3 Water fish hooks – The Dragon and the Taniwha redux

This money generated by trade with China comes with so many fish hooks there’s more hook than fish.


How does Labour remove all the fish hooks that have been sewn into the guts of the 3 Waters legislation while identifying who is actually directing NZ’s water infrastructure needs?

Is Wellington directing our infrastructure needs or is Beijing?

The romanticisation of Māori Capitalism is that it is less venal than Pakeha Capitalism, but that romanticism is a double edged sword, because if Māori are using The Te Mana o Te Wai statements, (these are buried buried deep within the Water Services Entities Bill), they gain a veto power no one else has, and with that veto power they could choose to not work with NZ, they could work with Chinese water interests and that would generate a backlash explosion of anger far greater than ‘da Māoris is stealing da water’.

The question politically is would any Iwi attempt to maximise the new powers they’ve gained under 3 Waters to cut deals with Chinese water interests instead of local interests because that would be seen by many Kiwis as treason.

Interestingly the preamble of 3 Waters is all about the obligation of the State to protect Iwi expressing their interest in water – which includes their ‘right’ to sell their interests to who they want.

If New Zealanders saw Iwi using 3 Waters to cut deals with Chinese Business interests, all hell is going to break loose politically.

This money generated by trade with China comes with so many fish hooks there’s more hook than fish.

In 2017, Infrastructure NZ led a delegation of 33 senior New Zealand public and private representatives to the UK. The purpose of the all expenses paid delegation was to investigate Scotland’s infrastructure innovations since devolution, especially their water system which ended up being the structural basis for 3 Waters.

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Criticism of the financial structure of 3 Waters raises serious questions about the ease with which a failing water entity could be privatized.

Under the current 3 Waters legislation, the new water entities cannot be ‘bailed’ out by their council ‘owners’, and the entities are also empowered to sell assets if they can retain the capacity to exercise their duties functions and powers. The ‘owners’ can’t prevent this, nor can the Regional Representative Group or the appointment board.

Infrastructure NZ comprises of the China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China. These are the domestic pimps for China’s Belt and Road project so why are we allowing Chinese interests to influence our infrastructure?

The Pacific is the new friction point between America and China, NZ would be naive to believe we aren’t on the chessboard and only raises more questions about the need for neutrality.


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    • @PP Agreed, but credit due that he will change his mind, rather than dogmatically sticking to a predictably bad idea. I support a Māori language reading of ToW article 2 but even I can see that 3/5 Waters is tailored for elite special interests.

      How long have commenters on this blog been pointing out the carte blanche nature of Te Mana o Te Wai statements. How they negate any notion of partnership or democracy, how they could directly conflict other Mana o Te Wai statements. Most importantly with 15 year contracts how 3/5 waters could result in old story of rent seeking corporatists privatising profits and socialising liabilities or as suggested here, lead to external entities gaining influence over an essential services. (While the exact opposite was argued).

      Maybe labelling of ALL opposition as ‘racism’ and ‘colonialism’ was a complete distraction, who could have guessed?

    • LOL You’re on to it!

      The Chinese thing is really just misdirection. What everyone is *really* thinking is they they’d use their veto power to extract ‘koha’ at every turn. No project could go ahead without graft being sewn into the deal.

  1. We shouldn’t be falling for all the anti-China war propaganda. So long as they continue to be a good partner, they can be part of the solution.

    Selling off public assets is highly unpopular, and should be opposed. But the idea that the U.S. buying up everything would be “better” is just silly. (Tribal capitalists buying up everything is not really much different either!)

    We know that China is already building huge infrastructure projects all over the world, including advanced machinery like high speed rail. They are doing it on credit, in places where the U.S. would never have bothered — and nowadays, it’s doubtful the Americans still have the capacity to do so.

    China has the ability to rebuild all of the collapsing infrastructure, AND all of the destroyed industrial base — much faster than anyone else.

    They are also unique in that they wouldn’t oppose investing in an economy with a lot of state-owned enterprises (or send Victoria Nuland to overthrow that government) — it would likely be seen as a soft-power victory, as they could say that another country is following “our way instead of the American way”

      • Nope. We’re just not willing to pay for decent infrastructure or ensure the contractors do a decent job. Im writing this from Nicaragua and the main roads here make NZ’s very 3rd world. Why, they build to last not to a price.

        Mind you the contractors here probably get ‘disappeared’ if they do a shit job. Thats a hell incentive not to be the rip off 1/2 arses NZ employs.

      • Kiribati. China loaned them 15 mill to upgrade the runway so they could expand tourism. The fish hooks, only Chinese building companies could supply the materials, labour and do the job. Kiribati is still paying 20 years later.

        San Salvador. China loans then money to build a new flash (and it will be flash, quite a cool looking building that’snearing completion now) National Library. Fish hooks, again only chinese are allowed to design, supply and build. Aslo some brutal ‘off sets’ in the form of access to local resources.

        Nicaragua. Proposed new canel from Lake Cocibolca (aja Lake Nicaragua) that will allow shipping access from the Caribbean to the Pacific and rival the Panama canel. Fish hooks, again only chinese are allowed to supply and build right thru an very important indigenous part of the country. Profit sharing for 100 years then it all reverts to the Nicaraguan Govt. For the first 100 years profits are split 96% to china, 4% to Nicaragua…..most of which will be suck off by all the corruption.

        Solomans and Fiji have recently sojd their souls to China in return for fuck all as well.

        Would you like more?

    • @Kristoff
      Martyn’s references to China and 3 Waters appear to be largely innuendo.

      There is a danger of unwelcome Chinese (aka CCP) influence as there is equally the danger of unwelcome American (aka Wall Street/State Department) influence. All while inducing domestic polarisation that ensures a degree of impotency in resisting such influences.

      I suspect making the narrative association between 3/5 Waters and China is a rhetorical means of tainting the legislation enough to provide cover for (or encourage) Labour ministers and persuadable bureaucrats to reverse out of the cul-de-sac that Mahuta and Ardern’s government drove us into.

  2. I wouldn’t be worrying about the Chinese. Its Blackrock and Co who’re already lined up and plugged into the NZ Superfund to use kiwi cash to buy into Service contracts and then reap the profits without having to have any skin in the game!
    They will milk ratepayers and taxpayers dry for every 15 year long contract that they can gerrymander by buying off board members and lobbyists!

    Who hasnt seen this coming.

    • @Denny Bingo and you’ve done a good job of flagging the flaws (or deliberate choices) in the legislation over the last 12 months. Vanguard is another one to watch out for.

      Alot of this looks like mechanisms for rent-seeking corporatism. Privatise profits, socialise liabilities.

  3. More sinophobic fear mongering

    Infrastructure NZ also includes shitloads of Australian banks, UK engineering consultants etc.

    Martyn’s real fear is Chinese and Maori will find out they have a lot more in common with each other than either do with Pakeha.

  4. I still to this day don’t get why and how an infrastructure solution (Equipment and hardware and systems) has to be in any way connected to, let alone managed by, four politically appointed, race favoured ‘entities’. Why? There’s just no logic to it?

  5. I still to this day don’t get why and how an infrastructure solution (Equipment and hardware and systems) has to be in any way connected to, let alone managed by, four politically appointed, race favoured ‘entities’. Why? There’s just no logic to it?


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