Thursday, July 21, 2022

Natasha Poole: Why I will not be supporting the Water Services Entities Bill

I will not be supporting the Water Services Entities Bill for several reasons. 

In fact, I cannot think of one reason in favour of it. 

Here are the grounds for my decision:
  1. The Water Services Entities Bill guarantees, in Nanaia Mahuta’s words, that ‘At a strategic level, the regional representative group will be made up of 50:50 council and iwi representation’. This is not democratic. New Zealand is a representative democracy. However, having a 50:50 council and iwi representation is a false impression of a democracy. It is not representative. It, rather, implies that a quota is being adhered to and that management of the WSEs will not be appointed purely on merit, but on alternative grounds.

  2. Additionally, in Mahuta’s words, ‘Mana whenua whose rohe or takiwā includes a freshwater body can make a te mana o te wai statement for water services which the board must give effect to.’ From my understanding, this entails that Mana whenua have effective veto power over the management Board running water services. Again, I reiterate that this is neither democratic, nor is it representative of the New Zealand population as a whole.

  3. The project has been stated to be, by Mahuta, an ‘ambitious programme’ and ‘up to $185 billion worth of investment is required in New Zealand's three waters infrastructure over the next 30 years.’ I do not believe that a project of such great importance can risk creating extra complication via ‘extensive consultation with local government, iwi Māori, and the water industry’ when such large funding is required and no independent or experienced financial body is overseeing it.

  4. As Simon Court (ACT) quite rightly highlights, ‘This bill says nothing about who will pay for the infrastructure and how it will be funded.’ When we look at the S&P report, the WSE are stated to be ‘high risk’ financially, the financing is said to be ‘aggressive’ and the WSEs have a low ‘Stand Alone Credit Profile’ of ‘bbb’, which is described by S&P as ‘adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments but is somewhat susceptible to the adverse effect of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than Issuers in higher-rated categories'. Economic conditions such as inflation and a recession have not been accounted for.

  5. Debt is measured by the leverage ratio. Leverage starts at 2x, which is described as being minimal, the second highest level of leverage is 5-6x, which is described as being ‘aggressive’ and the highest level of leverage is greater than 6x, which is described as being ‘highly leveraged’. The S&P Rating Report dated 7th April states that the opening leverage for the proposed financing is 7x and this increases to 8.6x over 5 years. Under an alternative scenario it states that the leverage could start at 7x and increase to 9.6x.

  6. Furthermore, the S&P Report states on p5 that the likelihood of support from the Crown is ‘high’. This makes me question why the WSEs are even being created. Balance sheet separation is evidently enabling the government to take on more debt than it can repay without support from the Crown, and I do believe that this will be a huge burden to future generations of taxpayers if The Water Services Entities Bill is passed.
And, finally, the DIA was unable to respond with any answers to the above when questioned! 

This Bill should not proceed.


Natasha Poole is an Oxford Graduate, small business owner, linguist, writer, author and contributor to The Spectator Australia.


DeeM said...

Most people can't think of a single reason in favour of 3 Waters either Natasha, but that won't stop our government pushing it through with their outright majority, even if the public consultation process shows responses heavily against.

That's how Labour work. Just like Health and Education, this is just a pathway for co-governance and the Maori-tisation of everything.
Mahuta and Co don't care if it bankrupts the country, they're hellbent on securing power at any cost for their immediate whanau.

Anonymous said...

You've absolutely reached the right decision, Natasha. The whole reform is all about giving Maori undemocratic, unelected over-representation at the governance table and at tiers below as well as exclusive rights to claim levies/royalties. As David Seymour has opined, "it's not an infrastructure project, but a Treaty Settlement", albeit one without any sound justification.

The safe, efficient and democratic delivery of the 3 Waters has nothing whatsoever to do with the Treaty, yet its claimed that that document lays the foundation for the reputed requirement of the co-governance model, not to mention being a prerequisite understanding by those involved in that oversight. The much proclaimed "Treaty Principles" have at their heart the requirement for all parties to "act in the utmost good faith", yet both the Crown and Maori have failed to meet this basic test from the get go. The Crown, most obviously, by its undemocratic, less than open and transparent actions and outright misrepresentations throughout the reform process to date (including its refusal to disclose the Crown Law Office's advice on the Crown's obligations under the Treaty in relation to this necessity for co-governance), and Maori, for claiming/seeking and/or accepting disproportionate/inequitable rights or interests over all the 'waters' and all the assets that are involved therewith when patently that claim or interest cannot be justified. It rightly should be a case of being hoisted by one's own petard, but it appears nothing is too audacious or outrageous for those pushing forth with this rort/reform.

Anonymous said...

No hea koe?

Anonymous said...

Nu Tirene, marama.

AprilGuy said...

I absolutely agree Natasha, particularly the first bit. It is utterly undemocratic and racist to hand some Maori 50 per cent representation. I am amazed that Labour thought most people would go along with this. And even if it does not go ahead or is reversed later, we should be horrified that there are many who want Maori tribes to run 3 Waters, the health system and much more. They are all traitors to democracy and our beautiful land.

Anonymous said...

The biggest traitor is our leader. Leading us up the road to hell.
I see the Taxpayers Union presented 40 boxes of 65,000 printed submissions against 3 Waters today. This was necessary as Mahuta changed the usual protocol of emailed submissions to no emails being accepted. Who the hell do they think they are?
If our water services are so bad and the government wants to fund infrastructure there is nothing to stop them from supporting LG in delivery without stealing assets and making it an apartheid enterprise. Who the hell do they think they are?

Fiona said...

Too many lack the imagination or understanding of how good societies can go really bad. We are watching it in slow (but speeding up) motion and it makes my blood run cold. None of the race-based legislation allows for the growing number of tribal controllers of NZ to be reviewed, accountable and corrected, so the greedy and the nasty will be enabled. Just imagine the possible scenarios:
Q. What happens if the tribal elite cut off water supplies (or make them too expensive or too bureaucratically complicated) to some/all farmers or growers?
A. Farmers/Growers are forced off their land, tribes buy it up real cheap and do deals with large (possibly foreign) corporations and make zillions.

Q. What happens if a tribal elite member wants your house or street or region for tribal homes?
A. They charge you heaps for water, stop repairing the infrastructure, cut the water off so you are forced to sell or walk off your property.

Q. What can Joe Public do if the tribal elite are unfair, unreasonable, or abusive?
A. Nothing legal – the law doesn’t allow for it. You can take matters into your own hands, riot or cause violence and mayhem but you will then be removed from society or eliminated.

This all sounds extreme but it’s happened in other countries and New Zealand is showing itself to be no different in allowing the destruction of our once-was-good democracy.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. Only one point missed and that is the effect of cronyism and nepotism displayed by Nania Mahuta and the absence of qualified advisors on her panel of relatives providing policy advice.