The Water Services Legislation Bill is a 200 page ammendment to the recently passed Water Services Act. It proposes 275 ammendments to the original act.
Many groups around the country were already in an uproar about the proposed control of water, under what had been mostly referred to as the 3 waters legislation.
There is enough written already in relation to concerns about the original act which attracted 88,000 submissions.
That aside, who knew?
Were all the MPs who voted on this legislation aware that it would be immediately amended?
In the trade-offs between the internal factions of Labour was this another surprise from Mahuta and the Maori Caucus?
Something similar had been seen with the last minute attempt by Mahuta to entrench the original act with the cooperation of a departing Green MP.
This is essentially co-governance and corruption in action.
Following the claims by Winston Peters that he was never informed about He Puapua (where the 3 Waters legislation comes from) then it’s not unreasonable to ask if our departing prime minister knew or not or what she actually knew.
We’ll probably never know.
Just what went on in Wellington in the lead up to Christmas possibly has a lot to do with Jacinda Ardern’s resignation and so it should, it’s reason enough and certainly a much more likely reason than hostile social media.
I’d certainly want to know why the Press Gallery was empty on the last day of parliament, when the Opposition was raising objections to the process and the content of the ammendment bill.
New Zealand will have a new prime minister when Chris Hipkins is sworn in on Wednesday but he’s already acknowledged in an interview as prime minister elect that Labour has a big challenge ahead with 3 Waters.
That won’t stop the ongoing process that has been organising itself ahead of the legislation.
The supposedly smooth process in the change of leadership gives no indication as to what might have been agreed to or what action if any Hipkins will take regarding the general disfunctional operation of parliament, and this particular bill.
How a finance minister actually funds something that isn’t even legislated is another question.
The bill itself contains provisions that are as draconian as what we saw with the covid legislation.
The most concerning aspect is the compliance and enforcement proposals that will be established under each of the regional entities managing the separate water regions.
What that will look like in time is unclear as the legislation is essentially the authority without the detail.
What happens next continues to be as unclear as the whole process has been.