Tuesday, June 04, 2024

More democratic abuse from National

"Abuse of democracy" seems to be the emerging theme of this government, with bills rammed through under urgency or given pathetically short select committee submission times seemingly designed to limit and undermine public engagement. And today we have another case, with the public given just nine days to submit on National's Local Government (Water Services Preliminary Arrangements) Bill.

The bill makes significant changes to water regulation. It would force councils to amalgamate their water services and prepare them for privatisation while undermining public consultation rights over such decisions (and allowing the Minister to just appoint someone to impose their preferred outcome by diktat). It would steal Watercare from Auckland. And an amendment paper also being considered would gut water quality standards for wastewater - basically, allowing councils to dump shit in rivers. These are big changes, and they deserve proper consideration and input from the public. But National doesn't want that, so its strapped the chicken and given the bill an arbitrarily short report-back date, precisely to prevent it.

This is how National governs. Over us and without us. They think this country belongs to them, not us; that decisions should be made by a narrow elite of bribed former businessmen, without any input from the people who are affected. Basically, a return to the pre-MMP "elected dictatorship". Luxon is used to that style of government, because he's a corporate manager, and corporations are essentially dictatorships. But a country is not a corporation, any more than it is a household. This is not the style of government kiwis are used to, and its not a style we will accept. And we need to throw Luxon and his gang of dictators out of office at the first opportunity.