Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mike Hosking: Three Waters reform looks doomed


My gut says the idea that the Three Waters programme is on its inevitable path to nowhere. 

We have predicted since the start of this that the consultation would be rejected.  We have seen the delays, legislation was going in last year, then April this year, and now it's delayed until who knows when. 

A committee was set up to rummage around the remnants of what is left, to try and come up with something that is workable. That went back to the Minister a bit over a week ago, but already with councils including Auckland rejecting the rework. 

Questions at this point were also raised around the future of Nanaia Mahuta as the lead protagonist on the project. We must remember the Minister in any venture is a critical player and not all Ministers are created equal. And my hunch is that when the obituary of this Government is written one of the more intriguing revelations will be the explanation around Mahuta and what they were thinking. 

For a person so high up the tree, she doesn’t appear to be on top of much, far less an expert in anything. Does it get to a point where the Government decides a change of look is required to spark a reset? 

Anyway, shares for councils are an idea among a bunch of other stuff that essentially waters, no pun intended, the whole idea down to a point that makes you wonder whether any of it's worth it. 

Yes, we all agree the infrastructure in this country needs help. Yes, thanks to Wellington and their spouting footpaths and lack of fluoride we can all see the people who are currently in charge aren't up to much. 

But just because it's broken, does a gerrymandered idea fix it? Does a half-baked, watered-down compromise driven by politics, agendas, and ideologies mean we improve the whole system in a way we would all agree has been worth it? To this point, it’s a big fat no. 

So, at some point the clock is going to come into play. This Government is already in poll trouble and it's 18 months out from a vote. 2023 cannot be the year of contentious decisions, so they have this year to get it sorted. 

It's the end of March already, to this point they agree on nothing, and there is a question mark over the Minister. 

My bet that this thing sinks into oblivion looks safer by the day.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.


Janine said...

Mike, its being implemented as you write. How about doing an in depth analysis for your listeners? Nobody else has.I think it might be a very hard programme to roll back in a year and a half.

Ben said...

Have a quick look on SEEK, many of the senior management roles are currently being advertised.