Rob Kent and Mike McVicker have joined forces with Reynold Macpherson to form an incorporated society as a direct result of what they believe to be unilateral decision-making by Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick regarding the Te Arawa partnership plan.

Mrs Chadwick said everyone in Rotorua should be interested in protecting their democratic rights, "that's why I got elected".

Mr McVicker, who has written a comment piece with Dr Macpherson on page 11 today, said he thought the group would receive plenty of support from the Rotorua public.


"We have more members lined up to join and at this stage are looking at a group of between five and seven people to discuss moving this into an incorporated society so we can raise funds for any legal action we could take in the future."

He said if Mrs Chadwick rammed through a Te Arawa partnership plan proposal at a council meeting next Thursday, she and the Rotorua Lakes Council would face stiff opposition from the group and its supporters.

"We will not go away, we need to strategise and plan what we do in the future.

"Our intention is to stop this undemocratic process which is dividing our community and I have no doubt the majority of Rotorua people would support us," Mr McVicker said.

The plan could see local iwi represented on council, and on council committees, and possibly given voting rights without going through a district-wide election process.

Neither Mrs Chadwick nor the working group behind the proposal have revealed any information about what has been discussed.

It is expected that a Te Arawa delegation will present a range of partnership models next Thursday.

"In recent times the council, with the support of the mayor, has increasingly paid lip service to due process and pushed through numerous decisions," Mr McVicker said.


He hoped the formation of the society would prevent any discrimination or advantage for people based on race, religion, ethnic group, or gender.

Mr Kent said if any part of the proposal was seen to be undemocratic they would look to take their concerns to the courts.

"Democracy is sacrosanct.

"We have elected officials to do the job and you cannot give unelected others equal rights, no matter who they happen to be.

"I have no issue with having far greater liaison and consultation with Te Arawa, and any other iwi, and I believe council has been remiss in this in the past," he said.

Dr Macpherson said he felt he had seen enough evidence of the council ignoring the rules of democracy for him to speak up and defend those values to help improve governance.

Mrs Chadwick said the council had been consulting with iwi for more than a year, "so it's not being rushed in my view".