by Geoffrey Churchman

It was a pleasant surprise to be part of an audience of about 150 who turned up to listen to National Party local government spokesperson Simon Watts and Otaki electorate candidate Tim Costley speak yesterday afternoon in Paraparaumu on ‘Three [5] Waters’ — about twice what I had expected, and there were no Leftist hecklers. Simon Watts mostly spoke, but Tim Costley impressed, particularly with the amount of energy he devotes to talking to people in the electorate; he works far harder part time than the present MP does full time.

The short history of the deceptive, authoritarian manner which the Jacinda government went about setting up a centralised bureaucracy to control local council’s assets for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater was given and Simon Watts gave a firm assurance that the Mahuta legislation will be repealed. Mistrust of local democracy and its replacement with central bureaucracy which instructs local communities what to do is traditional Labour Party ideology, but of course there has been in addition the revalation in 2021 of her He Puapua plans designed to install unelected, unaccountable iwi elites in every part of government, supposedly on a 50-50% basis with everyone else not of Maori descent. But in fact, the small number of seats on the proposed water entities and the likelihood they won’t get one of them means there are many iwi opposed to this government’s plans as well.

National recognises that there are some aspects of the concerns that were raised at the outset back in 2020 that are legitimate — the need for a nationwide quality regulator is important. Previously the Health Department was responsible for drinking water standards but the requirements were never enforced. There are also some councils which have been remiss in upgrading their infrastructure and as a result the state of it around the country varies a lot. National wants to see these differences evened out by working with the councils, not fighting them as Labour does. Letting communities decide what they want for themselves on a decentralised, democratic basis is traditional Narional ideology.

Simon Watts also commented on the incredible squandering by this government on wealthy consultants who inhabit glass towers in Auckland, some of whom get paid $1000 a day. In fact, the partners in big accounting firms and law firms like Simpson Grierson probably get more like $3000 a day. This government in total now spends $1 billion a day more than what the National government in 2017 was spending — and what is there to show for it apart from enriched elites?

Apart from ‘Three [5] Waters’, other questions were asked, one of the most significant was about the obvious bias in support of the Labour Party by the government-bribed Stuff/NZ Herald/RNZ/TVNZ/Newshub mainstream media cartel [Waikanae Watch is the only media outlet in Kapiti critical of this regime and specifically gives coverage to opposition viewpoints]. Simon Watts said that meetings like the one yesterday are important, and so is traditional word of mouth.