Local Government Magazine
Water services reform

Labour’s treaty ‘partnership’ interpretation is ‘feudalism’

“Labour’s push for co-governance of our water assets is another small step towards a ‘Partnership State’ where a small number of New Zealanders have greater rights under the law,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Co-governance should not be the priority; the priority should be fixing the pipes. We have sewage on the streets in Wellington and yet at local and central government level the priority is honouring the ‘Treaty’.

“Nanaia Mahuta’s water reforms will mean mana whenua (Crown-recognised Maori authorities) have equal rights with councils in governing water assets.

“People shouldn’t have a seat at the table just because of who their ancestors were. So many of Labour’s policies are incompatible with liberal democracy. Control of areas as diverse as education, health and water are being converted to co-governance.

“We’re moving towards a ‘Partnership State’, where there’s an equal partnership between 17 percent of the population [based on population census surveys) and the other 83 percent.

“It’s reminiscent of feudalism, or the caste system, where certain groups get the inside running. The Government is reinterpreting the Treaty as a partnership between two collectives where our rights depend on who our grandparents were.

“ACT says the Treaty means all New Zealanders are equal before the law. Labour is setting one group of New Zealanders against another. It must stop exploiting our differences and focus on the common dignity of all New Zealanders.”

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