A good summary of Three Waters

Grant Duncan writes:

Labour’s original proposed governance structure, even if you overlook the co-governance aspect of it, was a complicated beast: it had unelected ‘representative’ bodies that appoint board-appointment committees that appoint boards that then appoint advisory panels that monitor the boards and report to the representative body. Confused? And then one asks how these boards would get along with the several local councils in their areas when needing to agree on and coordinate developments like a new suburb’s pipes or an upgraded treatment plant. Just fixing a damaged stormwater drain would get more complicated than before. There was bound to be conflict. And the households dependent on these services would have less voice than ever.

This gets to the heart of it – there would be not accountability.

Mr Hipkins has said, somewhat defensively, that National still ‘have to find a way of recognising the Māori interest in water which has been established by the courts’. We’ll see what the new government does about that, but Mr Hipkins must know that parliaments make laws and courts apply them, not the other way around. In the meantime, people of all races just want a clean glass of water, please.

Three Waters helped to sink the Labour government at the 2023 election. Setting aside the ‘race card’ accusation, their proposed governance structure was unwieldy and full of opportunities for bureaucratic delay and conflict. It was another own goal by the Labour team as one more ‘solution’ turned into one more political problem.

I have no doubt it would have added massive costs to the supply of water.

According to Hipkins, those who question that multi-level model are ‘playing the race card’. Someone needs to tell him that what people really need is clean water in and dirty water out. No wonder Labour loses support over this. Public utilities such as water services should be matters on which a Labour party leads – not loses.

It was a self-inflicted own goal.

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