Andrea Vance reminds the entire punditry class why she remains one of Te mist important voices of reason in NZ politics with her devastating critique of the racist conspiracy around 3 waters reform…
Is Three Waters a ticking time bomb for the Government?
The proposed reforms will see council-owned drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure and services assets amalgamated into four regional bodies.
Predictably, local mayors are up in arms, calling the plans a theft of water assets.
It isn’t – they still belong to local communities. But the reforms do represent a loss of control for councils.
That is by deliberate design. In order to get rating agencies to sign off on higher debt levels (necessary for the ultimate goal: to invest in new infrastructure), the entities’ governance had to be far removed from the councils, which are already pushing up against their debt limits.
This fear of a loss of control has allowed some of the worst political impulses to leak out – one of which is a nasty undercurrent of racism. The other is a misinformation campaign.
Flames have been fanned by Hobson’s Pledge, Groundswell, the Taxpayers Union, and Opposition parties who are all happy to play the race card.
The Government intends to include Māori in the governance arrangement. Iwi representatives will get seats on the entity’s boards – but not direct ownership of assets as some critics have painted it.
This should be of no surprise to anyone. Now well into their second term, Labour have co-governance built into the heart of their policymaking processes.
It also reflects what are some pretty dreadful outcomes for Māori. Pākehā-dominated councils have traditionally done a poor job in providing reticulation, clean drinking water and waste treatment to Māori communities.
Many aren’t connected to the regional drinking water supply or the wastewater system, having to manage their own water and septic tanks.
…Ha ha ha! The Taxpayers Union has spent so much money on playing to racist NZs bigotry over 3 waters and watching Vance destroy their lies in just one column is fucking gleeful!
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.
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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