The PM is telling us power resides in the ownership of water assets, so we shouldn’t fret about how much muscle Maori can flex

It sounded curiously like something out of a Marxist textbook – the notion that power sits with ownership.  

The relationship between ownership and power – it seems – should be more important to us than the issue of representation in the country’s democratic institutions or the concept of one person, one vote. 

The Prime Minister might try explaining her ideas to the good people of Canterbury, after her government’s MPs enthusiastically voted in support of legislation which ends equality of suffrage in procedures for electing councillors to the Canterbury Regional Council.  All residents will get to vote for the elected councillors (so far, so good), but residents who belong to the Ngai Tahu tribe get two more councillors, appointed by tribal leaders, for reasons that boil down to ancestry.

Labour MP Rino Tirikatene, speaking during the third reading debate, said the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Amendment Bill was

“… about the evolution of our treaty partnership and representation of Māori, of iwi at the local government level”.

These are ominous words, portending the bill will serve as a model for other Māori tribes in their push for the so-called “Treaty partnership” to be given tangible expression in all forms of government.

Next on the Government’s agenda – aiming for 50 per cent Māori/50 per cent Crown representation – is the government’s plan to have all local authority water assets come under the administration and management of four new structures under the Three Waters programme.

Continue reading “The PM is telling us power resides in the ownership of water assets, so we shouldn’t fret about how much muscle Maori can flex”

Democracy, the Treaty and the coup that is embedding tribal rule into our regulatory and legislative framework

By Muriel Newman

Finally, the mainstream media is reporting that a coup is under way in New Zealand – by the Māori tribal elite.

Admittedly that observation was penned by former Labour Minister and ACT Party leader Richard Prebble in an opinion piece for the Herald – but the newspaper published it and Radio NZ reported it.

The on-line Herald headline read “Three Waters is a coup — an attack on democracy”.

That bold and compelling headline, however, didn’t last. It was changed to remove the words “a coup” and now reads: “Three Waters is an attack on democracy”.

The obvious question is why?

A clue comes from an article written last year by political journalist Andrea Vance, about Jacinda Ardern’s PR machine:

The Government’s iron grip on the control of information has tightened. At every level, the Government manipulates the flow of information.”

She then explained,

“And the prime minister’s office makes sure its audience is captured, starting the week and cementing the agenda with a conference call with political editors.”

So, did a member of the Prime Minister’s Office contact the Herald and ask them to change the headline? Continue reading “Democracy, the Treaty and the coup that is embedding tribal rule into our regulatory and legislative framework”

Govt gives each council another $350,000 (of our money) to get Three Waters flowing – and win their support for its coup

Buzz from the Beehive

Three Waters reforms – the subject of widespread disquiet around the country – was among the issues tackled by Ministers with new initiatives over the past 24 hours.

So too was the vexed issue of housing.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being pumped into both problems. Or should that be “challenges”?

Housing Minister Megan Woods announced that not-for-profit groups looking to develop new rental homes for households on lower incomes that stay affordable over the long-term can apply for the first tranche of funding available from the $350 million Affordable Housing Fund announced in Budget 2022.

The first $50 million of this fund is devoted to rental developments for lower-income people who cannot afford a market rent but can’t access public housing, she explained. Continue reading “Govt gives each council another $350,000 (of our money) to get Three Waters flowing – and win their support for its coup”

Ardern dodges questions on Mahuta’s conflicts in Three Waters and is slippery on the role for minister’s sister

By Graham Adams

As meagre information about the appointment of Nanaia Mahuta’s younger sister, Tipa, to a pivotal role in Three Waters is gradually prised out of the government, it is becoming clear the Prime Minister has no intention of letting the public know exactly how that shell game played out.

What we do know is that Tipa’s elder sister transferred her power of appointment as Minister of Local Government to her Cabinet colleague, Kelvin Davis, in February 2021. He appointed Tipa to the chair of Te Puna – the Māori Advisory Group, which advises the new water regulator, Taumata Arowai, in May.

That ministerial power was returned to Nanaia Mahuta in June.

It is a matter of record that Ardern approved the transfer of power before the appointment was made — which is recommended by the Cabinet Manual as one way the Prime Minister can handle conflicts of interest.

However, Ardern is unwilling to say anything more about the transaction.

Describing the response to an Official Information Act (OIA) request seeking further information, Sean Plunket wrote on The Platform: Continue reading “Ardern dodges questions on Mahuta’s conflicts in Three Waters and is slippery on the role for minister’s sister”

$100 billion nationalisation but where are the business media on property rights questions?

The state-subsidised mainstream media have been found wanting in their coverage of Three Waters governance arrangements.   In this post, reproduced from his blog, BARRIE SAUNDERS exposes failings in the business press’s coverage of the nationalisation and property rights issues and their implications…

IF THE GOVERNMENT gets its way, around $100 billion of community-owned three waters assets, will be effectively nationalised. They will be placed in the hands of the most convoluted monopoly structure I have seen, with iwi leaders substantially in the drivers’ seat.

One might have thought a transaction of this scale would have attracted the attention of our business journalists, capable of going beyond the so called co-governance aspect.

Are property rights too boring for business journalists these days to matter?

I read the serious media including the NZ Herald and Business Desk, but as yet have not seen any articles, which dealt with the relevant elements.

I have read articles by political journalists looking at it all from a political angle, and swiping anyone who might question governance arrangements as racist or dog whistling. Continue reading “$100 billion nationalisation but where are the business media on property rights questions?”

Karl du Fresne on virtue signalling, Kiri Allan, Three Waters and secret donations

This article was published today on Karl du Fresne’s blog (HERE).

Newly promoted minister Kiritapu Allan has said what a lot of people think but feel unable to say. 

She lashed out in a tweet against “tokenistic” use of te reo by employees of DOC “as an attempt to show govt depts are culturally competent”. She told Stuff she encouraged the use of the Maori language, but wanted it used “with integrity”.

“You want to use te reo, you use it with integrity and use it responsibly,” Stuff quoted Allan as saying. “This isn’t a ‘everybody go out and use mahi and kaupapa’ and say you have a deep and enduring relationship with te ao Māori.”

Of course this shouldn’t apply only to DOC, where Allan was in charge before this week’s cabinet reshuffle resulted in her elevation to the justice portfolio. The same message could be directed at all government agencies where middle-class Pakeha public servants, eager to demonstrate their solidarity with the tangata whenua, indulge in an ostentatious display of virtue-signalling by using token Maori words and phrases.

I wonder whether Radio New Zealand also got the memo.  Continue reading “Karl du Fresne on virtue signalling, Kiri Allan, Three Waters and secret donations”

Buzz from the Beehive – Mahuta tries to mollify us about co-governance by not mentioning it in her Three Waters statement

Just when you thought it was safe to talk about water and democratic accountability…

Yep. Along comes Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta – taking time out from foreign affairs duties, promoting and protecting our interests in the Pacific – with legislation to give effect to the Three Waters programme and governance proposals which many local authorities oppose.

Her press statement is a deft piece of work. It makes no mention of “co-governance,” “partnership” or “the Treaty.”

But not mentioning sharks does not mean our waters are free of them. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – Mahuta tries to mollify us about co-governance by not mentioning it in her Three Waters statement”

Why is Lower Hutt’s Mayor over-riding local sentiment on Three Waters? Check out his party ticket and the pledge that went with it

Signatories to a recently launched petition are urging the Government to introduce civics education into schools nationwide.

Joni Tomsett, described by RNZ as a 28-year-old student from the Tasman region, launched the petition on the community campaign platform OurActionStation to make civics education a core subject in all secondary schools by 2026.

Tomsett also happens to be a member of the Motueka Community Board of Tasman District Council,

During civics lessons, students would be taught the basics of government, voting, and how the democratic process worked.

The idea is commendable.

Should it be adopted, Point of Order suggests Hutt City councillor Chris Milne contribute to the  preparation of content for the local government component.  He is especially enlightening on the numbing influence of the Labour Party on decision-making by councillors who have campaigned and been elected on the Labour ticket.

This article by Cr Milne was reproduced on Kiwiblog –  Continue reading “Why is Lower Hutt’s Mayor over-riding local sentiment on Three Waters? Check out his party ticket and the pledge that went with it”

Mahuta and Robertson are flushed with enthusiasm as they pump revised Three Waters plans back into the political pipes

The Labour Government is again using a Friday while the Prime Minister is on leave to dump information, ACT Leader David Seymour claimed in a press statement today.   

He referenced an announcement on Friday last week setting out the  next steps on He Puapua, the government’s programme for extending the meaning of “Treaty partnership” and discriminating in favour of “indigenous” people as “special”.

Today, the government has released its decision on Three Waters.

Just one thing.  Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson certainly have announced the Government’s Three Waters plans.

But when Point of Order checked The Beehive website at 3.30pm – well, it still wasn’t there.

In his statement, David Seymour noted that Three Waters and He Puapua involve major constitutional reform.

“They are issues that deserve sunlight and proper debate,” he said.

“It’s frankly pathetic from Labour to try to quietly release these on Friday while Jacinda is unavailable for interviews.” Continue reading “Mahuta and Robertson are flushed with enthusiasm as they pump revised Three Waters plans back into the political pipes”

Buzz from the Beehive – nothing yet posted about Three Waters but you can be sure Nanaia will sting her critics any minute

The Point of Order team was awash with expectations that something big would be showing up on the Beehive website.

But no – not yet.  Just two fresh announcements had been posted at the time we checked, neither of them related to Three Waters.

The big news about Three Waters and the Government’s intentions was embargoed to 11am and we checked around 11.10am.

We will keep you posted.  Our money is on co-governance remaining a controversial feature of reforms to be translated into legislation thanks to the Government’s Parliamentary majority.

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