Hurry up and take 3 Waters already

Could this Cartoon be any more Wellington focus grouped?

Government to protect vital public water services for future generations

“It would be irresponsible to pour taxpayers’ money into propping up a broken system, or let households face unprecedented rises in water costs. Currently 43 of the 67 councils do not have the revenue to cover their water services operating expenditures at the moment, let alone once the infrastructure starts failing.

If anyone has been surprised the Government is simply going to take the water assets they haven’t been paying attention.

Labour have decided to fix the mess our water system is in and the super brain David Parker is driving this.

Essentially Maori out of good faith gave water to the Crown because it was a public good but when John Key privatized hydro power assets, the issue of ownership came back up with Maori wanting to know where their interests were.

On top of this was a malaise of underfunding in water infrastructure at the same time of exploding pollution from dairy farms.

This all adds up to a lopsided water supply with a few Councils doing well and a majority not.

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So I’m all in favour of the State taking over and directly regulating it all.

It’s not a theft, it’s a transfer of power to a far better guardian who can handle the water challenges at a time of global warming.

Yes, I agree 3 Waters is being pushed hard by Wellington Council because their feckless criminal negligence has allowed them to be the biggest water basket case and hence biggest benefactor of handing over power to the State, but you learn pretty quickly in NZ politics that you have to bribe Wellington first if you want to advance big ideas.

The problem however is that the 3 Waters proposal can’t answer the most important question which is will it, once implemented, be able to stop water being taken by foreign companies & protect against privatisation.

What is the use of water reform if it can’t guarantee in a dangerously warming planet where fresh water will become scarce that overseas interests can’t simply steal our water like they do now?

There is also the issue of privatisation. What happens if ACT or National win power and want to privatise the Water?

This can’t just be about water infrastructure and making sure our water is clean, if you are taking it you must answer sovereign issues like foreign interests and privatization.


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  1. National and Act have already stated they will throw out the 3 waters if they win the election as it’s not due to be implemented until 2024.
    At least the next election will not be all about Covid but about water and the asset grab of the Labour Govt.
    Bring it on!

    • IR, Martyn
      You guys know me by now, but on this issue I’m not so sure the councils did the best job with ‘water’. In fact, living in Auckland, I can assure you the council is not good at doing the basic job it’s there to do. Oh, they are good at cranking up rates and all sorts of non-essential council things, like PR, but I think most councils in NZ are now just mini-Wellingtons….political forums instead of ‘service providers’. So the jury is out on this one.. I mean, who owns ‘water’ anyway? We all do don’t we?

      • That said, your drinking water is excellent and the supply is robust. Watercare is investing billions in wastewater upgrades across the city and beyond, part of which are catch-up exercises by a legacy that predates the amalgamation and part are necessitated by the expansion of the city.
        An external audit carried out 2 years ago showed that water fees had not kept up with inflation and were the root cause of Watercare’s financial difficulties.

    • True, Nat and ACT have said that they will throw out the 3 waters if they win the next election BUT Jacinda still went ahead with it. Funny that because Jacinda said she could not introduce a CGT because Nat and ACT said that they would throw out the CGT if they won the next election. Another hypocritical untruth from our morally corrupt leader.

      • another jacinda big promise that she”ll never have to carry through on, she’ll be at the UN in a nice sinecure care of aunty helen.. maybe UN special rapporteur for ‘kindness’

        radical talk is cheap….get off the pot

      • No she didn’t say that about CGT that is a blatant lie… she said “As a member of the Labour Party we consistently took a capital gains tax to voters and at some point you have to accept voters don’t agree with you and I accepted that.” what a pathetic attempt at point scoring Jonesey

    • It will be difficult for National or its errant child ACT to rescind this action, just as the clearing up of the mess that National created of electricity production and distribution. Who wants to carry on with the status quo where our rivers/lakes are polluted, our drinking water is suspect and we pump raw sewage out to sea?

    • “Asset grab” haha right. Water supply is a public utility not a mere asset, but a Taonga essential for life. 3 Waters is a massive investment of $180 billion in upgrades, expansion and building resilience. This is Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of a precious resource.

      It’s necessary and urgent given the current state of mismanagement by dysfunctional and broke councils

      • Kaitiakitanga like when they burned 50 percent of forest in New Zealand and extincted the Moa, Haast eagle etc etc.
        You woke tribalists and your noble savage routine – Maori are just as human as everyone else and giving an unelected tribal elite power via veto will result in nepotism.
        Ngai Tahu are massive converters of alluvial plains to dairy farms with irrigation and they wanted to do more but weren’t allowed.

        • Well said . The Maori were given Lots of fish quota which they then sold to overseas interest and jobs go to Russian fishermen instead of young Maori.

        • nepotism and corruption is endemic and it steals from regular Maori as much if not more than whitey does….

          oh yesss we want a republic, no more queen (until one of the german inbreds grace our shores) until it comes to our own ‘bloodline gaurantees position bullshit…
          elevating ‘tribal customs’ is just another way to keep Maori down by creating their own hereditary neo liberal elite

          ‘oh cresseda aren’t those indeginous customs just so yummy’
          ‘Yes jeremy they certainly are colourful and entertaining’

    • With you there Rightie. I am seriously considering voting National over this. Having been a lefty all my life that’s saying something.
      David Parkers’s brain fart needs to be kicked to the curb. It is a clear blueprint for privatization, it is theft, the government hasn’t listened, there are alternatives and it will not work.
      I live in Northland none of the assumed problems in the government’s propaganda apply here, so they can fuck off!
      Hastings not only have solved their issues they came up with an agreed Regional plan across all Hawkes Bay councils. The government did not listen. So fuck em they need to go. The sooner the better.
      As if the folks who brought us the housing crisis , the dog’s breakfast of the firearms reforms and the whitewash report in to the Christchurch massacre are going to sort out our so called water issues.
      Parker is the architect of the RMA reforms a developer’s charter his water reforms for farming have been weak as piss and totally ineffective. Parker is a sneaky untrustworthy neo liberal scumbag.
      From the inane patronizing overly expensive propaganda campaign to this totalitarian announcement this whole thing has been a forgone conclusion.

      Labour are neo- liberals the discussion would’ve gone like this.

      What else can we sell to make our selves mega rich?
      What have we got left?
      Oh yeah water.
      Vote National vote out 3 waters.

    • Hopefully Labour will invoice the Canterbury Farmers to clean up the rivers in Canterbury the ex Hungarian Kiwi Jewish PM organized that f%&k up. Te tangata whenua in the South Island wouldn’t have been happy about that.

      • Ngai tahu has thousands of hectares of converted dairy land with irrigation.
        Imagine how much more they would have if they hadn’t been declined another 7000 hectares of irrigated dairy conversion at Balmoral.(a decision they appealed).

        Imagine if they had controlling veto rights if that decision were re taken a la 3 waters.

        Ngai Tahu are one of Canterbury’s biggest corporate industrial dairy farmers.
        Kind of makes your narrative bullshit.

  2. There are very good arguments on either side of this issue. Maybe as divisive as the Springbok tour? Time will tell and 2023 is getting closer by the day. I’m not looking forward to this next election.

    • Should be fun with Winston and NZF back in the mix, could be a National/ACT/NZF Coalition if they can put together enough votes.

  3. 3 waters makes sense to me, though I must admit I haven’t read a lot about it. But just almost all councils screaming no was enough for me to comprehend the mess our waters in. What are councils so terrified of exposing? There’s no asset grab, council is local govt. They are our water assets and they need bloody fixing, get it done! Ban water exports too. How th fuck did they think that was a good idea?! Just greedy short sighted ticket clippers

  4. Nice try Martyn but no, there’s nothing to prove that amalgamation, centralisation and a lack of local control and accountability will lead to any of the benefits you’ve suggested. Super city anyone?
    There are some places with problems – Wellington’s waste water for example but most of our country’s systems work well under local ownership and control, perhaps some targeted tax payer funding or cheap loans is all that’s needed for those few that are struggling.
    You’ve chosen not to mention the proposed 50:50 control of Iwi. What’s all that about? How’s that supposed to help with the problems, such as they are. That aspect alone will be deeply and widely repugnant and reason alone for most to want these fools, this “if it ain’t broke, fix it till it is” party out of power for a very long time.

    • Absolutely David.
      And why did the minister lie about being voluntary and distort the financial figures by four fold?

      Unmandated Maori co ownership is the real agenda.
      And government control of your life even how much water you drink.

      New Zimbabwe. “Correcting” perceived injustice by creating massive new ones.

  5. “Essentially Maori out of good faith gave water to the Crown because it was a public good”

    Really? Is that how it went Martyn? A can hear a Tui ad coming on.

    “… will it, once implemented, be able to stop water being taken by foreign companies & protect against privatisation.”

    Good question. After all, iwi are corporations, and might want to turn water into money.

    “John Key privatized hydro power assets”

    I must have been asleep at the wheel, cos I didn’t know that. What the actual fuck? Key”s criminal record even more extensive than I’d realized.

    • Shhh, don’t mention JK, there are people on here needing medication everytime he’s mentioned but yes, he has a criminal record as long as an arm. But you’re not allowed an opinion on it!

  6. At least we might get some clean water, Judith, David and Winston should start getting protests organized immediately. Bring back Winston this wouldn’t of happened under his watch. Another Neoliberal Asset Grab

  7. At least we might get some clean water, Judith, David and Winston should start getting protests organized immediately. Bring back Winston this wouldn’t of happened under his watch. Another Neoliberal Asset Grab

  8. It’s theft and anyhow how can maori own water thats ridiculous

    maybe its time aI said I own the air and charge you cunts for breathing it

  9. Nope, time and time again shows the government centralising everything just creates more neoliberal nightmares, higher prices and privatisation with new governments and PPP’s. Our central government can’t even build houses anymore, and their ideas fail and make everything worse for everyone.

    Pretty sure most Maori want to control their own water on their own properties not have some ‘central’ body telling them what to do!

  10. One of the “benefits” of 3 Waters touted by the government is the creation of “6000-9000 jobs”

    Great. 6,000-9,000 more bureaucrats? If that’s one of the upsides of the proposal, I’d hate to know what the downsides are.

    Govt also claims 3 Waters will “boost the economy by between $14b and $23b.” Alrighty! But how many houses was Kiwibuild going to produce??

  11. As a diehard Socialist I would love to see water in public ownership and responsibly managed for the whole country but is that what will happen with this scheme?
    The key name here is: DAVID PARKER.
    A few years ago I was at a public meeting where David spoke long and movingly about how he personally felt about providing clean, sustainable water for all of us and provided photographs and diagrams of how rivers and lakes were being polluted. Eugene Sage was also there but noticeably quiet while her boss was doing all the talking.
    He spoke about the need for changes in agriculture and forestry to reduce water use in vulnerable areas. It was all quite moving.
    Then I spoilt it by asking a question.
    I asked what actions the government would take to force changes in the use of water for irrigation and to prevent pollution.
    They were both quite shocked and said they did not believe in the use of compulsion when individuals can be persuaded to change their practices.
    If I understood David Parker correctly he said state intervention to control water would interfere in the operation of the free market. He is a true disciple of Roger Douglas and Milton Friedman.
    So I submit my evidence that ‘3 Waters ‘ will continue the sale of water by private companies. Given Parker’s support for Free Trade deals that allow more overseas investment here I do not see him stopping the sale of water to foreign countries.
    What to do? Change my vote? National or ACT might not let ‘3 Waters’ go ahead but they will do sweet fanny adams about stopping the sale and defilement of our resources to their major donors.
    We need a Revolution rather than a change of political parties.

    • The Old Neoliberal Mayor of Auckland has changed the colour of his spots, wanting to keep hold of his assets in the old days he would have sold it under the table to the likes of Fay Richwhite and Alan Gibbs.

  12. You so sure that you will have enough money in the future to pay for your 3 liters a day to survive and to flush once?

  13. If the lunatic fringe of the capital city’s council were as keen provide rate payers with a decent water supply as they are to have the whole town speaking te reo, then this sort of water reform would not have been necessary. Of course there’s always a risk that in due course it will be privatised, but the Wellington City Council can just pop off and paint another Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing to show their dedication to the LGBTQ community who seem to call their shots much louder now than the boring old ratepayers looking at boring their own backyard wells, and wondering why they even bother voting at all.

    • Exactly Snow White! This is a Wellington problem . Oh and Wellingtonians holiday in Hawkes Bay and Nelson Marlborough and Taupo. End of geographical perception. The rest of the country doesn’t matter to these narrow minded fuckwits. We just have to do as we are told by some worthless propaganda emanating from the overpaid incompetents who call the shots. This is a crap plan it will not work they don’t know what they are doing apart from making themselves rich . Saddling the taxpayer with more debt for assets we already own and inflicting us with the a monster bureaucracy which will be staffed by condescending immigrants who don’t know shit from clay. Like the Met Office and Land Transport etc etc etc.

      • Shona – I’m bone weary of them. I gather that the Wgtn public servants work and gabble and gobble within tight-knit wee social groups, oblivious to the big wide world out here, and not necessarily knowing how limited they are. I suppose it’s racist to suggest that they bugger back off to whatever Sussex seaside town or wherever they hail from.

        ( I am personally thoroughly pissed off with the MoH’s complete and utter lack of cultural and social and general insensitivity towards the vaxing programs, and the crude jab stations set up as if we are all chess pieces to be moved around at the whim of some smart-alec twenty-five year old with a rictus smile. Full sympathy with Maori and Pacifica communities on this one.)

  14. I wonder if the Government, via the councils, will start charging residential users for water like they do in Auckland…and call it a service charge to maintain pipes/pumps/filters, and upgrades?

    • Nathan
      This is without a doubt exactly what will occur. With the centralized mega entity model comes the issue of funding, something that all the talking heads pushing this have skated around providing an answer on. The way that this revenue will be derived will be the introduction of metering on every connection to any water network. The people will be told that it is a way to control water loss in those networks, but really it will be the way of extracting funds from all consumers. There is also the persistent untruth that these entities will lead to lower cost for water service provision for consumers. It will not. If you live in an area that is not currently metered you will find that in fact you will be paying more for your water. Also metering is convenient mechanism to allow landlords to pass on the cost of water to tenants. While there is need for substantial capital expenditure on water treatment, transmission and distribution in many areas of the country Martin has rightly identified the key issue, that of ensuring these entities can not be sold to any private interest. After all we need to remember that we are talking about a resource we all require to stay alive.

      • Great comments Leftorium. If they (the councils/Government) charge us, this is bad news for everyone…
        The Auckland experience is being charged between $15 to $50 per week per residential user, with set (fixed) price every day of about $1 daily, on top of actual use…those figures ($) are too high for many people for an ESSENTIAL life fundamental.

  15. Ownership and control are indeed the most important part of rationalisation of water. Labour is neo liberal through and through so it will not be promoting public ownership that’s for sure. A whole bunch of infrastructure needs to be restored to full public ownership–power generation and supply being the main one–not more items handed to private capital on a plate.

    Phil Goff and the Supercity have Watercare, an undemocratic CCO, and Phil obviously wants to protect that little fiefdom, which is an interesting conflict with his Labour Caucus mates

    Put rain water collection tanks and systems in now folks! even if you just use them for the garden or something, I have used them for decades in the Far North and no problems. I must find out too what the Havelock North attitude to getting a handle on water quality is!

  16. So the govt drags its heals doing reviews on the monopolies they already created, tinker round the edges and dont fix the problem and here they are creating another one…
    Labour just as right wing as National it would seem.

  17. It seems we are now constantly hearing that the Government intends stealing assets from the Councils with Three Waters. BUNKAM! The assets belong to the ratepayers who paid for them. Unfortunately, too many Councils have lost sight of their part of the deal and have failed to ensure the assets have been maintained and future-proofed on behalf of the citizenry.
    In the past, Councils actually did the administration and physical maintenance of the 3W infrastructure. Now, they ‘contract out’ so in fact, the Council ownership is pretty bloody hollow. Case in point, a watermain ‘blew’ in Khandallah (Wellington) recently. The leak was temporarily sealed and the the bitumen was patched. The next day, it took a team of six workers and four trucks a number of hours to effect the repair. Of course, the work was done by a major national contracting outfit as small local contractors have been starved out by the ‘big boys’. This was on the pretence that Council workers only leaned on their shovels. Good thing now is that more workers spend more time sitting in their trucks while one or two do the work.. The bad part is that the ticket clippers and shareholders make all the profits while the defective ratepayer funded systems fail to deliver.

    Time for a change!

    • Absolutely AOM.
      Some struggle with change, they wouldn’t with a right wing government though. Where were the howls when National were selling off our power companies even after a referendum clearly voted no. Can’t remember seeing these negative comments then. Our power bills have never recovered.

    • yup aom,

      and look where brexit and privatised water has got the UK
      ‘and how much shit would you like in your tea sir?’
      that’s todays UK reality not a basil fawlty quote….

    • You think the situation you describe is going to get better when a big regional entity with an appointed board contracts water management to an overseas corporate that uses the same contractors?

  18. In Wellington I pay 25.7% of my total rates for water and sewage costs. Will my rates go down 25.7% or will I on top of that pay for water and the costs of a bloated new bureaucracy where elite Maori have a veto .
    I foresee a cluster f in the making .

  19. Descendants of the people living there in 1840 to have control over the governing body to the exclusion of current citizens? Ngai Tahu as a major commercial water user in the South Island to have half the seats on the decision making body? In Wellington iwi that had only driven out the previous inhabitants in the 1820s and 30s? How did it come to this?

    • The water quality was probably a bit better in 1840, than it is today, it has got worse under industrialisation and especially over the past 40 years under Neoliberalism.

      • Ngungukai. Agree. And it was better fifty years ago when we were children and spent all day down at the riverside, in and out of the water the whole day long, while the men fished, and mothers brewed billyfuls of water, and we were all the better for it, and the schools and parishes held their annual picnics at those sometimes chilly, but always sparkling clear fresh waters. Stories for grandchildren.

        • Used to fish and swim in the Selwyn River at Coe’s Ford 40-50 years ago when I lived in Canterbury, I hear now that the river doesn’t even flow down that far, was studying Agriculture and Watershed Management at Lincoln at the time.

          • Selwyn River was where we went too, and occasionally the Waimakariri. The men went eeling with spears, and I swear the eels never tasted muddy, just pan fried and dolloped with vinegar. As a child the spears were ok to me, any squeamishness came later, with the years.

            And if water issues were studied that long ago at Lincoln how come things are so bad now ? Oh, I know. John Key said that scientists were like lawyers, and that one could always find another one to provide an opposing opinion, and what’s more, I think he said it to a BBC bloke when he, Key, was trying to discredit top water scientist Mike Joy. That’s the way that know-nothing politicians can evade taking responsibility for just about everything under the sun.

  20. I can’t remember quite when it was but early this century councils were required to rate for depreciation of assets to enable their replacement at a later time. What will happen to these funds, will they just disappear into the labyrinth of council finances? As for Phil Goffs wailing that ratepayers will loose control of their assets,
    what control do ratepayers have over Aucklands Watercare set up?

    • Kiwi joker the depreciation rate was obviously set too low or spent somewhere else or a combination of both.Whatever believe me it has been spent.
      Leigh believe me your rates will go up substantially.

    • That is an excellent point. Councils have depreciation reserves associated with 3 waters assets, and, as long as they rate-funded the depreciation, they should have investment funds. If they have loan-funded any assets then the debt will get offset against the investment funds and the net amount settled on transfer. Of course if any councils have spent the money and have been less than transparent in their accounting, maybe central govt will say that is something for the councils to discuss with their ratepayers.

  21. Ok but they should allow us to elect a regional representative to be on that board instead of a bunch of wellington bureaucrats or pay each council what rate payers have spent on their infrastructure for example chch has spent $7 billion fixing it’s water infrastructure, if they want it they should buy it off the councils.

    Id prefer an upper house that deals almost entirely with constitutional, environmental issues than a bunch of unelected neoliberal wellington bureaucrats and a bunch of neoliberal iwi who ruin everything they touch.

    This is just gonna allow a nat/act govt to privatize water.

    I want provincial govts like Canada and an upper house to prevent water being sold off by neoliberals.

  22. What i am wondering is.. How will councils cover their debt security when most of them has used water infrastructure as collateral for loans to fund their little fiefdoms. I suspect this is what is driving a lot of opposition from councils. People are soon going to find out just how useless most councils are at money management when they have ticked up their pet projects by mortgaging assets.

  23. ???? What have you been smoking?????

    Labour have decided to fix the mess our water system is in (like they fixed housing and infrastructure?) and the super brain David Parker (mastermind of the TPPA and Labour’s unelected mastermind of neoliberal practise) is driving this.

    • After reading your comment I will sleep a lot better tonight know that Labour have it in hand . This is the same Labour government that is organising extra nurses and doctors through MIQ after waiting 18months of doing nothing. This is the same Labour government that has ensured a bulk of Maori are protected by vaxination after listening to their leaders . This is the same Labour government that has had the planned rapid rail in Auckland blow out from 1 billion to 10 billion.

  24. Dear Ngungukai, I can assure you that the waters in all the communist and socialist countries were polluted as well and many times more.

    • Absolutely Alexandra one would never drink the water or in many cases not bathe in it.
      That’s if your water connection actually worked.

      • The UK govt now thinks shit in the water is ok(just like us) and they ain’t commies, on both sides it’s production production production and fuck the consequences….
        we have our 5year plans except it’s the annual shareholders divvy…same economic drivers same results

  25. So after the corporates have the water what next ? The only thing left will be the health system . And then the cupboard was bare .

  26. it simple the local council have reached there borrowing limits they have 138 billion dollars plumbing bill because of decades of neglect so nats and act should telling how this bill is going to be paid and farmers have had a free run for decades externalizing there there costs water theft pollution what there really pissed off about is having to pay the true cost for water

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