This week somebody said to me that the government’s 3 Water proposals should be linked to what happened to Māori after the Treaty of Waitangi. The Crown stole their land. Now it’s happening again. The Crown is stealing ratepayers’ property in the form of 3 Waters. It’s an ironic comparison.
New Board being formed?
I get my information from numerous people. This week an informant, who has been incredibly reliable to date, rang me to say that a high-powered panel is to be formed which will have the task of implementing the 3 Waters reforms. This is even before there is a Bill in parliament. It is reputed to be chaired by Brian Roche and the only other members of the panel they know of are Fionna Mules and somebody from Tainui. I guess that means somebody from Ngai Tahu as well. Follow this up media.
I haven’t received a call to be on this panel for some reason.
Grant Adam’s latest article:
Last week I linked in Grant Adam’s first article on 3 Waters https://democracyproject.nz/2021/11/01/graham-adams-jacinda-ardern-and-the-ghost-of-david-lange/. It has been read over 70,000 times in a week.
Now Grant has written another article. Here are some segments:
It has become obvious that the government’s consultation with councils over putting their assets into four regional water entities was a sham. This article asks how long the Prime Minister can float above the fray when she knew that Nanaia Mahuta’s promise they could opt out was false.
Jacinda Ardern was very happy to front the Three Waters campaign in its early stages. But after a disastrous $3.5 million PR ad campaign, vocal opposition from most councils, and a $2.5 billion sweetener thrown back in her face as a “bribe” in mid-July, she exited stage left, leaving the heavy lifting to her ninth-ranked Cabinet minister, Nanaia Mahuta.
Now, in the wake of Mahuta’s announcement on October 27 that all of the nation’s 67 councils will be forced into the new arrangement, Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon and other mayors want a meeting with Jacinda Ardern to discuss their concerns.
Gordon made his feelings clear in a radio interview last week: “We are really disappointed that the government has ignored the feedback from our councils and community… There is a genuine anger in our community that I’m hearing. I’ve never been approached by so many people on an issue. People are not happy with what’s being proposed.”
Gordon has asked for a “pause” in implementing the reforms, until councils’ and ratepayers’ objections are considered.
He has written a letter to be presented to the Prime Minister and has asked other councils to sign. He says he won’t release the letter publicly until they have had time to consider it.
The article continued:
Ardern is now clearly on the hook over Three Waters. Nanaia Mahuta left the country last Thursday in her role as Foreign Minister and won’t be back until November 28. She will then have to spend a week in managed isolation (followed by isolation at home until the result of a day 9 test has been received).
The legislation for Three Waters is set to be introduced to Parliament in early December. Presumably Mahuta will emerge just in time to do that, and will thus avoid being in the cross-hairs of widespread opposition over the next few weeks as anger at the reforms rolls on.
That leaves Ardern to face the music for the next three weeks. The stakes are high but will she front?
If she doesn’t agree to a meeting with Dan Gordon and other mayors, her refusal will fuel a belief that Mahuta is calling all the shots in pushing through Three Waters (which includes giving iwi 50 per cent co-governance of the nation’s water infrastructure in the four regional entities).
If she does agree to a meeting, she will undoubtedly be obliged to defend breaking the promise to allow councils to opt out.
Whether a meeting happens or not, however, it is a damning stain on Ardern’s prime ministership that so many mayors — and voters — haven’t been able to get answers to pressing questions just a month before a bill confiscating ratepayers’ assets is due to be introduced to Parliament.
Everyone deserves to be given full answers to these questions, and particularly why councils were led to believe their input would be considered when it has become glaringly obvious that was not true.
In an interview recently the Prime Minister is quoted as saying:
“What we have absolutely said is that we do need to respond to, you know, what this all stems from: the 2016 Havelock North drinking water inquiry.”
This is factually incorrect. The National Party were working on this policy before Labour won the election in 2017. Havelock North was the excuse which suited WaterNZ, InfrastructureNZ and central government departments to steal local ratepayers’ property.
Here’s a link to the article: https://democracyproject.nz/2021/11/15/graham-adams-ardern-on-the-hook-over-three-waters/.
That well known right winger, Chris Trotter wrote in response to an article in the Sunday Times last week:
We are told, by Vance herself, that the governance structure has been designed according to the specifications of the Standard and Poor’s credit- rating agency – now known as S&P Global Ratings. Without it, says S&P, the cheap money required to repair New Zealand’s drinking-, storm-, and waste-water infrastructure will not be forthcoming.
It is worth spending a few moments unpicking this extraordinary intervention from the enforcers of international finance. Essentially what the world’s money-lenders are saying is that, when it comes to financing large infrastructure projects, democratic accountability is a deal-breaker. The surprise here is not S&P’s demand, but this government’s uncritical acceptance of it. Rarely has the naked power-politics of the neoliberal world order been on such unabashed display. That the Labour Cabinet, Labour’s parliamentary caucus, and the Labour Party organisation, itself, have so meekly rolled-over on this issue is astonishing. That they have then concluded that slitting Democracy’s throat is their sad but necessary duty, is more than astonishing – it’s chilling.
Vance simply passes over this brutal abrogation of New Zealand’s sovereignty, and the political facilitation it has elicited, without comment, exposing with unusual clarity the ideological bankruptcy of “woke” journalism. Vance is eloquent in her description of the racism inherent in local government’s treatment of Māori, but she has nothing at all to say about the derangement of this country’s democratic institutions at the behest of neoliberalism’s international enforcers. The wonder of it all is that Vance and her journalistic colleagues still evince surprise and indignation when they find themselves bracketed with the Left’s politicians as “enemies of the people”.
Returning to S&P’s bottom line, the question arises: How will the world’s lenders react to the pledge of New Zealand’s right-wing parties to dismantle the Three Waters project? Asked to invest money in a venture so subject to the whims of the electorate, it beggars belief to suggest that any lender so disposed would not demand a premium rate of interest. Only a fool would throw cheap money into such a risky enterprise, and whatever else international financiers may be – they are not fools.
This creates an insurmountable problem for Mahuta and her colleagues. If the whole justification for the undemocratic structure of the Three Waters project is that nothing else can guarantee access to the cheap money needed to make it happen. And if it then turns out that the political risk involved with the Three Waters project is so great that the possibility of cheap money must be taken off the table. Well, then the justification the Three Waters project – as presently structured – must also be taken off the table.
That this would be the outcome must have been clear to Mahuta’s economic advisers. So, why is she still proceeding? Without the support of the right-wing parties, the Three Waters project simply cannot assume that the necessary cheap money will be forthcoming? Mahuta’s conduct only makes sense if the cheap money argument is nothing more than a smokescreen for another, much more important, if unstated, set of objectives.
It continues later in the article:
….at their heart lies a deep (and not unjustified) fear that the truth will outrage sufficient New Zealanders to kill the project stone dead. This government, and its journalistic bodyguard, no longer trust the democratic system to deliver the “right” answers. Their response: to propose, and defend, a massive centralisation of power in bodies sealed-off from democratic accountability.
This would have been a bad idea in the very best of circumstances. Pursued with the sort of ruthlessness we have witnessed in the case of Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters, it has turned out to be much more than a bad idea. In the minds of a growing number of frightened and angry New Zealanders Mahuta’s project is further evidence of a political project of unprecedented scale and ambition. Justified, or unjustified, in the fraught conditions imposed upon New Zealand society by the Delta incursion, the belief is growing that Labour is making plans for New Zealand. Plans that its citizens will have no opportunity to either endorse or reject.
Here’s the link to the article:
Local government heads to Court:
In an article in the Press this week it was written that three councils have taken a case to the High Court on the proposed 3 Waters theft.
My question is where is Christchurch City Council with this case? Why are three small councils leading the way? Are our elected reps going to sit on the fence until its “safe” to take a stand?
I know that CCC was asked to join and have not so far done so. I think that is pathetic. Some council leaders have sold out but all those others in local government need to be united and to get in behind these court proceedings.