Demand a stop to Three Waters

In a last-ditch effort to stop the Water Services Entities Bill, today I am asking you to let the Government know there is still strong public opposition to the bill. We ask that you take a few minutes out of your day today to take a stand on this vital issue by sending an email to Labour and Green MPs to demand the bill be withdrawn. A list of email addresses for you to copy and paste is available at the end of this email.

I know many of us have already submitted on this bill. I wish I could say that our views were carefully considered, but this Government has made it abundantly clear they are not listening. The select committee received over 88,000 submissions - the great majority of which were strongly against its proposals - but reportedly only 400 were selected to make oral presentations and 237 took the opportunity to do so.

Where to now?

We have been warned that this legislation will pass before Christmas, possibly as early as this coming week when parliament sits again from Tuesday, December 6th.

As we have pointed out previously, there are numerous reasons to oppose the bill. These include the following:

  • Co-governance. The undemocratic co-governance provisions will bring more complexity, more bureaucracy, more costs – and a whole lot less democratic accountability.
  • Ownership. While councils are nominally owners of the proposed entities, they have no conventional ownership rights.
  • Accountability. Local communities will lose control over their water services, assets, and infrastructure. The convoluted governance structure and reporting mechanisms reduce accountability to the public and water users – a criticism the Auditor-General has also made.
  • Te Mana o te Wai provisions. All persons performing or exercising duties, functions, or powers under the Act must give effect to Te Mana o te Wai statements, (to the extent that Te Mana o te Wai applies to those duties, functions, or powers). This could cover any aspect of water, water use, allocation, discharges, overland flows, storage, and recreation on lakes and rivers. The Te Mana o te Wai statements are to be exclusively provided by iwi and hapū, at any time. In effect, this provision is an unlimited capacity to direct how water is used. (For further explanation see Te Mana o te Wai implementation)
  • No mandate. There is no mandate from the people of New Zealand for what is in effect major constitutional change.
  • Implausible financials. The fiscal risk is too great to ignore, according to global economic consultants Castalia. The Government’s models use implausible assumptions to present a false choice between the mega-mergers and an unrealistic alternative with an overstated $185 billion of investment. See: Castalia: Five big problems with Three Waters.
  • High risk. Analysis supports the apprehension that the proposed debt financing of Three Waters brings its own set of risks which could turn out to be ruinous for the country’s finances.
  • Failure to consider alternatives. The Castalia report also shows the so-called savings promoted by Government are unlikely to occur, and that government officials failed to consider alternative lower-risk reforms options, or properly consider the impact of better regulation of the water sector.

Please send an urgent email against this bill to MPs. Your message could be as simple as:

I am writing to demand that the Water Services Entities Bill be withdrawn. This mega-merger model is highly flawed, and taking the control of water assets and water delivery services away from councils, and therefore local communities, is wrong. Withdraw the Bill!

You could also follow this up by sending a plea to National and Act MPs, requesting they put a motion of no confidence in the Labour Government and the Green Party for abuse of power as regards the Three Waters reforms. See below for their contact details.

I suggest you also share your letters with others, encouraging them to send messages too.

OPINIONS:

Mike Butler: Three Waters constitutional racism
Bruce Cotterill: Three Waters - Where is the outrange?
Leighton Smith: Interview with Frank Newman on Three Waters
The Platform: Shane Jones on co-governance
Dr Eric Crampton: New Three Waters entities: Bad debt and a bad precedent.  
Thomas Cranmer: Three Waters and One Mountain of Debt
Jo Moir: Three Waters to pass through Parliament in time for Christmas

MP's EMAIL ADDRESSES:

Labour Party

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Anahila.Kanongata'[email protected]
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Damien.O'[email protected]
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Green Party

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ACT Party

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National Party

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Thank you for your continued interest and support. If you have any suggestions you would like to offer, or if you need further information or help, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

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Kind regards,

Susan Short
Secretary
[email protected]