No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Three Waters

When in Rome

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“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

Two must-read articles from Karl du Fresne

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Readers will be well aware that my attitude towards the MSM is that that they are, at best, shallow and useless in their reporting and “analysis”, and at worst combine that with massive ideological bias to the Left as well as the occasional bouts of outright partisanship towards, in the case of New Zealand, the Greens, Labour, or the Maori party, depending on how well each of them is doing in supporting a Left wing agenda.

The read I have on the NZ MSM at present is that, as Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury have often pointed out, they’ve sold their souls for capitalist money and the “neo-liberal” status quo established since 1984, in exchange for pushing every other piece of Leftist wank. I think those two gentlemen are nostalgic screamers because, at least in the environmentalist world of combating AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) they may get want they want eventually from their rather despised New Left comrades with a return of state ownership or more likely, a regulatory and tax regime that makes a mockery of the term “private enterprise”. Whether the Leftists in the MSM know where the AGW process will lead or not doesn’t really matter, but I suspect that many “reporters” do and are keen on using it to get back to the supposed Nirvana created by the First Labour Government.

As such it’s important that blogs support eachother, so here are two articles by Karl du Fresne that need as much exposure as possible:

  1. Squeeze your eyes shut, cross your fingers and hope

This post deals with the steadily growing catastrophe that is Three Waters and the Health re-structuring.

Carterton District Council, one of the smallest in the country (population 9700), expects to spend $850,000 preparing for Three Waters over the next two years. The council’s chief executive says the plan has imposed an “enormous” programme of work that the council’s not resourced to cope with it. Mayor Greg Laing describes the process as “absolutely appalling”.

The Times-Age quotes the Department of Internal Affairs as saying funding will be provided to cover transition costs, but it’s obvious that councils haven’t seen any of the money and don’t know when they will. In any case, South Wairarapa’s mayor Alex Beijen, who presides over a district with a population of only 11,000 (and one that’s already financially stretched to breaking point), says resourcing will be a big challenge even with extra government money.

I laughed at one of the comments where the guy sent a Letter To The Editor concisely pointing some of the problems and found his points about rents and royalties had been excised. Standard censoring of disinformation; I don’t know why he bothered but others made the point that this why blogs and other social media (to an extent, given their own censorship) are important while the MSM dies.

The healthcare problem has been hidden by C-19 Kabuki Theatre and Three Waters but if anything it’s more frightening:

As Powell points out, “With only 40 working days to go, DHBs have no more information on what will replace them on 1 July than they had on 21 April last year when the health minister announced their abolition.” You can read his damning appraisal here.

This all sounds familiar, the same as other SNAFU’s this government has made in the last few years; ill-defined plans; falling behind schedule; last-second scrambles to do something. I really hope I and my family don’t fall sick in any way for the next couple of years.

2. The Free Speech Union meeting that earned a trigger warning from Salient

This is Karl catching up on Victoria University’s response to his talk On the threats to free speech, that was delivered a while ago at the university, courtesy of the Free Speech Union.

It seems that the students have been triggered by a speech that none of them apparently attended and have used the student newspaper, Salient, to express their outrage; Karl points out that it’s prefaced with a trigger warning advising, in bold type: 

This article examines some of the racist, transphobic, sexist, and otherwise harmful content discussed at the event in question. Please exercise caution when reading.

Frightening.

You can read the sad, pathetic details of the objections to his speech and while I and a lot of other students never took much notice of such things at varsity – where the Left-wing student radicals dominated such talk via the student unions and their varsity newspapers – it’s clear that such people have much greater influence, some might say control, over their varsities than they did forty or even twenty years ago.

For me, one comment showed how far things have gone:

As a Victoria lecturer and a member of FSU (so I would prefer to be anonymous), I am sad to say this is exactly what I expect from our students. Students nowadays are extremely lazy; most of them don’t even bother to attend lectures. Critical thinking and meaningful debates are just not things under their radars. I don’t blame students but the university administration. The university administration is a bunch of failed academics who do not really care about education and research. All they care is their position and would do everything possible to pander students in order to get money from the government. As a lecturer, our constant pressure from the university is how to make students happy and get more of them, not how to train better citizens of the future.

An unexpected result of the 1990’s reforms of university is that there are a lot of people there who should not be, given their lack of brains, and that the incentives for them to go and the incentives of the universities to get bums on seats, are screwed up. Perhaps if student loans were tied directly to the universities so that they’re on the hook for payment recovery, the universities would be pushed harder to teach productive courses and “train better citizens” in real critical thinking.

ANOTHER WAY

with 7 comments

I note the success of those who challenged the legitimacy of the vaccine mandate as determined by the Chief of Defence Force and the Commissioner of Police in the High Court and although the Judge was at pains to point out that the ruling was a narrow one it nevertheless sent a powerful signal to the government. Better than anything achieved by the protesters who clearly lost the plot as their occupation progressed denying Wellingtonians the opportunity of going about their lawful business.

Fast forward to Three Waters and when the legislation comes before parliament and while National, supported by ACT, will lead the charge against its passing, the reality is that Ardern has the numbers to push it through and push it through she will driven by Labour’s Maori caucus, the Greens and the Maori Party.

In a bid to stop this happening the Water Users’ Group comprising the Tauranga Ratepayers Alliance, the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance and supported by the Taxpayers Union have instructed Gary Judd QC and Grant Illingworth QC to take a case to the High Court seeking a declaration that Minister Mahuta’s claims that the Treaty of Waitangi obliges the Government to introduce go-governance are wrong. In short, the case asks the Court to declare that the claims are based on a radical interpretation of the treaty and are wrong in law. The Water Users’ Group argue that if their case succeeds in court it will knock back the radical interpretation of the Treaty that underpins He Puapua and is driving co-governance across the local government, health, and resource management sectors.

I guess some/many would argue that this is a far better route to take than radical protest action.

Written by The Veteran

March 3, 2022 at 4:34 pm

AMEN TO THAT

with 3 comments

One of the strengths of Kiwiblog is DPF’s want to let those holding a contrary opinion to what might be considered right wing orthodoxy to express their view notwithstanding the fact that in doing so it is likely to result in the more flinty eyed among us dumping on him for betraying conservative values.

And so it is that Kiwiblog featured a post here by Murray Gibb, sometime CE of Water NZ, arguing the case for Three Waters. It is a long article and worth a read but the final paragraph stands out … ‘There is one area where the government has completely mucked up with its proposals, and that is in governance. Having 50 percent of Board members being appointed by Iwi is just simply nonsense. Tribal governance systems have no place in modern capitalist democracies ….‘.

Amen and double Amen to that.

Written by The Veteran

November 30, 2021 at 9:17 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Ardern, Lange and Cabinet cabals

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As readers will know I usually leave it to my six NM co-authors to focus on the NZ stuff, but in the case of an article I came across last night, I feel it should be spread far and wide.

Jacinda Ardern and the Ghost of David Lange

It’s from the Democracy Project blog based out of Victoria University and it’s a damned good read about the Three Waters project.

David Lange is one of the most tragic figures of our modern political history. Highly articulate and entertaining, he was ushered into power in a landslide in 1984 during an economic and financial crisis. Feted as the youngest Prime Minister of the 20th century, he dazzled the nation with his wit and intellect.

It took a while before it became clear that Lange was using his larger-than-life persona and seductive oratory to sell a transformation of New Zealand’s economic landscape on behalf of a powerful cabal in his Cabinet whose intentions he seemed not to fully comprehend.

The writer makes clear just how similar this all is to Jacinda Ardern, with the additional similarity of Covid-19 substituting for the anti-nuclear issue as the PR-positive smokescreen for Labour while the dirty work gets done behind it:

It seems likely that Ardern will end up being viewed in a similar way. When she was anointed by Winston Peters in 2017, she was feted as the youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years, before being returned to power three years later in a landslide in response to a pandemic.

Her charisma and glamour are perfectly suited to the superficial politics of the social media age but she is obliged to dance to the tune played by Nanaia Mahuta, Willie Jackson and the Maori caucus — and by the others in her Cabinet, including David Parker and Andrew Little, who support their revolutionary agenda.

That last is the important point. Back in 1984, for all the talk of Douglas and his core there were plenty of others in the Fourth Labour government cabinet like Anne Hercus and Stan Roger who went along for the ride but have escaped the Left’s anger. In the same way Mahuta may be the lead on this, but she could not have pushed it this far without strong support from other parts of Cabinet.

This similarity is also noted:

After last Wednesday’s press conference in which Nanaia Mahuta, in her role as the Minister of Local Government, made it clear she would press ahead with her Three Waters reforms despite overwhelming opposition, it has become pretty obvious who really controls this aspect of the government’s policies. The fact that 60 of the nation’s 67 local authorities either strongly oppose the reforms or have serious doubts about them hasn’t dented the minister’s determination to push changes through Parliament one little bit.

I’ve lost track of the number of things that Labour have pushed through despite massive opposition, relying on the fact that such a thing is often transitory and that if done quickly enough the act can be treated as a done deal that now belongs to the past while more important topics relating to the future can be framed for the next election.

Would that National ever do the same. This Sounds Familiar:

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

To be fair on this point the writer does allow that Ardern has caved to public opposition on a few things:

Two years ago, she quickly backed off her cherished capital gains tax in perpetuity as soon as it became clear that she was facing a wall of opposition — just as she did in October with the Auckland Harbour cycle crossing.

You could add the collapse on Level 4 Lockdown to that list.

However, those were not core issues for Labour, despite public trumpeting about them, and they did not constitute really fundamental change. For example, the National Party’s “bright-line” test for real-estate gains was already effectively a narrow CGT that could be easily expanded later, and has been.

As the article points out, Three Waters is core, most importantly of all to the Maori caucus, who have Ardern over a barrel in a way they did not with Helen Clark and the Maori Party did not with John Key. Ardern is not calling the shots.

Moreover, in exactly the same way that the detail of the Douglas reforms were hidden for some time by mere details like devaluation, Three Waters is part and parcel of the overall He Puapua approach. Other “details”, perhaps quite large ones, will come into view over time, even with Labour in Opposition:

He Puapua itself states increased Māori rangatiratanga will require financing and that, “There are multiple streams from which financial contributions might be sourced, including, for example, levies on resource use where Māori have a strong claim to ownership, such as water.”

Despite all the spin, when you’re talking about getting returns from an asset then we are talking real ownership of that asset.

For that future, one set of theories driving all this and not discussed in the article – perhaps because it smacks too much of US academic theory – is how deeply embedded the Left wing Maori and White defenders of these schemes are in the ideology of “anti-colonialism” with its connections to Identity Politics, Woke and Critical Race Theory. The racists among them, like Mahuta, hate White people who do not agree with their ideas, while the “anti-racist” White Labour members such as Parker are all in on the Guilt and Shame about their ancestors and ready to do anything to expunge it.

Read the whole article.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 7, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Three Waters: Labour MP doesn’t understand it, so how can we?

with 13 comments

For my sins, I engage with people on Facebook. It gets me into trouble sometimes, and makes the odd enemy out of me, but hey, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and shouldn’t try to.

In my latest foray into that mad world, I answered a post from Shanan Halbert, MP for Northcote, where he said this (note the Parliamentary Crest):

He said, “Auckland and Northland councils will continue to collectively own the new water entity providing services to us”.

I had to chime in: “Shanan sorry, but you’re wrong and it’s concerning you don’t understand the reforms. The assets will be owned by the Crown, but managed through a massive, five-layered bohemeth bureaucracy that includes councils and Iwi appointees. Ownership and management/governance are separate. Under the Three Waters proposals, ownership is gone. The reason why it’s gone is because the Crown has the ability to then borrow cheaply against the asset in order to fund infrastructure upgrades. That’s the whole purpose of shifting ownership of the asset to the Crown.”

He replied, “The proposed legislation ensures it remains publicly owned and no future government can privatise them.

I had another go, “wrong again because that would mean this Parliament could pass a law binding future Parliaments, which it cannot do.”

Now, Shanan is very careful with his words. He said that the new entity will be collectively owned by the two councils mentioned, and that is technically correct (he conveniently omits Iwi appointees), but the entity itself owns the assets, and the entity is a Crown entity. So the assets are owned by the Crown, but the directors of the entity (if you like) are councils and Iwi. There is a clear distinction in law, and in fact, between ownership and management/governance, something that Shanan mischievously doesn’t mention either, so I felt compelled to correct him.

And then he appears to not understand that the current parliament cannot bind a future parliament when he refers to the impossibility of privatisation into the future.

The MP put this on three separate community pages, and I corrected him on each page.

The truth needs to be told.

Written by Nick K

October 30, 2021 at 3:44 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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SO, THE VACCINE MANDATE IS WELL AND TRULY UPON US

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Jacinda Ardern has conceded that it creates two classes of New Zealanders … she actually parades the decision as some sort of ‘badge of courage’. Well sorry, I’m bailing out of her team of 5m (cough).

The vaccine mandate is a nonsense given the decision that it does not apply to supermarkets and the like. The close proximity argument is but a straw man. Yesterday self and memsahib did our weekly main order shop at the Kerikeri Countdown. In the aisles we brushed shoulders with any number of fellow shoppers. We had no way of telling their vaccination status and, under the vaccination mandate, we won’t either.

If the government is serious about the vaccine mandate then it needs to go the whole hog … have special shopping times for the un-vaccinated only. Alternatively they could be given a hi viz jacket to wear on entry to the building emblazoned with the words ‘I’m Not Vaccinated – Avoid Me’.

Just trying to be helpful.

This, along with the announcement that government is moving ahead with Three Waters and damn the torpedoes, is enough for me two break my two belts of Scotch evening ritual rule tonight.

Written by The Veteran

October 27, 2021 at 3:12 pm

A reminder

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We all need to hold him to this, if/when the time comes.

Written by Nick K

October 11, 2021 at 6:32 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Three Waters: Christchurch City Council’s rejection means nothing

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Because the fascists in charge of this country will legislate and steal councils assets regardless, even if 98% of councils do not agree with the reforms.

So don’t get too excited.

National MP Barbara Kuriger asked Mahuta in Parliament if she would consider pausing the reforms given Local Government NZ and some mayors, councils, and communities have called for her to do so. 

“No,” Mahuta responded. 

Sign Act’s petition here.

Written by Nick K

September 28, 2021 at 7:44 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Three Waters: Sign Act’s Petition

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Written by Nick K

September 27, 2021 at 7:50 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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