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The Government's backdown on entrenching that part of the Three Waters legislation was about as well orchestrated as it could have been.
We got the release about 8am yesterday — unusual to be honest — and Chris Hipkins was available to speak to it on ZB just after 9 with Francesca. What a stroke of luck!
That opens the door to the Opposition parties to have their say and I suspect that on a bad day for them, the Government's spin team would have been willing to see it play out in the 6pm telly news.
So how fortuitous that Pharmac's announcement on the drug for Cystic Fibrosis was embargoed till 6pm.
And obviously, given the amount of prep work that had gone into the reports on that, there’d been a couple of days warning at least.
So the Three Waters backdown came in about third or fourth — coincidence?
I don't think anyone emerges covered in glory over this entrenchment. Chris Luxon's belated outrage doesn't really cut the mustard.
His own team should have flagged about the constitutional issues when the paper was slipped into the urgency debate.
They voted against of course, but even National's Paul Goldsmith has admitted he didn't realise the significance of it at the time.
It took a bunch of private citizens — constitutional lawyers and legal academics, to wake us up to what was going on.
- Three Waters backdown: Govt pulls controversial clause
- The Sunday Panel: Government removes entrenchment clause from Three Waters legislation
- Chris Hipkins announces removal of Three Waters entrenchment provision
One of the best things I've read about why Three Waters is so evil was written a couple of years back by Jason Smith — Dr Smith at the time was the Kaipara Mayor.
He was involved in a lot of talks and workshops about it, and his conclusion was that Three Waters is a trojan horse.
Look up that phrase online and you'll find his thoughts.
You'll also see what he makes of another common phrase around Wellington right now "the tyranny of the majority".
Conclusion: Three Waters is a trojan horse for a major shift in the way we run the country.
And the entrenchment idea was a trojan horse, within that trojan horse.
Wait till you see what they want to do with He Puapua.
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