MEDIAWATCH: Andrea Vance demolishes racist 3 waters conspiracy (hahah suck it Taxpayers Union)


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…

Three Waters opposition sees some of the worst political impulses to leak out

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.

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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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  1. I see it as a beltway issue. But the principle behind it is excellent!

    Yes, big dairy are going to be worried that there might actually be some kind of teeth to hold their pollution to account but otherwise most of us will go to sleep thinking about it.

    But really, it’s got to be a step in the right direction, because councils are a real mixed bag in this area. That no one in Auckland thought we needed to match water resources with rampant population growth is a classic example or that Wellington thinking their infrastructure was built to last a 1000 years, is another.

    I’m liking the no fluff Nania Mahuta approach to this. Quite refreshing!

    • XRAY: “I see it as a beltway issue. But the principle behind it is excellent!”

      No. It isn’t. It’s theft, pure and simple. Theft of community-owned assets: take control away from the communities which have paid for them, and you may as well take away ownership.

      • Oh please – when the Government steals the assets, what are they going to do with them? Perhaps you can by them at a knock down rate and sell them back to???? It all sounds a bit absurd D’Esterre – just like the nonsense you are spouting.

      • Theft – pure BS D’Esterre, when did the councils ever buy the rivers, and lakes of Aoteroa? When have the councils ever treated these resources with respect? Councils through out Aotearoa have allowed manufacturing waste, sewage, and agricultural degradation to pollute our rivers. Council management of this resource even has them gifting billions of litres a day to overseas companies for free.

        They have had their day – their management of this vital resource is over.

      • U are so very correct. Vance in SS Times shows total ignorance of the efforts made by a majority of TLAs to address & fix all their waters infrastructure. This is the most blatant attack by any NZ Govt on our basic understanding of local democracy ever attempted to be perpetuate, is outright theft from the owners, ratepayers, and will be the downfall of our present administration!!

    • The proposed reforms have nothing to do with agriculture. They are about management of water infrastructure. Discharges from primary production activities are the subject of separate legislation and underlying regulations and rules.

  2. I have never seen this as a race issue. Anyone with at least one functioning brain cell knows this a ticket clipping exercise for the professionals who will run theses entities. (think watercare on a national scale)It is a PRIVATIZATION issue . Borrowing all that money is a recipe for fuck ups on a monumental scale with ZERO accountability and loss of assets to foreigners to pay down debt. Anyone who has lived thru NZ’s neo liberal nightmare since 1984 with their eyes open and their grey matter engaged knows this is the desired outcome. Nania is the unfortunate face of this David Parker brain fart . It will end in tears and water too expensive for the average poverty stricken Kiwi to buy. Yes there will be subsidies until each inefficient unaccountable debt laden entity is sold off but so what? So predictable and the worst possible model available for our water woes!As someone with their own water supply who has not had to pay water rates for decades I am hedging my bets on the bullshit they come up with to tax me for the water I care for and the system I paid for and maintain.Like the ran water tax is some other such crap! It’s a stupid fucking idea Bomber and it will be a disaster.

    • Indeed, that’s the path public housing has been led down in all the neo-lib kleptocracies,
      why should NZ water be any different…
      the sceptical should look at the water/sewage situation in the UK…WHICH predates brexit but has been exacerbated by it.

  3. I thought nobody owns the water, no body owns the rivers, foreshore and seabeds, the council manage the rivers they also pollute them and destroys them. Now we have a bunch of rednecks crying theft well get use to it, we had our lands stolen, our culture denigrated and still is and forbidden from speaking our language for fifty years boo who!.

    • Discharge permits and water permits will still be the subject on independent decision making by regional councils and the courts. Wires crossed there mate

  4. No-one was forbidden from speaking their language. Sir Apirana Ngata suggested that English only be spoken at schools to encourage education for his people. Some educators took this a little too seriously, maybe, but people could and did speak their own language anywhere else.
    As said, the water belongs to everyone. I wish everyone would read the Three Waters proposal before commenting instead of making things up.

    • Oh give us Maori a break. I mean, wonderful, just amazing y’know? That some lieutenant with advanced syphilis can just rock up and claim the entire country and not pay a cent is just wonderful y’know. It’s just absolutely amazing by how power operates.

    • Pure BS Magit, my mother and her siblings were strapped daily because they came from a Maori speaking home and knew no English. My Aunt solved the problem, by snatching the strap from their teacher, and dropping the strap down the Long Drop, she also added, touch our family again, and you will end up in the Long Drop as well. The family eventually learned to speak impeccable English, but not from that stupid teacher.

      • I am not qualified enough to give you a thesis that would heal the degradation of the relationship between Maori, and the whenua.

        Just seeing Maori with a disorganised bunch of Iwi entities, some doing okay, the vast majority not okay, as disorganised as they are, since being strapped in schools for speaking Te Reo, till now, I would say is a remarkable transformation.

        All the marae that I visited in the 80’s was dilapidated and down, most have no roads, running water, electricity, infested with asbestos. Everyone in the same old jackets. My family always got a motel room. And while streams of people, we have to keep our people moving forward.

        We can’t hold them back in overcrowded living conditions or house them in big sleeping marae permanently.

        We must make tremendous improvements in the living conditions of Maori so that Maori can make peace with pakeha and security from Britian, in The South Pacific.

    • Many indigenous people were forbidden to speak their own language by the English who dominated the commonwealth in the heyday of colonialism. Unfortunately the native speakers in many of these countries were forbidden to converse in their own language mainly by English born teachers who perceived a threat from not being able or willing to understand or learn the language of the pupils in their schools. The recipients of the beatings were the older generations and this is why there are lost generations of spirituality and culture signified by the loss of a language. You have absolutely no idea what these people had to endure how would you feel if the English language was beaten out of you. Restore the language and you restore the mana and self respect of a people who continue to struggle because of this historical abuse.

  5. I’m in Christchurch, because of the Earthquakes many people here are experts on [to varying degrees] our water infrastructure. Even members of our City Council seem informed when speaking about such water infrastructure.

    I hope any changes allow for the retention of the best talent and those whom understand the challenges here in Christchurch.

    • I live in Chch and if this goes through I am sure the chlorine will stay. This is a government that is caucious to the extreme and will want a quarenteed supply of water throughout NZ so all water will be chlorinated .
      My reading of what the government wants as far as governance is racist as most of the South Island will be run by a board of 12 people 6 Maori unelected and 6 drawn from the Councils . The Maori should have a voice at the table but why 50 percent when they are only 15 percent of the population.
      Why anybody would think Wellington would do so much better than councils just look at the hospitals and schools many of which are rundown and poorly maintained .

      • I tend to agree with you and also want the chlorine gone.

        I don’t know much about the proposed ‘3 Waters’ reform/legislation. Seems strange to administer water-infrastructure here in Christchurch based on race..

        I’d rather people [Maori, Asian, White, whatever] with first hand experience laying pipes, working with contractors and the like rise to fill such board positions.. or at least make up a percentage.

        Human knowledge is dispersed not concentrated in power-point-presentations presented to unelected board members.

        Again, I haven’t been following the 3 Waters. I haven’t even seen the TV advert(s) people keep talking about. I don’t have a TV, I use a VPN and ad-blocking software.

  6. Various issues here –

    Democracy and local representation vs Big Government with insufficient consultation with the people. Local body regs (possibly law – Local Govt Act?) say each council must consult with the public in making a decision of this magnitude. This has not been done because the government did not allow it to be done. Time given to Councils looked to be deliberately inadequate.

    The source water is not included in 3 waters therefore a consistent focus on both climate change and water management is lost. Therefore solutions are limited.

    Nanaia Mahuta will not expressly rule out not charging Royalties for water.

    The cost of all the increased bureaucracy (labyrinthine is an apt word) and the creation of up to 6000 jobs!!!! Do we even have 6000 local govt jobs in the whole North Island currently??

    The government is following a model for water developed for a different country with a very different population distribution and potentially different historic assets.

    Do we need all 4 water issues fixed and fixed well?? Yes. Does it matter if it’s centralised or not – depends on costs and accountability and what your politics are. Should New Zealanders not get to vote on alternatives given that it may cost $1600 more per annum per ratepayer? Seems reasonable to me. I dont have an extra $1600 to spare, do you?

    Once again this is an ideologically led process designed to achieve a particular outcome. Not commenting on whether that outcome is reasonable or not but it is not the outcome that should be foremost in their minds. Will 3 waters deliver for NZ in a meaningful and cost effective way?

    My prediction – Maori will be a little happier. A chunk of NZ will be disgruntled. Ratepayers will be poorer and for the additional money, we will get some improvement but not what we could have had.


  7. If the justification for three waters is that the councils have allowed the assets to become run down then looking at the state of some of our hospitals I wonder if the gov should be handing these over to local government to run?
    The government has 19% support with 56% opposed. Surely they do not have a mandate to go ahead unless the majority support this.

  8. Three Waters is the theft of ratepayers’ assets in order to gift control of them to Maori gangs.

    No ifs, no buts. That is what it is.

  9. It’s not the water that you need to worry about being sold and privatised.

    Its the infrastructure that that will be bundled up and partially sold on the premise of raising funds to pay for the upgrades. The infrastructure is already monetized in Auckland with the Watercare model.
    Three Waters will I suspect make this infinitely easier.


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