You can’t make this up

Peter Williams. (source)Taxpayers union

I’m sorry to be writing with some bad news. But today we found out Three Waters was only the beginning…

I am sending this most urgent email to you and every one of our most loyal supporters who, like me, believe in democracy and accountability. As you will soon see, this is the most important issue the Taxpayers’ Union has ever had to tackle. 

Now more than ever, we are counting on your support.

This morning, the Government’s ‘Future of Local Government Review Panel’ – a group of handpicked ‘experts’ appointed by Nanaia Mahuta – released proposals that would fundamentally shift local councils from democratic institutions into unaccountable ‘co-governed’ fiefdoms.

I’m not going to mince my words here, Late last night, we were leaked a confidential copy of the report’s proposals – called ‘He mata whāriki he matawhānui’ – they include:

• Transferring a laundry list of powers that currently fall before elected council directly to hapū/iwi and other Māori organisations;

• Appointing unelected positions by mana whenua to be given equal status as elected members (including voting rights). But unlike the councillors, the mana whenua representatives cannot be removed at the ballot box;

• Requiring council staff to conform with ‘te ao Māori values’ by law;

• Funding of ‘Tiriti-based partnership in local governance’ (no matter the cost to ratepayers, apparently);  

• Removing the requirement for local referenda before changing the voting system (for the remaining councillors to be elected) by imposing STV across the country; and  

• Lowering the local voting age to 16.  

You couldn’t make this up: the future of democracy is at stake.

In what is either an Orwellian misstep, or an attempt to gaslight you, Mahuta’s Panel literally claim that these recommendations are to “strengthen democracy”. Imposing co-governance does not increase democracy.

There is now no denying where Ardern, Mahuta and the Government want to take New Zealand.

At our Three Waters Roadshow events across New Zealand, we were asked time and time again whether “Three Waters” was only the first step of a radical plan to impose co-governance over all of New Zealand. Today, the Report confirms that those fears were 100% justified.

With so much of the media now bought off, only the Taxpayers’ Union can fight this.

As a former broadcaster,  I have seen the impact of the Taxpayers’ Union campaigns and I know you have too. The Stop Three Waters effort exposed what Nanaia Mahuta is trying to do. The Road Show tour. The 100,000+ petition. The hundreds of road signs. The TV ads. The record-breaking submission numbers. The recent election campaign effort that saw hundreds of councillors committed to Stopping Three Waters elected.

Jordan has assured me, and the whole Board, that contingent on your support, the team can do it again.

The Stop Three Waters campaign gave opposition MPs and people such as the new Auckland Mayor the confidence to come out swinging against this Government’s radical agenda. To stop these new proposals, we need to do that once again and make these proposals as unpopular as Three Waters. But we can only do this with your support.

12 months ago, no one knew much about Three Waters. But now it’s a thorn in the side of Jacinda Ardern. That wasn’t by chance. 

Our ability to expose and hold the Government to account – and ensure Kiwis know what is going on in Wellington – depends on the support from our supporters like you.

We have to stop this now, It will be very difficult for National to undo the damage.

We mustn’t forget the National Party are responsible for putting us on this path. It was John Key who allowed a river to become a person, and for huge swathes of the conservation estate to become ‘co-governed’.

In a democracy, we all need to be able hold decision makers to account through fair, free and frequent elections with equal suffrage. And when those spending our tax dollars get it wrong, we – the voters – must have the power to remove them. 

It’s really that simple.

By allowing unelected individuals or groups to make decisions in the council chamber, those in power are accountable to no one but themselves. 

In order to protect our democracy, these reforms must be stopped in their tracks. 

>>> Donate NOW to The Democracy Defence Fund <<<

Thank you for continuing to stand with the Taxpayers’ Union and defend accountability and democracy.

Peter Williams

Board Member

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

ps. Unless we ramp up the effort and do the job the media won’t do, New Zealanders won’t know what is being done in their name until it is too late. That’s why I’m asking for you to join me in supporting the Taxpayers’ Union right now.

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