National | ACT Party

ACT reaffirms repeal of Three Waters if elected

ACT party leader David Seymour / NZME

ACT has reaffirmed its position that, if elected to power next year, it will repeal the Labour government’s Three Waters legislation.

Auditor-General John Ryan yesterday recommended some changes to the bill, while also arguing water services entities set up under the reforms should be regularly audited.

National and ACT are arguing the bill should be binned altogether.

“The Auditor-General raised serious concerns about the reforms, noting they “could have an adverse effect on public accountability, transparency, and organisational performance,” ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court says.

“ACT has made a commitment – if Labour steals it, ACT will repeal it. It will be gone within our first 100 days of government."

It’s the second time opposition MPs have taken a swipe at government legislation aimed at introducing co-governance in political frameworks.

Ngaī Tahu appointments

Last week National and ACT voted against the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill that enshrines into law a right for Ngāi Tahu to appoint two of Canterbury Regional Council’s 16 councillors.

“The worst aspect of the reforms is divisive co-governance. It's totally inappropriate to give iwi a seat at the table just because of who their ancestors were,” Court said.

“All New Zealanders want clean and safe water, not just iwi.”

Yesterday Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson rallied against the central argument of 'one man, one vote’ being voiced by opposition MPs.

In a New Zealand Herald op/ed, Jackson cited democracies around the world including the United States and the Westminster system in the UK, which ensure minorities have a say.

“I salute Rino Tirikatene [South Island Māori electorate MP] who led the process and those who have tirelessly worked for decades to see the Māori voice represented to ensure the partnership promised in the Treaty is fulfilled.” Jackson wrote of the Ngāi Tahu bill's sponsor.

Consensual democracy

“What makes this struggle for equality under the Treaty so much more difficult is when our colleagues in opposition pull political stunts to manipulate Kiwi ignorance of our past by weaponising 'one person, one vote'.

Jackson says so long as the current government remains in power, it will continue to progress co-governance initiatives through the House, citing MMP as an example of how proportional representation has existed in Aotearoa since the 1990s.

“This government will not walk away from its obligations of co-governance, which has been a significant feature of our democratic system since our shift from a majoritarian democracy to a mixed-member proportional representation in 1996.”

“Whether the right wants to admit it or not, the facts are that we are now a more moderate, consensual and participatory democracy. This dramatic shift reflects our nation's desire for a government that is more inclusive of a diversity of views including minority voices.” Jackson said.

Last night's 1 News-Kantar political poll revealed while National was down two points to 37 per cent of the vote, it could form a government alongside ACT, which is up four points to 11 per cent.

Public Interest Journalism