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Govt’s Embarrassing U-Turn On Three Waters Bill

Labour was today shamed into an embarrassing U-turn after the Government and the Greens were caught out trying to make the unpopular Three Waters legislation harder to overturn, National’s Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says.

“It’s good to see Labour have listened to us and backed down, but the Prime Minister still has questions to answer around how this happened. This is about trust,” Mr Bishop says.

Using urgency in Parliament, Labour and the Greens added an entrenchment provision which means once Three Waters becomes law, it would take 60 per cent of MPs to overturn it, instead of a simple majority which applies to almost every law passed.

“Entrenchment is a rarely-used provision that, until now, has been reserved for important constitutional matters and legal experts say its use in this case is deeply inappropriate,” Mr Bishop says.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was unaware the Bill had been amended, however Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta later admitted it was discussed in Caucus – which the Prime Minister chairs.

“The Prime Minister needs to explain how the Government ended up in this position.

“The unpopular Three Waters bill is a shambles and needs to be scrapped. It is rushed, it is reckless and it is wrong. In the last two weeks the Government has had to clarify whether it is Three Waters or Five Waters and have now had to back down on this.

“New Zealanders deserve better. National would repeal and replace the Three Waters bill and ensure water assets remain with local authorities.”

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