Monday, December 5, 2022

NZCPR Newsletter: Who is Actually Running the Country?

The escalating controversy over Three Waters – and an increasing realisation that the Prime Minister and senior members of Cabinet do not really know what’s going on – is leading New Zealanders to question who is actually running the country?

Today’s announcement by House Leader Chris Hipkins, that a highly contentious ‘entrenchment’ clause introduced into the Bill by Minister Nanaia Mahuta without the approval of Cabinet will be removed on Tuesday, simply reinforces the shambles.

The obvious question that now must be asked is whether New Zealand is being co-governed by Labour’s Maori Caucus? Has Jacinda Ardern put in place some sort of ‘power sharing’ arrangement with Maori?

Is that what’s really going on behind the scenes?

While Jacinda Ardern claims to be running the most ‘open and transparent’ government in New Zealand’s history, experience shows it is the least open and transparent government ever.

Our Prime Minister not only failed to inform New Zealanders before the 2020 election that she was planning to replace democracy with tribal rule, but she even kept the He Puapua roadmap hidden from her Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters for the best part of a year.  

When she first became Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern declined to tell New Zealanders that she was embedding the socialist objectives of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 into our legislative and regulatory framework. We only became aware of what was going on when she boasted about her achievements to a Bill Gates Foundation gathering in New York.

Chosen in 2014 to become a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Jacinda Ardern has not been upfront about what the WEF’s agenda of “building back better” entails for New Zealand. Is ‘co-governance’ what she means when she talks about introducing the “great reset”?

Is it possible that Jacinda Ardern has herself entered into a “partnership” arrangement with iwi leaders that gives a free hand to Nanaia Muhuta and her cabal of Cabinet supporters to implement He Puapua?

In other words, is New Zealand already being co-governed by the radical separatists in the Beehive?

None of this may be as far-fetched as it sounds. As the Herald’s Audrey Young has revealed, all policy decisions being made by the Labour Government have to be vetted by the Office for Maori-Crown Relations to ensure they comply with the ‘Treaty partnership’ fabrication being pushed by Maori supremacists.

This Office, established in collaboration with Iwi Leaders in 2018 to oversee the Government’s work with Maori in a post-Treaty settlement era, has been specifically instructed by its Minister, Kelvin Davis, to operate “under the radar”. This means that most New Zealanders have no idea that tribal leaders have already gained a significant influence over Government decision-making.

Is this why Labour is soft on crime? Are tribal leaders influencing the operation of the criminal justice system with their ‘soft-touch’ approach?

Is tribal influence the reason that an apartheid health system has now been introduced, which gives Maori priority treatment over all other New Zealanders?

Is tribal capture of the policy decision-making process why this Government is not fixing the worker shortage crisis – because iwi leaders and their Maori Cabinet representatives are opposed to more immigration?

The only member of Cabinet who appears to be holding out is the Attorney General David Parker, who, in spite of reports of extreme pressure, has refused to introduce co-governance into the new resource management reform process.  

Is he the only Minister who sees through the absurd claim being made by iwi leaders that they are Treaty partners with the Crown – an arrangement that is constitutionally impossible, but that they nevertheless maintain gives them supreme rights over all other New Zealanders?   

Iwi leaders certainly appear to have the favour of our Prime Minister – and most of her Cabinet – to such an extent that she is now transferring key assets and resources that belong to the people of New Zealand into the hands of tribal interests running their multi-million-dollar business development corporations.

It’s become a huge embarrassment for our country to see its Prime Minister capitulate to the greedy demands of iwi leaders seeking to increase their power and wealth – at a cost to all other New Zealanders.

But it’s all gone too far.

Today’s backdown over Three Waters has highlighted last week’s revelation that legislative decisions are now being made without the PM’s knowledge – and without the  approval of Cabinet.

It started last Monday, with the news that coastal and geothermal waters had been included in the Three Waters Bill after submissions had closed – ensuring the public had no opportunity to have a say on this highly contentious matter. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy Megan Woods claimed they were unaware that approval had been given to turn ‘Three Waters’ into ‘Five Waters’.

The context here is important.

Back in April, Cabinet agreed to Minister Mahuta’s plan to include ‘coastal’ water in the next Three Waters Bill, not the current one.

So, under whose authority was coastal water included in the current Bill?

‘Geothermal’ water was not even mentioned in that April Cabinet paper, and the Minister of Energy said she knew nothing about any plan to expand the influence of tribal leaders to cover geothermal water as well.

So by what authority was geothermal water added into the Bill?

Did Nanaia Mahuta unilaterally make those changes – and is this co-governance in action?

It was a similar story last Wednesday, when it emerged that yet another highly contentious Three Waters decision had been made after submissions had closed. This time the controversy was over the inclusion of an “entrenchment” clause, even though Cabinet had specifically ruled it out.

A Cabinet paper dated 30 May outlining a number of decisions regarding Three Waters stated as a key recommendation: “agree that the Water Services Entities Bill should not entrench the privatisation provisions in the Bill.”

The paper explained that a recommendation was made by the Three Waters Working Group to include in the Bill an ‘entrenchment’ provision “in a similar form to section 268 of the Electoral Act 1993” to protect the Three Waters entities against privatisation.

In Westminster democracies Parliament is sovereign. As a result, entrenchment clauses which seek to bind future Parliaments are used sparingly, and are reserved for protecting important constitutional measures that have widespread support across the House.

New Zealand’s “reserved provisions”, which are entrenched in the Electoral Act through a 75 percent vote threshold, protect the term of Parliament, the operation of the Representation Commission which sets electoral boundaries, the voting age, and our MMP voting system.

Since Standing Order 270 requires entrenchment provisions to be passed by the same majority in the House as the threshold proposed in the Bill, Minister Mahuta wrote to all political parties seeking their support for a Three Waters entrenchment provision with a 75 percent threshold.

However, as the Cabinet paper noted, “cross-party support for entrenchment has not emerged”, and since the Bill already contained “very strong safeguards that are significant obstacles to privatisation” – namely, that privatisation of a water service entity could only go ahead if there was unanimous support from all councils, at least 75 percent support of the regional representative group, and at least 75 percent support of voters in a poll – the plan to include an entrenchment clause in the Bill was dropped.

With that matter settled in May, it would have come as a shock to both Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins to be questioned about the last-minute inclusion of an entrenchment provision in the Bill.

According to Green Party MP Eugenie Sage, the entrenchment clause to prevent privatisation had been negotiated with Minister Mahuta using a 60 percent threshold instead of the 75 percent used in the Electoral Act, because 60 percent represented the combined votes of Labour and the Greens. It was lodged in Supplementary Order Paper 285 and included in the Bill through the Minister’s support during the committee stages.

With official advice, including from the Attorney General, Crown Law, the Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Internal Affairs, strongly opposing the use of entrenchment provisions for anything other than constitutional measures, critics from across-the-board let loose.

Some described the attempt to bind future Parliaments as “democratic vandalism”. Others claimed it set a “dangerous precedent”, that could trigger a “race to the bottom”, with governments entrenching any policy positions they felt strongly about. This would result in today’s “MPs placing handcuffs on tomorrow’s MPs”.

In a Radio NZ interview, Eugenie Sage justified the entrenchment clause by saying, “There was strong public concern coming through submissions on the Water Services Entities Bill that assets remain in public ownership”.

But fact-checking that claim reveals a different story. The Departmental Report on the Bill stated the actual numbers of submissions that mentioned the clause in question (clause 116): “There were around 15 submissions about this clause.”

So it was on the basis of 15 submissions out of a total of 88,383, that the Green Party’s Eugenie Sage and Minister Mahuta colluded to abuse Parliamentary conventions, Cabinet protocols, and the democratic process.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator former Judge and Law Lecturer Anthony Willy reminds us that the sovereignty of Parliament remains an incontrovertible democratic safeguard, which means that any attempt to bind future Parliaments through entrenchment can be defeated by repealing the entrenchment clause itself using an ordinary majority:

“What is extraordinary is that the whole grubby scheme is doomed to fail from the outset. Inconveniently for the government we still cling to our Parliamentary democracy. This lot don’t seem to understand that in the Westminster system of government the King in Parliament is sovereign, and no government of the day can bind the hands of its successor. This is constitutional Law 101.

“Here is what we learned at law school about the supremacy of Parliament: ‘Within the limits of physical possibility Parliament can make or unmake any law whatever… there is no Act which Parliament cannot repeal. The Bill of rights could be cast overboard by the same process as the prevention of damage of pests Act namely by repealing measures passed in ordinary form.

“How can this lot be so stupid as to not understand this fundamental constitutional principle – or perhaps they do.”

And that is the point.

Right from the time it was first proposed, the focus on privatisation could be seen as a diversion to deflect attention away from the fact that under the Minister Mahuta’s scheme, the country’s water services are being partially privatised to iwi.

With iwi having veto rights at a strategic governance level, and full control at a local level, iwi can essentially do whatever they like.

As Victoria University’s Dr Bryce Edwards explains: “The co-governance model is a form of privatisation. The new companies will be half controlled by private organisations – iwi, which are increasingly highly corporate in their business operations.”

Essentially, this means that under Three Waters, the country’s water services will be controlled by Maori tribal groups with the power to implement policies of direct benefit to themselves – including the potential to impose water royalties in perpetuity – and no-one will be able to stop them.

Minister Mahuta has elevated concerns about privatisation as a trojan horse to deflect attention away from the fact that she is transferring total control of all New Zealand water to iwi corporations.

In fact, if Chris Hipkins was genuine about wanting to “fix” the Three Waters Bill, wouldn’t it not only be the ‘entrenchment’ clause that is removed, but also the highly contentious clause that introduced coastal and geothermal water as well, since not only was there no Cabinet sign off, but no attempt has been made to consult the public about this major change to our laws.

If this jack-boot totalitarianism is what we can expect from the tribal co-governance of New Zealand, Kiwis do not want it! Three (now five) Waters has not only exposed the radical racial agenda that is now dividing our country, but it has also revealed the truth about who holds the reins of power in our government.

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Dr Muriel Newman established the New Zealand Centre for Political Research as a public policy think tank in 2005 after nine years as a Member of Parliament. The NZCPR website is HERE. We also run this Breaking Views Blog and our NZCPR Facebook Group HERE

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