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Three Waters: Theft By Government

In July 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements.

This reform programme builds on the progress made through the Three Waters Review and establishment of Taumata Arowai.

Taumata Arowai will be the new water services regulator for New Zealand which will be committed to ensuring all communities have access to safe drinking water and have an oversight role in protecting the environment from the impacts of waste and stormwater.

The Ministry of Health is the current drinking water regulator. Taumata Arowai will become fully operational when it takes over from the Ministry of Health following the commencement of the Water Services Act, expected to be in the second half of 2021.

They are a Crown entity with a Ministerial-appointed board. Alongside the independent board will be a Māori Advisory Group.

Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across New Zealand.

The Government’s intention is to amalgamate local government’s three waters services into a small number of multi-regional entities.

This amalgamation programme is planned to end with the water authorities that are created being controlled by a partnership with fifty percent of the control being given to Maori based on the claim that the Treaty of Waitangi created a partnership between the Crown and Maori.

This claim of a partnership between Maori and the Crown is not supported by any of the documentation of the Treaty although this latter-day reinterpretation of the Treaty is simply stated as a fact, without any acknowledgement that the assertion is hotly contested, is flatly contradicted by many of the speeches recorded by Colenso in writing at the time (on 5 February 1840) and flatly contradicted also by speeches made by numerous chiefs at Kohimarama in 1860.

A starting point to consider in relation to the question of a partnership would be to consider and understand the wise words of a prominent leader respected by Pakeha & Maori alike.

‘The Hon Sir Apirana Ngata -M.A. LLB. LIT.D’

(THE TREATY OF WAITANGI - an explanation published in 1922)

The acclaimed Maori Leader Sir Apirana Ngata explains the intent in the pages of this book, the "Treaty of Waitangi". He concludes with the words: "The Treaty made the one law for the Maori and Pakeha. If you think these things are wrong and bad then blame our ancestors who gave away their rights in the days when they were powerful".

The current Government is legislating for a water regulator and making it mandatory to enforce the standard that Gov’t has decided upon for the supply of drinking water and is basing its’ decisions on the Scottish water model.

The question of what it will cost ratepayers was not considered as a priority.

Some months back, government announced a one off payment with no strings attached, costing $740 million across New Zealand, to stimulate the economy during the Covid recovery period and all the councils had to do was supply government with a full analysis of its’ current three Waters assets and programmes.

A further incentive was an offer of $2.5billion that would go to those councils that decided to join the Masterplan for centralised control of water.

The concept being promoted is to have several companies supplying all of the water in New Zealand who get ownership of all of the council’s three water assets.

There was a series of meetings held with Mayors around the country with the key message from governments PR team being; “we have proven the case for change”, with the government’s position being that participation was optional.

Questions were asked about:

  • How many entities would there be?
  • How would they be governed?
  • Where were IWI in the discussions and how did they fit into any structure?
  • What would the balance sheet implications be and the moves impact on local government in the future?

Government advised that the three water assets owned by each council would be transferred into one of the operating entities and those assets would be transferred with no compensation.

Government's proposed governance structure takes all decisions in relation to three Waters away from Councils and its ratepayers.

The ratepayers will be billed direct from the water company.

What is clear is that every New Zealander will pay heavily for a gold-plated water standard, decided by government and affordability has not even been discussed.

The governance structure has been proposed as 50% councils who have put in 100% of the assets and 50% IWI.

There has been no consultation with the ratepayers of the New Zealand districts about their hard earned assets being taken by government without compensation, a decision which in reality it will just add $160 billion to the country’s debt which is more than the current net government debt, and New Zealand won't be able to afford it.

The ratepayers of each district will have their assets taken and end up being billed with large increases from the water regulator which they will have no control over where at present local body elections bring about some level of accountability.

Government has tried to influence the outcome of this discussion by spending 3.5 million dollars on inaccurate advertising about drinking water that made the assumption that we don't have good water and that's simply not correct in most parts of New Zealand.

So in summary the ratepayers around New Zealand are going to have the assets that they have paid for STOLEN from them and given to then new authority then be asked to pay hugely inflated charges for their water supply with no chance of accountability with fifty percent control of the stolen assets being given to Maori.

Given that we have just been celebrating the anti-apartheid demonstrations back in the eighties it seems ludicrous that we are now going to recreate another form of apartheid in New Zealand with this race based decision making where 16%percent of the population will be given control of our national water assets simply based on race.

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