Meng Foon calls for Tauranga councillor to resign

Andrew Hollis.

Not a single Maori candidate made it onto Tauranga City Council but one who suggested burning the Treaty of Waitangi and to "stop the iwi gravy train" won with a vast majority.

Andrew Hollis made disparaging comments about the Treaty of Waitangi and the actions of Maori throughout his campaign. 

Andrew called the Treaty "past its use-by date" and "a joke" and labelled Ihumatao protesters land grabbers. 

One of Andrew Hollis' comments which has landed him in hot water with Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon. Photo: Facebook.

Now, before the councillor is even sworn in, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon is calling for his resignation and mayor-elect Tenby Powell is considering if the councillor is compromised. 

Meng says Maori are on no "gravy train".

"They are claiming what is rightfully theirs and they are only getting less than one per cent of their land back. 

"Maori were the first people of our country, and the Crown invaded Maori territory, breached the Treaty of Waitangi and took away over 90 per cent of the land."

Elected members must swear an oath to abide by the Local Government Act, which includes Treaty obligations. 

As a former Mayor of Gisborne, Meng says Andrew's views put him at odds of giving Maori a fair hearing. 

"Unfortunately, Mr Hollis has taken this stance because Māori contribute a huge amount to the culture and economic wellbeing of Tauranga."

"Maori and the residents of Tauranga deserve to have elected leaders who encourage harmonious relationships instead of disparaging tangata whenua."

Andrew sees no issue with his opinions that he broadcast on social media, despite one of his key election issues being repairing the Mauao walking track, which will require consultation with iwi. 

"I don't [regret it] even a little bit," he says. 

"It's just a point of view. People can like it or not like it. It's up to them. If you don't want to work with me as a councillor, then there are 10 other councillors you can work with. I'm not going to change my views."

Mayor-elect Tenby Powell says he's disappointed with Andrew's comments ahead of councillors being sworn in. 

"We are a city divided and it's time to come together as a community to heal," says Tenby. 

"What worries me is something like this creates fresh wounds that need more healing.

"We will have to manage the various conflicts that come up given he has stated his views. From a conscious vote level he will be arriving into a debate with predetermined views about iwi so there will be a conflict of interest raised." 

Tenby says he doesn't have an opinion on whether Andrew should resign, but says there is a process that can be worked through. 

"I'm disappointed we are at this juncture so early but it's something we're going to have to work through with Andrew.

"There's an opportunity for Andrew to grow from this with."​

-Stuff/Matt Shand.

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Posted on 24-10-2019 22:21 | By Eric Bantona

My comment is hate speech against who? Which group of persons have I singled out? Moreporks? The reasonable argument was the rest of the comment which you have chosen to ignore. And you’ve thrown some Latin in there to make you feel better and look like you know what you’re talking about. You are right, I can’t pursue a conversation with someone who defends racism. Your comments are ignorant at best. You are behind the times and will always be part of the problem. People of my generation are more tolerant and understanding and my hope is that in the future racists and racist excusers (such as Moreporks) will remain the minority and will not find positions of power.

Response to Bantona

Posted on 24-10-2019 15:31 | By morepork

I find your post inflammatory and offensive; a perfect example of what you would call "hate speech", (Actually, I don’t, it just made me smile...) As you have now descended into ad hominem against me, you have obviously run out of reasonable comment or argument, so I won’t pursue this with you further. I leave you with a riposte which I’m sure you’ll understand: "You should be more of an Eric and less of a Dick..."


Posted on 24-10-2019 11:57 | By Eric Bantona

You are wrong. There is a difference to having an opinion/freedom of speech and that speech being hateful or racist. He has singled out a group of persons on the ground of race and/or ethnic origins which will excite hostility against them or brings them into contempt (I.e. claiming they use it as a gravy train to obtain land and to “burn” the treaty without even discussing Maori rights). If he had said he questions the role of the Treaty in today’s society then you could have a reasonable conversation. He has preloaded that with hate. Just because someone voices their opinion it doesn’t mean that they are above the law that our society as a whole lives by. We should be having an open discussion but that doesn’t mean you can be hateful. Maybe be more of a morepork (wise) and less of a moron.

@Eric Bantona Despair

Posted on 23-10-2019 13:42 | By morepork

I feel your concern. But look again... "playing a game to obtain land via the gravy train of the treaty. That’s hate speech." No, it isn’t. It is one man’s opinion. I hear annoyance and frustration, but not "hatred" against an ethnic group, based on their skin colour or ethnicity. You can’t just call something "hate speech" because you don’t agree with it. "If a Māori candidate had said white privilege has gone on for too long it’s time things were equal, you would be in an uproar." No, I wouldn’t. I’d consider the comment and respond to it. Maybe there are elements of truth which I mightn’t like in it, but I’d not get emotional and scream "hate speech"; rather, I’d want to engage with the person saying it and see if there could be a meeting of minds. Progress requires communication, NOT suppression.

One sided Racism

Posted on 23-10-2019 10:20 | By Bob's Uncle

Another storm in a tea cup, if I dare say. Democracy is all about freedom of association, thoughts, opinion and speech. I find it absolutely amazing that NOBODY reacted about the extremely racist comments made by Ramgimarie Kingi, published in this news media, her media releases as well as the official candidates pamphlet that came with the voting papers were extremely racist to say the least. Oh, I forget, people on that side of the minority population are allowed to be racist, but oh dear, nobody else do dare say something that "they" don’t like. Andrew Hollis won, and should be allowed to represent the people who voted for him, he might just consider placing a guard on his vocal opinion, use the silent vote instead mate.


Posted on 23-10-2019 09:10 | By Eric Bantona

I truly despair at all the comments backing up this person. There is a difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. Under Section 61 of the Human Rights Act, it’s unlawful to broadcast, publish or distribute material that is “threatening, abusive or insulting” and “likely to excite hostility against, or bring into contempt, any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins”. Hollis specifically targeted Mana Whenua stating that they have been playing a game to obtain land via the gravy train of the treaty. That’s hate speech. Anyone backing this is just as despicable. If a Māori candidate had said white privilege has gone on for too long it’s time things were equal, you would be in an uproar. What history has told us is that racists even eventually lose, and my generation has more tolerance and understanding

Short and to the point

Posted on 23-10-2019 08:12 | By Ceem

As Steve O says, Foon was not elected to his post. Astoreth and Bruja put very relevant views - the sooner a line is drawn under a very dated and misinterpreted Treaty, by the few, the better.


Posted on 22-10-2019 19:27 | By grobertson

What an attention grabbing inaccurate article this is. Heresay at best.

At last....

Posted on 22-10-2019 19:09 | By GreertonBoy

A voice of reason, not just more pandering to those on the gravy train. I find NZ very racist... racist against us white NZers who just have to pay and pay for the privilege of living in the country we were born in and feel bad about being here. Maybe one day we wont feel like second class citizens. Maybe he should rum for PM too? Would get my vote

I call for

Posted on 22-10-2019 19:08 | By SteveO

This Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon to resign for interfering in local body politics. This elected Counsellor was using his right to free speech and expressed a view, just because it’s not what some would like to hear, he’s still entitled to his views and The People elected him to his position, who elected Mr Foon as Commisioner? no one!


Posted on 22-10-2019 17:52 | By socantor01

I thought the idea of a conciliator was to conciliate. If Meng Foon thinks his words are conciliatory, he needs to stop acting like a vengeful judge and instead, conciliate!


Posted on 22-10-2019 16:29 | By dumbkof2

we got rid of one hopeless concilator. looks like we have got another one.


Posted on 22-10-2019 16:18 | By Eric Bantona

I wonder if this is Andrew Hollis commenting on the article about Andrew Hollis? It is relevant today because it’s pretty much the founding document of New Zealand as NZ Europeans know it. I’d say that’s pretty relevant and important. Not to mention many aspects and considerations in the public sector and domestic law. You say everyone should be treated equally but how is that possible if there are some that are already on an unequal footing and have been for 180+ years? By that basis it will never be equal. User Yadick below is a prime example for voting for this person without knowing his views. You mention groups of anti-democracy activists -what can be more anti-democratic than tearing up the treaty?! You are wrong, you are not the silent majority you are the vocal minority, a minority who’s views I hope will eventually disappear from society


Posted on 22-10-2019 15:13 | By David Mackay

Good on you Andrew, about time someone had the guts to say it as it is. I only voted for the mayoralty seat because I could not be bothered reading about the false promises candidates make and cant keep because once councilors are in they settle down and do as the Govt or legislation dictates . As or the so called wounds caused to maori , look back at history they did the same as the Europeans are accused of doing, get over it, to the victor go the spoils

A joke indeed

Posted on 22-10-2019 13:41 | By Astoreth

That someone who has traceable but minimal Maori heritage can claim to be Maori makes the joke. It’s high time we moved on from racial profiling and bias. It is also high time we stopped this stupid idea that we should all be apologising today for things our ancestors did several generations ago, especially as for some people, those ancestors are common. the past is the past. Get over it and move on or dwell on it and rot.

The FIRST People???

Posted on 22-10-2019 13:37 | By Bruja

Says who? What a farce! Humans were sailing this entire planet LONG LONG before Maori came here. WHY are some of our ARCHAEOLOGICAL discoveries EMBARGOED (hidden from us!) until 2063??? Because they will show that Maori were NOT first at all. If we are going to talk about our history then it MUST BE ALL of our history, not just the bits that suit some narrow agenda. I have yet to find any other place that has it’s history HIDDEN from public view!!! Come on Jacinda and co, let’s get this dealt with!


Posted on 22-10-2019 13:30 | By overit

I see no conflict of interest as a Councillor, he is entitled to his opinion.Is this what is happening in NZ? You have to flow like sheep, good on him for standing for his beliefs. Democracy rules.

Like it or not, it's freedom of speech

Posted on 22-10-2019 13:29 | By Northboro

While it’s fine for Commissioner Foon to have an opinion, calling for someone to resign from a democratically elected role steps outside his mandate. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in New Zealand and must be protected; even if we don’t like what someone says, we should defend their right to say it.


Posted on 22-10-2019 13:15 | By morepork

I endorse your comments, but it made me think about how we SHOULD address Racism. Whenever it is talked about, we see emotional reassurances that the speaker is against it. Can’t we take that as read? Let’s look at the issues here calmly and seek for a solution. Most people want a fair go, not based on any prejudice. There are genuinely needy people throughout our society and we should see that ALL of them get help. Maori is a special case, perhaps and Maoritanga is properly part of Kiwi culture. For that reason, reparations and apologies should be made (by both sides) and then we should be able to get on with it. The treaty has become an industry, and for that reason alone it is time it was reviewed and the essence of it incorporated into a modern constitution. Democracy requires open debate and equal time forall.


Posted on 22-10-2019 12:56 | By morepork

I have more problem with Meng Foon than I do with Andrew, but I admit that both of them could do better. Is it "Racist" to question whether an agreement made in a completely different time and space is still relevant? Is it "Racist" to advocate equal opportunity for ALL New Zealanders, not based on Ethnicity, or Religion or any other prejudice? Yes, we should definitely rectify the injustices of the past whether it be in property or mana, but then we ALL need to MOVE ON. I don’t think Andrew should be fired (but perhaps he should be advised about tact...); Feng Moon needs to learn that over-reaction (and bias) just inflames Racism, he is supposed to make it better, not worse. And I’m tired of seeing Racism talked about in emotional purple prose. Most Kiwis embrace diversity, but policies need to be seen to be FAIR.


Posted on 22-10-2019 12:36 | By Ross54

Mr Foon have you never heard of freedom of speech--- that does not have to agree with anyone else’ ideas

Yea right..

Posted on 22-10-2019 12:23 | By hostile

There is a reason Andrew got voted in.. Tenby is just another puppet- he should go.. seems to be worthless so soon. In fact the Treaty is the one thing that divides us all- get rid of the Treaty and live as one. That isnt racist.. time to move on.

Democracy isnt perfect

Posted on 22-10-2019 12:10 | By Old Bloke

I find it interesting and sad that Meg Foon after many years of service to the people of Gisborne and therefore a recipient of Democracy wants to deplatform a duly elected councillor. To use a common phrase HOW DARE YOU. And all the lovies that think he should resign had their chance to not vote for him. I am disappointed thethe new Mayor is NOT defending democracy and has fallen back on the lovelovey we must heal the wounds. Sorry Mr Mayor. That is not leadership. That is pandering. Leadership would have said. The people have spoken. We recognise different points of view and diversity.

Andrew just needs more information

Posted on 22-10-2019 11:26 | By Peter Dey

Andrew is a very impressive individual who seems to have never needed to be informed about the Treaty or race relations. He seems to be very honest. In his oath of office he swore to uphold the Treaty and the Tribunal. I would hope that he would now get fully informed about the Treaty and the Tribunal and revisit his previously expressed public views. They seem to be more ignorant than racist.


Posted on 22-10-2019 09:13 | By Andrew64

Good job Andrew. How is an agreement signed in 1840 relevant today? The different and preferential treatment of Maoris in New Zealand is racist. Every citizen of New Zealand should be treated equally with no bias towards any single group of people. One’s date of arrival into New Zealand is of no relevance. The race relations conciliator should resign over his statement which seeks to stifle free speech, free thinking and democracy. Shame on you Meng Foon. Andrew you were voted onto Council and you will continue to encounter small groups of rabble rousers and vocal anti-democracy activists. You stand for the silent majority. Well done sir!

He has an opinion

Posted on 22-10-2019 08:14 | By Womby

We wanted fresh blood, we wanted no "yes men", I think that’s what we got.

Sorry you cannot be part of this democracy

Posted on 22-10-2019 08:08 | By Frostbite

This mind set will never be appropriate. About 1% of the wealth generated from land taken has been returned to Iwi. The bay of plenty where land was taken by force is a place that needs to heal these wounds. I think the local pharmacy may have some red neck cream for this guy. A liberal application is required

telling it

Posted on 22-10-2019 07:56 | By dumbkof2

At last. Someone telling it like it really is

Democracy or..........

Posted on 22-10-2019 07:51 | By Walbuck

Socialism. Hmmmm....... we don’t like your point of view - so will you please leave. Andrew was elected based on some of his views so for him to be told to leave is an affront to anyone who voted for him and a kick in the pants to Democracy

Outright racist

Posted on 22-10-2019 07:45 | By Eric Bantona

What’s worrying is that people have voted for him that may (or may not) share this racist view. Absolutely despicable, disgusting and should not be representing the city as a councillor.


Posted on 22-10-2019 07:23 | By Yadick

Ashamedly I say I voted for you Andrew. What a big mistake. Yes you’re entitled to your view, the same as anyone else but you’ve just been voted onto council. You need to reign it in and learn to keep it professional. Obviously you don’t know how to do that yet. Why was this stand no made as a part of your views when standing for Council. Looks like your balls aren’t as big as you think ay. What a disgrace. I hope Mayor Tenby Powell sorts you out or you do the right thing and stand down. And no I am not of Maori decent.

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