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Posts Tagged ‘Three Waters

Ardern, Lange and Cabinet cabals

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?

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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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

Posted in NZ Politics

Tagged with ,

A reminder

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

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

Written by Nick K

September 27, 2021 at 7:50 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Three Waters: Some basic introductory facts

What are the Three Waters?

They are as they say, the three waters that make up our day-to-day infrastructure requirements: stormwater, wastewater and then drinking water.

Why is reform necessary?

Good question. If you peruse the Department of Internal Affairs page on it, it will tell you this:

The Government’s Three Waters Reform Programme proposes to create publicly-owned multi-regional entities that have the scale, expertise, operational efficiencies and financial flexibility to provide safe, affordable water services for New Zealanders.

These reforms are intended to safeguard and enhance this critical infrastructure and associated services for generations to come so that we can have safe drinking water, and sewage and stormwater systems with good environmental outcomes, that we can afford.

Anything else?

Yes. Here’s the “case for change” summary from the DIA – note the reference to Treaty-related obligations including, “…improving outcomes for iwi/Maori in relation to the three waters service delivery“. I never knew that my good full-blooded-Maori mate who lives in a near new house in Papamoa didn’t have drinking water nor decent stormwater delivery in his subdivision.

And to give that delivery for Maori who don’t have drinking water at the moment, here’s the simple organisational structure chart. Summarily, there are five separate reporting teams, with customers handily placed right at the bottom. This should work well, right?

Written by Nick K

September 25, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Three Waters: Sign National’s Petition

Written by The Veteran

September 25, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Three Waters: The issue of our generation

If time permits, I have decided to allocate all of my blogging time in the immediate future to analysing, describing and providing information on the Three Waters proposals. I can’t think of a bigger piece of reform this country has implemented since the Rogernomics reforms of the 1980’s. I really do think it is the issue of our generation. It has huge ramifications in many, many areas. And it is something that the government has allowed to “sneak” through while it has diverted us towards a pandemic. It is the perfect opportunity for politicians as they undoubtedly follow Winston’s Churchill’s advice of never letting a crisis go to waste.

I’ll start my series by copying, verbatim, an article from the Act Party newsletter this week, Free Press. It’s a great lead in:

We believe the important questions are: Is there a problem? What is it? What is the Government proposing? Will it work? What’s a better alternative?

Taking them one by one, there ARE problems with the three waters. Lead in Dunedin water and campylobacter in Havelock North water are real problems telling us the situation is not perfect. But there are other problems.

A few thousand ratepayers in Kaipara got themselves loaded with tens of millions in debt for an overpriced sewer ten years ago and they’re still paying. Some Auckland beaches are deemed to be unswimmable 20 percent of the time. Wellington’s water is a disaster. Then you talk to developers about getting new sections connected and you start to understand the housing market a bit better.

The problem is that, a bit like DHBs, some councils just aren’t up to modern asset management. They’re also underfunded, because politicians find it much easier to get their photo taken at a summer concert or a council sponsored business than a pipe that’s underground. It smells better, too. That doesn’t apply to all councils, but there are clearly some that need money and know how to do their three waters job better.

The Government’s solution is complete overkill, overlaid with treaty politics that’s got nothing to do with water quality. If they said, ‘we are trying to solve long held treaty grievances over water while improving water quality,’ they would be wrong but at least more honest.

The proposed reorganisation is not stealing assets ratepayers have paid for. The assets will still exist and serve the same properties for a fee. The ‘theft’ hysterics have not helped the situation because they’re obviously untrue. Put it another way, if your council did get compensated, would you trust them with the money?

But there is a huge problem with the proposed new Governance model. It will be remote, complex, and unaccountable. People in Rodney district, 50 kilometres from Queen Street, find Auckland Council unresponsive. Who do you call about your water from Kaitia, 350 kilometres from Watercare headquarters?

What’s more, you’re on a totally separate water system, so what efficiencies could they possibly offer you? The Government said their system would be five times more efficient at managing Whangārei water. Sheryl Mai commissioned a report from Castalia economics, which found that claim to be exactly as implausible as it sounds.

All of that is without mentioning the co-governance aspect. Once again, the Government’s obsession with the two-state solution of treaty partnership is divisive and ineffective. Why would being born Māori give you special insights into governing three waters infrastructure? They just can’t say.

A better alternative is what ACT’s Local Government spokesperson has laid out. The nationwide water quality regulator is a good idea, but it should not regulate a couple of users sharing a bore or a tank. It should only apply to ‘water systems’ with over 30 users.

Some councils are struggling, but the answer is not collective punishment. Councils should be allowed to create voluntary cooperatives, Auckland’s Watercare and Wellington Water are examples that already exist. ACT’s central-local infrastructure partnership model, where councils are funded to build infrastructure with real accountability for using taxpayer money is already a solution to many of the problems.

The Government has made it complicated but it’s really very simple. Create a water quality regulator. Done. Dump the current plan. Easy. Draw up guidelines for voluntary sharing agreements. Simple. Partner with any council of cooperative to fund needed infrastructure with accountability. If you doubt these are good answers, ask the National Party, who’ve copied it all!

Written by Nick K

September 24, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Because it has effectively sidelined the debate on ‘Three Waters’ which will allow Cindy’s mob to ramrod the legislation through parliament using their super majority despite the best efforts of the likes of Chris Luxon and local government to oppose what is effectively the confiscation of assets owned by the ratepayers and their handing over to four government appointed bodies answerable only to government and Maori.

What we’re seeing is the implementation of He Puapua by stealth while ‘sheeples’ attention is diverted by the media’s obsession with Covid and their breathless reporting of any and everything remotely connected with the outbreak.

It’s a Godsend for Cindy because when push comes to shove there can be only one winner and it won’t be local government. Bottom line … the government gets to control just another segment of the economy … and isn’t that whats socialism is all about?

Meanwhile that nice Mr Goff hedges his bets and mutes his criticism while he awaits confirmation of his appointment as our next ambassador to the United States … payoff indeed.

Written by The Veteran

September 12, 2021 at 1:49 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

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