April 12, 2022

Update for supporters

Thank you for your continued support in the battle to return democracy to Tauranga. We’ve been active in the background and would like to share the latest news.

Three Waters

As some of you may know, members of the steering group joined the Water Users Group and were initial signatories to the High Court action seeking clarification on Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters proposal. We did this on behalf of the people of Tauranga, and all the other ratepayers whose councils were duped into ‘consulting’ on this government’s pre-determined path of asset theft. That action is ongoing, we encourage anyone with an interest to sign up for updates.

You might also note that the week after this action was filed Minister Mahuta put the Three Waters proposal into review but did not allow any of the elements including co-governance or asset ownership to be discussed.


As a natural part of our evolution the Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance was incorporated early in 2022, and will follow on with election of roles, committee members and growing our efforts.

Long-Term Plan and submissions on the Civic Renewal proposal

Some of you will be aware of the Council’s current roadshow, discussing alternative ways to pay for their proposed Civic redevelopment. What they won’t discuss is that there are no guaranteed or even proposed measures of success for the cost of $303 million. Note that the cost is $2000 per person for the population of Tauranga.

The Council material talks about pumping the city and returning the beating heart of Tauranga. What it omits is that most of the new occupants already inhabit the civic precinct and none bring people to the city centre. Council services are online with little reason for humans to interact or visit Council Chambers, the library already exists as a drop-in centre for vagrants while books are moving into the digital space, the Art Gallery gets most of its numbers from bused-in visits by school children… a museum would have the same profile. BayCourt already brings short bursts of visitors and that won’t change with a facelift. None of these functions will change with millions of dollars of brutalist paving.

It reflects that the Commissioners have no business experience and that there are no critical voices in the chamber. For the record, the Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance is not against a museum for Tauranga, but rather that if it honestly shows the complex and traumatic history of the region it will not draw visitors after the compulsory school visits and will not bring people for repeat and casual visits to a new ‘heart of the city’.

We urge members to feedback their concerns to the ‘consultation’ process: Click here to make a submission.

With the removal of elections for Tauranga we are focusing our major efforts on the return of democracy to Tauranga, ideally in time for October 2022. There are a range of actions.

Legal Review

On the initial appointment of the Commissioners a legal opinion was sought and paid for privately. It outlined some genuine concerns about the statutory basis for the appointment of commissioners. At that time the duration of the term and likely cost meant it was not practical to pursue a court case.

As we speak an updated opinion has been commissioned, funded privately. We expect it will expand on the first. If that is the case, we will seriously consider a formal legal challenge. These exercises are expensive, we will be seeking donations and support from our base and the residents of Tauranga. If any members have experience in the space of a judicial review, please contact the Secretary at [email protected] or reply to this email.


With the impending by-election for Tauranga, we know that democracy will be a major election issue. We urge all Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance supporters and ratepayers to support a return to democracy. You can support your preferred candidate, you can ask questions, you can write letter to the editors, speak out on social and to other media.

You can fairly ask any Labour candidate about their participation in an election considering the Government’s disdain for democratic process.

Letter to the Minister

You might consider a letter to the Minister Mahuta outlining your thoughts and feedback on her unprecedented action to remove democracy from Tauranga City Council. We know that most of the support for the action came from the Commissioners themselves and other entities being funded by Council such as Priority One, the Chamber of Commerce / Business Tauranga and the UTF.

The minister’s email address is [email protected].

We will inform you all shortly of updates. If any have interest in participating in the Committee please reply to this email or contact the Secretary.


Ross Crowley
Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance