Labour could have reversed the entrenchment clause in the
Three Five Waters BIll.
Instead it’s referring it to parliament’s Business Committee.
Labour is in the early stages of a backdown on its controversial decision to entrench parts of the Three Waters legislation – a move constitutional experts said set a “dangerous precedent”.
The move came as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Leader of the House Chris Hipkins admitted to not being aware that a fresh move to entrench a part of the bill had been put until after it was passed. Official advice provided to Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta more than a year ago warned that even Labour’s original entrenchment proposal could be constitutionally damaging.
Ardern said Cabinet considered the issue of the entrenchment clause on Monday and resolved to kick the matter back to Parliament’s Business Committee – a cross-party group of MPs that discuss the running of Parliament. . .
This will ensure the matter stays in the news for longer giving the many critics even more ammunition against the whole proposal.
Labour dug itself a hole over this from the start and has kept on digging in spite of overwhelming opposition from the councils which own the assets the government plans to take and the majority of people in several polls.
Why, instead of slowing the whole process down and trying to take councils and the public with it, is it bulldozing it through under urgency and why did it try to entrench some parts of the legislation?
Could it be an admission of defeat?
Could it be that it knows it can’t win next year and is trying to get as much done, and done as soon as it can and in such a way as to make it harder for the new National-led government to undo it?
Fortunately the undoing will be possible and Stephen Franks has helpfully drafted a way it could be done.
It’s just a pity that even more millions of dollars will be wasted on the bulldozing before that can happen.