While politicians and commentators raise concerns about the race-based nature of the Three (or Five) Waters reforms, the government has produced its Bill of Rights analysis which is superficial and slapdash at best. THOMAS CRANMER writes –
It may come as a surprise to some that the government has already obtained legal advice from the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Law Office to scrutinize whether the Water Services Entities Bill is consistent with the Bill of Rights Act. In fact the advice was considered by Cabinet at the end of May, and was then quietly published on the Ministry of Justice’s website.
National MP Nicola Willis – we trust – learned a wee bit more about the Government’s Three Waters reforms this morning than she learned from Finance Minister Grant Robertson at Question Time in Parliament yesterday.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today confirmed her determination – and the Government’s – to over-ride widespread public disquiet and local authority objections. She will press ahead in establishing four publicly owned water entities to take over and look after our drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure.
“These reforms have been long signalled. In our manifesto we committed to tackling big issues that others have long neglected in order to future-proof New Zealand. We are taking action to ensure safe, clean water for all communities in New Zealand for generations to come, protecting households from ballooning costs, and better preparing for the compounding impacts of climate change,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Here’s hoping the water that flows from the taps in the restructured system is more palatable than the answer we got when we visited the Labour Party website for whatever it had to say about water reform in its 2020 manifesto.
The last item we recorded after monitoring the Beehive website yesterday was headed E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka tū ā tērā tau. The accompanying news dealt with a government decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition and Māori Language Day as a major anniversary next year
“The Māori language petition, supported by 30,000 signatories, was presented to Parliament on the 14th September 1972 by representatives of Ngā Tamatoa, Victoria University’s Te Reo Māori Society and the NZ Māori Students Association. This is an important opportunity to pay further tribute to their hard mahi.”
This doesn’t mean the government approves so glowingly of all hard mihi that goes into gathering signatures for petitions.
A bemusing press statement flowed this morning from the office of Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta on the highly contentious matter of “three waters reforms”.
Under these reforms, the country’s 67 local and regional councils’ drinking, waste and storm water assets would be taken over and administered by four large regional entities, each of which would include iwi leaders with extraordinary co-governing powers.
In return, the government would pay for billions of dollars’ worth of much-needed infrastructure and repairs.