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Time's Up Mahuta

“Revelations this morning in the NZ Herald that Nanaia Mahuta sought advice about the 60 per cent entrenchment threshold a month before Labour voted on the amendment shows she cannot be trusted on three waters entrenchment,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“These revelations contradict Mahuta’s statement in the House on December 6th, where she led us to believe she had no prior knowledge. She said ‘The member knows that SOP was tabled in the House during the committee of the whole House debate, so we were made aware of the details of the SOP at the same time he was.

“Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly told media that Labour “is taking this as a team” and repeatedly called it a “mistake.” It’s now clear her Local Government Minister has gone rogue and made a fool of her. If it was a ‘mistake’ it was a very well prepared one.

“Mahuta going to her officials for advice in response to a letter from Eugenie Sage shows she was actively engaged in the issue a month before it came up. Mahuta now says she only learned of the precise details of the Green SOP when it came up. However that didn’t stop her supporting it in the House, as Mahuta said at the time:

‘We know that while this particular SOP may not pass the constitutional threshold, there is a moral obligation of people who believe that privatisation should not occur to support that particular SOP.’

“Amazingly, this came right after Mahuta had said:

‘We accepted the advice… that came from the Crown Law Office… There is a high constitutional threshold to be reached in order to put such a threshold within legislation, and often it's on constitutional matters—of which this bill is not…’

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“From these quotes Mahuta had clearly weighed up official advice and thought about the Green amendment to entrench three waters. She had differentiated the Green amendment from the Government’s previous proposal, and decided it was a ‘moral obligation’ to support it in spite of legal advice that it didn’t reach the constitutional threshold for entrenchment.

"It's no longer believable that entrenching three waters was all just a big misunderstanding. Mahuta's support of entrenchment was either entirely pre meditated, or she is able to get advice, forget it, then recite it, then ignore it, changing her position within a paragraph of speaking.

“The fact that Ardern continues to cover for Mahuta shows how all-powerful the Maori caucus is and that Ardern has no control over Cabinet.

“If Ardern had any control at all, she would have dropped the wildly unpopular Three Waters legislation long ago. Instead, Mahuta is riding roughshod over her.

“If Helen Clark were Prime Minister, Mahuta would have already been sacked.

“It’s time for Ardern to show some leadership and that starts by showing Mahuta the door.”

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