National and ACT are currently soaring in the opinion polls on a wave of post covid anger and ‘Māori privilege’ angst, both have promised to scrap 3 Waters if they win a majority in the next election, so what would actually happen if National/ACT see their dog whistle through?
Māoridom were forced into seeking Waitangi Tribunal resolution in 2012 over the issue of Māori water rights because John Key sold 49% of the Hydro water assets alongside taxpayer funded sweeteners. The moment National put a value to water, Māori interests were immediately triggered, and the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that Māori did have water interests and it was up to the State to lay those interests out and protect them.
Labour’s 3 Waters proposal is their attempt at laying those Māori water interests out and protecting them by using the very co-governance model that ACT and National were the original architects of.
To now have ACT and National play the race baiting card over a model they themselves built to solve a privatization of hydro assets they sold is just an audacity beyond words.
So what actually happens if National and ACT scrap 3 Waters? I would imagine Māoridom would immediately go back to the Waitangi Tribunal lodging complaints that the State have once again betrayed their Treaty obligations over water, the Tribunal would be highly likely to rule in Māoridom’s favour and Christopher Luxon will be forced into the Helen Clark position of overruling the Court by passing legislation to seize water off Māori the way Helen did with the Foreshore and Seabed.
That would ignite a terrible and righteous anger within Māoridom.
National and ACT should be very careful in what they wish for.
First published on Waatea News.