Who said Shane Jones was all washed-up? Three Waters (and co-governance) have flushed him back into politicking

Shane  Jones — remember  him?- — has  re-emerged  into public life and thrown a  hand grenade  at  the  Labour  government on  its  Three Waters  policy.  He  has  done  so  in  a  think-piece    for  the  op-ed  page  in  the  NZ  Herald  at a  time  when the  Ardern  government thought  it  had  recaptured  the  high ground  in  the nation’s politics, with  its  measures  to  take  the sting   out  of  inflation.

But  Jones’ intervention has  widened   the  battleground.

The  implications, separately,  are  interesting.  Does it  foreshadow  Jones, a  close ally  of  NZ  First  leader Winston Peters,  stepping  back  into  politics?  Could  it  be that  Jones  senses  that here is  the  issue   that could revive  NZ First  from  its  moribund  state?

Of  course, Jones  may  have  compiled  his explosive  piece  on  his  own initiative,  but  as  a  minister  in  the  Labour-NZ  First coalition  from 2017 to 2020,  he   and Winston Peters   always  worked  very  closely  together.  It  was  as if  they  were  soul-mates:   each  had the  gift  of  hitting   a  political nerve.

This  is  the  one  Jones played   on  in   his  NZ  Herald  article:

“Just as there is ignorance about the exact origins of Covid, the public does not recall giving the Labour Party permission to impose its Treaty of Waitangi co-governance master plan.  A dogma that thrives where visibility is weak, debates are shallow and agendas are murky.  Take for example the bog known as Three Waters, a reform designed to avoid a repeat of the 2016 Havelock North drinking water crisis.

“Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has a superior agenda in mind which will be in our best interests, not only for drinking water but also storm and wastewater – providing it goes through her Treaty purification plant.The Government wants to forcibly transfer all our publicly-owned water assets into four jumbo corporations and then hand over 50 per cent control to iwi – a radical move from contaminated water to toxic politics”.

Jones  goes  on:

 “According to the Government, this is necessary to satisfy Treaty articles of faith and accommodate the fractious iwi leaders collective, who should stick to their rūnanga knitting rather than whinging in Wellington.”

He  reckons it is high time to call time on how the Treaty of Waitangi is being dragged into policy areas where it is of dubious value, alienates people, and eats away the goodwill of past decades.

And  in  this  paragraph  you  hear  the authentic Jones talking:

“The Māori Party boasts that when choosing who to work with in the 2023 government, it will have to be Treaty-centric. No doubt we will recognise this ego-centricity when pigs fly by. It is essential that any further extension of Treaty statutory references and co-governance agendas be subject to an electoral mandate.”

He  believes  it is critical that the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal be reviewed and changed.

“It is no longer fit for purpose, it indiscriminately strays into matters where it lacks competence and adds no value. Whilst the legal truffle hunters may encourage it to be expansive, it is overdue a political pruning. In 2025, which will be in the next electoral cycle, the tribunal will have existed for 50 years. Why should it still exist and for what purpose?

“Treaty co-governance is being grafted onto our political system without any public consent or informed debate. Labour did not seek the approval of the electorate in 2020 for this divisive agenda. Quite the opposite. The wellbeing statistics for whānau remain woeful but the political leadership is pitiful.

“Rather than deal to the Tribesmen gang, which now appears to own the Waikato Expressway, our Māori MPs encourage tribal ambitions to control the health system. The case for establishing a separate Māori Health Authority with budgetary veto powers has not been made. The same for the proposed Māori Education Authority.No doubt these structural changes will lead to more statutory Treaty references which then leads to more litigation whilst the gang nephews run amok”.

Jones  says the pressing issues confronting the average rangatahi are very basic.  Rather than tribalised Three Waters, they need three affordable staples, veges, meat and milk.

These whānau want practical results, not superficial linguistics where everything gets a Māori title but whānau circumstances don’t markedly improve.

Kāinga Ora is a case in point, where the Māori grammar is inversely related to the actual housing outcomes for Maori. Rather than indulging the Mongrel Mob tenants, put them in a tent until they learn to respect their neighbours”.

This  is  the  passage which  strikes  home  across  the  political  divide:

“Tiriti co-governance is an artifice that will hobble economic activity and worsen statutory processes such as those in the Resource Management Act. A developer’s deathtrap bogged down with red-tape, surrounded by loose hapū cannons that threaten to spike economic development unless their two cents worth is handsomely paid for. Consultation is a part of democracy, however, it needs to be tightly defined and not allowed to morph into either green or brown mail”.

Jones insists The Three Waters project is doomed to fail because it is not sustainable in NZ’s democracy for a $185 billion public utility programme to be 50 per cent controlled by iwi.

“These are public assets, not tribal baubles.The current Government can shroud its agenda with artfulness but the result will be the same. Any iwi co-governance legislation it arrogantly forces through Parliament will be undone by a future government”.

Does  he mean a government which  has  a  NZ  First component?

A   final  sentence contains a hint of  what a resuscitated NZ  First might do:

“Such a government should be formed on the clear basis that there will never be political privileges such as the iwi co-governance plot”.

Shane Jones,  it  has  to be remembered,  played  a  key  role in  Treaty relationships  in  the  1990’s  particularly with  the Maori  fisheries   settlement.

Point  of  Order   will  be  keeping  a  close watch  on whether   the  seeds  he has  planted   with  his Herald  thinkpiece  flourish—or  wither  on  the  vine.

CORRECTION:  We have corrected the text to show NZ First ministers served in the coalition government from 2017 to 2020.

5 thoughts on “Who said Shane Jones was all washed-up? Three Waters (and co-governance) have flushed him back into politicking

    1. Could not agree more regarding coming from National, however I urge everybody to do something about it. Get hold of your local national MP and visit them or write to them in Parliament tell them what you think.
      We have forgotten how to participate in democracy beyond voting every 3 years. If enough people engage directly we can collectively make a big difference.


  1. Some editing required Of course, Jones may have compiled his explosive piece on his own initiative, but as a minister in the Labour-NZ First coalition from 1917 to 2020, he and Winston Peters always worked very closely together. It was as if they were soul-mates: each had the gift of hitting a political nerve.

    Cheers Chris



  2. A great pity his party originally chose a Labour led government for the sake of their own political baubles of office. What short memories some have of the toxic NZ First


  3. About time we had another politician stand up and call the racist co governance agenda exactly what is, the destruction of democracy for New Zealand. I look forward to more and more people standing up for our nation against the Forces Of Darkness!


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