No Minister

When in Rome

with 5 comments

“In Roman times, when a when a fellow was convicted of trying to bribe a public official, they would cut off his nose, and sew him in a bag with a wild animal, and throw that bag in the river.” – Eliot Ness, The Untouchables

I’ve been prepping a post for some time now on the corruption of Washington D.C. and in doing so have often thought of that David Mamet-crafted line from that famous movie about corruption and organised crime in Chicago during Prohibition.

But it turns out that it may be increasingly applicable to little old New Zealand – supposedly one of the least corrupted nations on Earth – based what is being uncovered about the government’s Three Waters plan, over at The Platform. That article itself is largely based on investigate work done by one “Thomas Cranmer”, on his account @kehetauhauaga since May 2.

The Mahuta clan stuff I partly covered in the post, The Rule of Law and Other Fairy Stories, based on material from news sites like The Daily Examiner and The Platform as well as the private investigations of “Cranmer” and Social Media sites like Karl du Fresne.

But I figured that with the usual MSM treatment it would soon fall away as a story unless new information came to light. Courtesy of the above “Cranmer” (complete with screen shots of official documents) it has:

According to Cranmer’s analysis, a direct and unbreakable chain of command flows from the Māori Advisory Group via Taumata Arowai to control the four new Water Services Entities (WSEs).

The WSEs control the day-to-day management of the operations of Three Waters. We have been repeatedly told they will be completely independent, working at arm’s length from the higher echelons of the complicated water bureaucracy.

However, it is made clear in legislation that the water regulator Taumata Arowai has to jump when the Māori Advisory Group says jump. When it — and Tipa as chairperson — speaks, Taumata Arowai has a statutory obligation to listen and act on that advice.

And the clincher is that Taumata Arowai directly regulates the Water Services Entities. In short, if Tipa Mahuta chooses, she can — as chair of the Māori Advisory Group — call the shots throughout each level of water management.

In short this is about something far more corrupting than money; it’s about power.

Then I read this over at the Bassett, Brash & Hide blog site, courtesy of one David Round, a recently retired University of Canterbury law lecturer and a passionate conservationist. He writes of some disturbing news out of his beloved Westland:

The stewardship area on the plateau does, however, adjoin a small block of land owned by Arahura Holding Ltd. ~ which is, of course, 100% owned by Ngati Waewae. As the Department has long known, Arahura Holding has publicly expressed its desire to allow Bathurst Resources Ltd to mine that block for coal, and thereby obtain access to the adjoining public conservation estate. (Bathurst attempted to purchase this private block some years ago, but was blocked by the Overseas Investment Act. Arahura Holding purchased it instead, and has been working with Bathurst in attempting to allow mining ever since.) And so the mana whenua panel recommended that this area also remain as stewardship land. The national panel, obviously influenced by that recommendation, disagreed only slightly, recommending conservation park status ~ which would still allow mining.

And then we discover that Mr Tumahai, chair of the mana whenua panel and of Arahura Holding, has been appointed a director of Bathurst Resources Ltd, on a salary of $90,000 a year.

This is corruption. There is no other word for it. It may all be quite legal, but then corruption often is.

Yes it is, and you don’t have to be a law lecturer to know that, but it helps give weight to the assessment.

I doubt this can be stopped before the 2023 election, and once it’s all set in place I doubt it can be removed, even assuming there will be the will to do so in a new National/ACT government:

Key and English both understood which parts of the Clark government intiatives were cemented in, and which weren’t. And by reassuring the public on the things the had become part of the fabric, were able to win three elections, and be the largest party on the fourth.

My prediction, there will be a substantial empowering of iwi in education, heath, housing supply and social policy in the next few years. National will go along with most of this once they are back in government, just as they have done so since 1990.

In that sense Don Brash was a bit of an aberration, one that National is not keen on repeating.

Attitudes like the following won’t help:

While he says there’s room for robust debate about the co-governance model between the Crown and iwi and hapū, Finlayson’s advice for dealing with the “sour right” behind the racist, resentful rhetoric: “We’ve just got to leave those losers behind and move on. They don’t like tangata whenua. They dream of a world that never was and never could be,” he says.

What should also be counted here in the weight of David Round’s assessment is that this is not just normal corruption; we’ve had that in New Zealand despite our good reputation, but it was sporadic, individual and not wide-spread, hence our reputation.

But this? This shows every evidence of being systemic and given that all corruption, whether over money, sex, power and politics, ultimately begins with the corruption of the soul that approves, it will lead to the sort of problems that has brought other nations to their knees.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 5, 2022 at 5:51 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I would like to see the pecuniary interests of quisling Finlayson being probed with the same investigative zeal that is being applied to our race grifting Government Ministers. There has to be some undiscovered reason that he’s making the late Sir Robin Cooke seem like a paragon of sound judgement and common sense.


    July 5, 2022 at 9:02 pm

  2. Proves my bleats and moans that National is only interested in beating Labour and being in power, rather than doing what’s right.

    Nick K

    July 5, 2022 at 9:02 pm

  3. I thought that was what ACT is for. Have they all died?


    July 5, 2022 at 9:40 pm

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