The New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has written to the Minister of Local Government expressing its concern regarding the use of an entrenchment clause in the Water Services Entities Bill – more commonly referred to as the Three Waters regime.
The late inclusion of an entrenchment clause in the Water Services Entities Bill breaches a well-established convention observed by successive Parliaments. Under this convention, entrenchment provisions are reserved for significant constitutional matters outside the scope of general policy debate. The entrenchment clause is undemocratic: it proposes to bind the hands of future governments on a contestable policy position.
The Law Society also believes it is constitutionally inappropriate to introduce an entrenchment clause under urgency by SOP. Legislating by SOP at the Committee of the Whole House stage leaves no room for cross-party dialogue or public consultation.
We strongly urge the Government to recommit the Bill to the Committee of the Whole House before its third reading, and remove the entrenchment provision contained in clause 206AA.
Click here to read the letter from President Frazer Barton to Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta