Thursday, October 28, 2021

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Three Waters fiasco has potential to go badly for Labour


Nanaia Mahuta's just pushed the nuclear button on the Three Waters reform and potentially picked herself a big fight. 

The Minister for Local Government has done exactly as predicted and announced she’s confiscating the water assets of every single council and territorial authority up and down this country.  

She’s had to confiscate the assets, because after asking nicely, the vast majority of local bodies told her no, they wouldn’t willingly hand them over.  

This has the potential to go badly for Mahuta and the Labour Government in so many ways, but here are the three most obvious problems.  

Number one: The confiscation issue.  Who likes having their assets confiscated off them?  Answer: no one. So, you can expect ratepayers up and down this country to object to that big time. 

Number two: The Māori issue. The water infrastructure confiscated from your council, will be given to four new big organisations. They will be governed by a group appointed in a complicated system starting with a fifty –fifty power sharing of the local council and the local iwi.   

Let’s not beat around the bush here; that is going to raise the hackles of a lot of people who see this as giving power to unelected iwi who haven’t funded the assets, and that’s a potential problem for Labour because they are seen to be pushing too hard on Māori issues. So, they’ve only got themselves to blame if they get a racially-charged backlash on this.  

Number three: The election issue. The confiscations might be law this year, but they don’t’ take effect until 2024.  But between now and then we have two sets of elections. The local government elections next year, and then the central government elections in 2023.   

So Mahuta has just given mayoral candidates and council candidates in every single territorial authority something to complain about next year. And they will. And the targets of their complaints will be Mahuta, Labour and confiscation and iwi governance.   

It cannot be good to have election campaigns up and down New Zealand fought on whether Labour are a “revolting pack of thieving liars” as one councillor said today.  

So, politically, this feels like a bad idea all round. 

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


DeeM said...

"So, politically, this feels like a bad idea all round."
Depends how you look at it Heather. Of course, the whole 3 Waters agenda is obviously a terrible idea to any fair-minded person and Mahuta is reacting like any tribal top-dog. Nobody is allowed to challenge or object.
But alternatively, this could be the issue which turns the tide against this separatist, racist and divisive government.

So let's look on the bright side:-
1/ Mahuta rides rough-shod over Councils and seizes all our water assets for her iwi mates to rob.
2/ There is a backlash from Councils and lots of protests hopefully.
3/ ACT and National, along with organisations like the NZ Taxpayers Union make life difficult and keep the issue in the media
4/ The council elections make 3 Waters a cornerstone of their campaigns and hopefully most ratepayers become informed on the issue
5/ Labour refuse to back down and then LOSE the next general election.

That's my wish-list anyway!

Terry Morrissey said...

What is reputedly the initiation of this three waters debacle was the outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North in August 2016. "It is possible that the outbreak contributed to three deaths." If you Google campylobacter cases per year you will find that every year should be a crisis.
What about road deaths?
It strikes me that this government appears to be clutching at every available issue and declaring it a crisis. For example, we now have a climate emergency declared by the present administration, an occurrence which hasn’t seemed to trouble the world since its existence, but this PM during the insignificant blip of her reign is going to fix the world. What a crock.
We had a nutter cause havoc with weapons, so she races in and grabs firearms from perfectly law-abiding citizens, but scuttles proposed legislation to remove firearms from gangs, that in all probability do not have a licence, and if they do, should not have. Where’s the logic in that?
Now very conveniently along comes covid. What an opportunity for some control and propaganda. The real plague here is the government and the rift this has caused, nudged along by the PM, pitting vaccinated against unvaccinated, neighbour against neighbour,maori against non-maori, and even causing division within families.
All this time they are introducing legislation, which is taking away freedoms and democracy, under cover of the distractions.

Phil said...

Re the council elections don't forget the Government awarded themselves the power to defer the council election for a year. There is a reason for this most likely to stop the public voting in candidates opposed to 3 Waters etc. I think we can assume no council elections before the Government's agenda is in place.