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Government Gaslighting Kiwis With Claim They Are “listening” On Three Waters

Nanaia Mahuta is gaslighting the more than 80,000 New Zealanders who took the time and effort to submit on her flawed Three Waters Bill, which will take community-owned water assets from councils and put them into the control of unaccountable and expensive entities.

Mahuta “thank[ed] the committee for its careful consideration of more than 80,000 submissions” and claims that “extensive changes have been proposed” in a statement published on the Beehive website and sent to media.

“The dishonesty of Ms Mahuta knows no bounds” says Taxpayers’ Union co-founder Jordan Williams. “This is gaslighting at its finest.”

“Far from ‘carefully listening’ to submitters, the Government majority on the Committee specifically blocked officials from reading, reviewing, and summarising the 68,661 submissions from our supporters.”

“First they made us print and deliver hard copy submissions – rather than accept by email – then they didn’t even bother to get officials to read or summarise them. The Committee even turned down our offer to use software to pull out unique points submitters made. In what world is that ‘listening’ to the public?”

“The number of submissions ranks this bill among the most submitted on in the history of our Parliament. But the Government majority cut short the time listening to submitters – travelling the country for just five days. As I told the Committee – it is pathetic that we can do better, getting out on the road for more than a month on a roadshow tour to listen to New Zealander’s concerns.”

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“Ms Mahuta also claims that ‘extensive changes have been proposed’. What nonsense. Rather than promote democratic accountability, the proposed changes actually double down. Te Mana o te Wai and Te Mana o te Wai statements will be even more powerful and tie the hands of the half of the ‘Regional Representative Groups’ who are accountable to elected councils. The Government has ‘listened’ to councils, so more council representatives can sit on the 'Regional Representative Groups’ – but the 50/50 requirement for unaccountable iwi appointments remains the same.”

“One of the changes is for councils to have annual ‘shareholder meetings’. That in and of itself is dishonest misrepresentation – councils still won’t have any rights of ‘shareholders’ or ownership. There will be absolutely nothing to talk about, and certainly no control exercised.”

“We are glad to see the Green Party’s minority report making many of the same points as the Taxpayers’ Union. They say the councils should have the equivalent level of control to a council-controlled organisation, akin to WaterCare, and the C4LD proposal supported by the Taxpayers’ Union.”

“Ultimately, Three Waters will cost ratepayers with higher water costs, more bureaucracy, no local control, and less democracy. It needs to be stopped.”

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