Barrie Saunders writes:
If the Government gets its way, around $100 billion of community owned three waters assets, will be effectively nationalised. They will be placed in the hands of the most convoluted monopoly structure I have seen, with iwi leaders substantially in the drivers’ seat.
One might have thought a transaction of this scale would have attracted the attention of our business journalists, capable of going beyond the so called co-governance aspect.
What Barrie is saying, is that even if you put the co-governance issues to one side, where is the analysis of the case for taking $100 billion of assets off local government and placing them with monopoly companies with little public accountability?
I may have missed it, but I have not seen anything in mainstream or business media that thoroughly dissects the case for nationalisation and whether the extraordinarily complex arrangements embodied in the proposal, will deliver the benefits claimed.
This is seriously important for everyone, so why have mainstream media not allocated a significant journalistic resource to it?
Is $100 billion not large enough to warrant scrutiny?
These are key questions to ask:
- Are the three waters operations across the country so uniformly bad, wholesale state control is justified?
- How should local authorities be compensated for their loss of property rights?
- If there is to be forced aggregation is four entities the right number, or should it be more like ten to allow some natural groupings to form?
- Why are they not based regional council boundaries and why is Gisborne lumped in with Wellington and Nelson?
- How can captive customers ensure the new entities are not typical flabby monopolies that gold plate their systems?
- Why should iwi have a dominant governance position of assets created by communities since 1840?
- Could the new system lead to the entities paying iwi royalties for water which originally comes from the skies?
All good questions