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.
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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