It started with Three Waters but Graham Adams points out it’s it’s now Five Waters :
Thomas Cranmer notes it’s goes even further to Five Waters and a park:
Mike Hosking calls it a stinker of a policy:
Given all this, Bruce Cotterill is right to ask where is the outrage?
. . . Even without knowing the contents of the revised bill, haste is something we should be concerned about. It’s a pace of activity that is usually reserved for matters that the Government wants dealt with immediately; either because it is vital for the national interest or it is so unpalatable that they want to shut down the debate as quickly as possible. It would seem that the latter was their only justification.
I’m told by a highly regarded former MP that for a matter of this nature, it’s a pace that is unusually rushed, and in the context of Parliament’s rules, technically inappropriate.
Not that we can do too much about that. Let’s face it, this Government has been in an “inappropriate” hurry on Three Waters from the start. Despite the changes not yet being signed into law, they have already recruited a heap of people and leased high-quality and expensive office space in Auckland at least and possibly elsewhere. Every step has been action ahead of the democratic process. . .
They process has been appalling. From the advertisements telling us how bad our water was, when it wasn’t, saying it would be voluntary for councils to opt in, when it isn’t, saying they’d listen, when they didn’t to the truncated select committee process and Friday’s late afternoon document dump with the addition of two more waters plus parks and reserves.
For the benefit of the uninitiated, the Three Waters legislation is about the management of freshwater, wastewater and stormwater. However, as result of the select committee’s most recent rewrite, it’s no longer just about Three Waters. You see, they’ve added a couple of new categories. Hydro, the water that flows through New Zealand’s world class and sustainable electricity system is one.
Oh, and they also added another category. Coastal. That’s right folks, the seabed and foreshore is back in play. This time, with the highly controversial and undemocratic co-governance proposals locked in.
And finally, just for good measure, they’ve also seen fit to include, at the eleventh hour, an option to include parks and reserves. Parks and reserves currently owned and operated by the ratepayers through the councils that represent them.
New Zealanders should be upset or even angry. We’re not though. We either don’t know about the changes being proposed, don’t understand what’s going on, or don’t care. I deeply suspect that, if Kiwis understood what was happening we would care very much. . .
A lot of people I’ve talked to do know what’s happening but don’t know what to do about it when the government is determined to steamroller the legislation through.
We should be ropable that this is happening. And we should be stomping mad that neither of our top-rating TV news channels ran the story of the bill’s passing on their 6pm bulletins on Thursday evening. What the hell is going on here NZ?
This is major constitutional reform, involving the deliberate confiscation of assets from ratepayers and the councils that represent them, to a government and a policy that will be controlled by iwi-based or tribal interests. The consultation process around it has been minimal and most of us would say what little consultation has occurred has been ignored.
The French would have people marching in the streets and tractors blocking the freeways if this was occurring in their country. Not us. Let’s just sit back and let it happen! . . .
If a policy this bad was being promoted by a National-led government the left would be marching in the streets.
Why’s no-one up in arms now? Labour supporters don’t usually march against their own, and people on the right are much less likely to protest.
Despite not mentioning it during the 2020 election campaign, the new majority Labour government hit the ground running immediately after the election and launched a plan that would see the Government taking control of the infrastructure and services that deliver all three water assets – drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
Despite the fact that, in most parts of the country, our fresh water is among the best in the world, they used a single event in Havelock North a few years ago as an example of what could occur if reform didn’t happen quickly.
Has anyone seen any data showing that our water is anywhere near as bas as the government is trying to make us think it is?
Has the government bothered to look at any other answers to the problems that exist in some areas?
Has anyone got any idea how much we’ll be paying for our water once they impose this overly-bureaucratic system on us?
Their plan was accompanied by a very expensive and highly misleading advertising campaign telling us that we would have brown sludge coming out of the taps unless the Government took control of the water assets from the councils.
Organisations like The Taxpayers’ Union and Democracy NZ have funded court action which asserts that the minister and her government have acted illegally. That court action is ongoing. Farmers and business owners have banners out the length of the country asking the powers that be to “Stop 3 Waters”.
And yet, despite ever-increasing opposition from a wide cross-section of New Zealanders, the Government has pressed on with its plans. Centralisation of water assets, they say, will occur, just like the already unsuccessful centralisation efforts in Health and Tertiary Education.
Most of us don’t have daily interactions with the health and tertiary education systems. All but a very few of us depend on the safe delivery of fresh water and proper dispersal of waste water many times, every day.
As a result, we have the latest steps, as outlined above, that will see Three Waters expanded to Five Waters and maybe even a few Parks.
So we see, finally, after all this time, what Three Waters has been about all along. It’s not about brown sludge coming out of your taps. In fact, it’s not about water at all. It’s about an asset grab of not only the water assets we thought, but also for a slice of our hydro schemes and for the highly contentious foreshore and seabed. By the time the third and final reading comes around, you can bet that the country’s parkland will no longer be an option. It will be included.
Perhaps the inclusion of the foreshore and the parkland will get us animated and angry.
We should be staggered that this legislation, delivering major constitutional change, is sleepwalking its way through Parliament via an aggressive majority government, while it appears that there is nothing that opposition politicians can do about it.
You see, unless New Zealanders do something, I’m guessing that the third and final reading will go much like the second reading this week. A few opposition politicians putting up a brave fight against the tyrannical majority before quietly leaving the stage defeated and deflated.
By the time next year’s election campaign is run, Three Waters final reading will have been completed and this most extraordinary and controversial series of changes will have become law. The assets will be operated by undemocratic Government-appointed boards, and the councils that paid for them will be left out of pocket, and we, the people, will be one step closer to losing our collective democratic voice. Despite overwhelming opposition, Three Waters will be law.
It would be tempting to throw in the towel. And yet, despite everything that has happened, Three Waters should continue to be a central election issue in 2023. Those parties currently in opposition must run a campaign to totally repeal this legislation and if elected they must do so promptly.
And we may as well brace ourselves for it now. Taking things away from people is always much harder than giving them out. Repealing this law will be messy and disruptive and difficult. But it must happen.
That’s why we have elections. When governments become this corrupt, they and the laws they created must go.
National and Act have both been very clear they will repeal the Three (now Five) Waters legislation and replace it with a better system in proper consultation with the councils that own the infrastructure.
If we don’t want this dreadful, racist policy we have to vote Labour out and the only way to do that is to vote for a National-led government.
Doing that means voting for National, which is my preference, or Act.
Any other vote will not guarantee a change of government or will be a wasted vote.