The Hobson's Pledge Trust has made headlines in Rotorua and across the country in the last few days.

The trust's vision is New Zealand "is a society in which all citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of when they or their ancestors arrived in this land".

It states on its website "now is the time to arrest a decline into irreversible separatism".

"This may be achieved by speaking out wherever local authorities propose race-based structures and where the current government proposes co-governance."


Rotorua district councillor Mike McVicker is a trustee for Hobson's Pledge and the group is headed by former National Party leader Don Brash.

Already the trust has come under fire with many calling them racists, however they do have plenty of support from New Zealanders.

The group wants the next government to "remove all reference to consultation with any ethnic group from the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, hold a referendum on scrapping separate Maori electorates" and "drop the proposal to grant tribal trusts special powers to control the allocation of water".

The Rotorua Daily Post asked the district's mayoral contenders what they thought of the trust and how it related to Rotorua.

Dr Reynold Macpherson:

In my view Hobson's Pledge is a reactionary campaign against race-based structures, such as co-governance, that promote separatism. I believe disproportionate and non-elected power can trigger unrest, corruption and conflict.

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But it is a mistake to deny mana whenua, or any other community of interest, the human right of free association to advance their beliefs and interests.

That is why the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers has consistently proposed that council decisions be made only by elected representatives, after being advised by the Te Arawa Board, the Lakes and Rural community boards, stakeholders and individuals, including matawaka.

"He iwi tahi tatau" can become a reality on this common ground.

Steve Chadwick:

There is no place for their argument in our district.

We have heard the rhetoric and moved on with stunning evidence of the results when true and effective partnerships are formed.

I am proud of what we are achieving together.

Mark Gould:

While I will always respect an individual's right to their own opinion and beliefs, I do not support the Hobson's Pledge group.

As mayor I will encourage councillors and the wider community to be inclusive and tolerant of all people.

I will lead by example by always seeking feedback on how we can better represent the needs of everyone, and if that means a person or group needs a different consideration to enable them to engage or participate then I will be proud to do all I can to make that happen.

Frances Louis:

We have our Te Arawa waka covering the region from Maketu in the east to Mount Tongariro in the west. Our waka and tribal affiliation is under the Queen of England who still reigns as the legal monarch. The Hobson's Pledge Trust is republican.

We are still a democracy.

Rob Kent:

I do not hold with racism in any shape or form and believe we are all one people and should therefore be treated as such while all respecting each other's cultures and heritage.

I find it ironic that a public call to end legislated racial favouritism and favour is met with loud cries of racism only by those who solely benefit from that favour.

New Zealand needs to take a lesson from one of the most successful modern multi-cultural societies; Singapore, and finally end the disunity and acrimony that I believe is caused by racial separatism.

It's time we became simply "us".

RangiMarie Kingi:

Hobson died in 1842, prior to Crown planned confiscation and military raids of Maori settlements here.

I believe Hobson realised the Maori people would defeat them anyway in the future.

John Rakei-Clark did not respond.