Nanaia Mahuta and the disturbing case of nepotism, conflict of interest and its implications for New Zealand.

This article is very relevant now that the Three Waters legislation is before parliament. In this article, I will refer to some of the inherent and disturbing issues embedded in this legislation, relevant to this piece.

In recent weeks, information has been released on how Nanaia Mahuta and her Iwi are slowly manipulating the New Zealand political landscape.  Mainstream media have not discussed this, and not even blog sites or the Platform have put it in brutal terms, that Nanaia Mahuta and her Iwi are in the process of a land grab.

The Platform has rightly focused on Mahuta’s nepotism and blatant conflicts of interest over the last five years. However, this goes further than nepotism and conflicts of interest. Potentially, Mahuta and her Iwi have been planning a system change for more than decade. Three Waters and He Puapua did not happen yesterday, or even in the last few years. We need to study the timelines and join the dots to understand how Mahuta’s Iwi have been constructing the attack on our democracy.

Over the last two years, we have heard much about co-governance, a lot of which is now embedded into our system and cannot be changed. What Mahuta and her Iwi are doing, is using the call for co-governance as a smoke screen to initiate a land grab, i.e., our water resources and infrastructure, and changes to the political landscape, via He Puapua, where democracy and one person, one vote, will be undermined. It is an orchestrated attack on our very way of life. To Mahuta’s Iwi, this is about power, control of resources, and money.

Nanaia Mahuta has been in parliament for 26 years. Her sister, Tipa Mahuta, has been a powerful figure in local government since 2004 when she was elected to the Waikato Regional Council. Once Labour came to power in 2017, the Mahuta’s could utilise their collective positions to construct their own narrative. The Platform, for example, has focussed on the conflicts of interest and nepotism that has centred around the creation of the Three Waters legislation and He Puapua. There is also a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. How do these two disturbing issues relate to a deeper, more disturbing issue, a constitutional change to the very fabric of our society that will effectively benefit only a few? (Refer Chris Trotter’s article below in footnotes).

He Puapua was commissioned, secretly developed by Mahuta, and presented to Labour in 2019, without the knowledge of the coalition party, New Zealand First. Mahuta’s husband and first cousin, William Ormsby, advises on regulatory functions pertaining to Māori. Two of Mahuta’s family, Tamoko Ormsby and Waimirangi Ormsby (also directors of William Ormsby’s Ka Awatea Services Ltd), are co-authors of He Puapua. Thus, Mahuta has both a conflict of interest as Minister and a bad case of nepotism in developing He Puapua. She also has a major influence on its construction and potential implementation. The Prime Minister has stated that He Puapua is not being implemented nor is it government policy. Yet we have already seen the creation of a separate Māori Health Authority, a cornerstone of He Puapua.  Now, Three Waters is being introduced to parliament, another cornerstone of He Puapua.

Before discussing Three Waters, we need to understand the significance He Puapua will/is having on our country. He Puapua is the political statement of Nanaia Mahuta and her Iwi. It is through He Puapua, that they will have political control with a refocus of Māori self-determination. Self-determination ranges from full independence to participation, and somewhere in between is self-governance. This is not a document about co-governance, it is about power and creating a separate Māori state within a state, and potential control over the rest of New Zealanders.

In relation to Three Waters, He Puapua openly states the return of crown land and waters to Māori ownership. “Māori may have customary interests in some of the water that forms part of the three waters, but not the infrastructure itself, all of which was created after 6 February 1840” (Taxpayers Union). Standing behind the Three Water reform is Tipa Mahuta, potentially the impetus of this legislation. She is co-chair of the Māori Advisory group, part of Three Waters. She is also co-chair of the Waikato River Authority, co-chair of the Māori Health Authority (ahem!), a member of the Waikato Regional Council; and a member of Te Mahuta subcommittee of LGNZ, which advises on local government policies and legislation.

It is interesting that Nanaia Mahuta has refused to look at any alternatives. She claimed they have, but none stood up to the legislation now being presented. This is very convenient considering some of the facts behind this legislation that will determine Māori control of water resources and infrastructure. “The Government wants to set up four new water services entities across the country, each controlled by a board. Board members are appointed by a four-person Independent Selection Panel. Members of the panel are appointed by a Regional Representative Group (RRG), which is made of 12 members: six people to represent all local authorities in their region and six to represent mana whenua in the region.

“The Regional Representative Group can only make decisions with a 75% majority vote. This is a deliberate decision to ensure mana whenua have a controlling vote.

“The selection panel will need to consider the individual and collective board expertise in matauranga Māori, tikanga Māori, kaitiakitanga and te ao Māori with respect to Three Waters” (Taxpayers Union).

Effectively, this could mean that water resources may eventually fall into the control of Māori. In fact, the Three Waters legislation maybe in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, regardless of what Nanaia Mahuta says. Consequently, this legislation will be challenged in court. However, if the court case fails, then potentially control of billions of dollars of assets and 50% of water rates could flow to Māori. The losers in all of this will be regional councils and communities that initially paid for the assets and minor Iwi who will also be victims of this legislation.

What is also distributing, as raised by Graham Adams, (and the Taxpayers Union), is this could all be in breach of the Cabinet Manual, notably sections 2.65, 2.66 and 2.67, which relate to “Interests of Family, Whanau, and Close Family”. Grant Robinson accused Judith Collins of this, who was forced to stand down by John Key after these allegations were made. Yet, Labour, and worse still, neither National nor Act have raised this issue publicly. In essence, Labour and to some degree, National and Act have been culpable in allowing this to happen. It goes some way to highlight how powerful Mahuta is within the Labour party, let alone within Maoridom. It sets a very dangerous precedent and effectively undermines the very principles of democracy, the rule of law, and one person, one vote on several levels.


I have also discovered further readings on this matter. They have come from both the right and left of the political spectrum. I list them below.

From the Left

This is a good read.

I am not a fan of Martin Bradbury, but he does raise some good points about the bias in the media and it is quite disturbing.

From the Right

This article covers much of what I have said above but is still a good read. He does not go as far as my assertion that the Mahuta’s are doing this for personal gain.

This article provides more disturbing background on the control both Māori and Tipa Mahuta will have over the governance of Three Waters. Equally disturbing is the revelation mainstream media (MSM) refusal to cover this story.

From the Democracy Project via The Platform

This article provides a lot more detail on who is actually behind providing technical support for Three Waters and conflicts of interest in terms of any potential reviews. Also covered in this article, is the legal background to He Puapua and further issues of conflicts of interest. To ensure I have no conflict of interest on these matters, I disclose that some people mentioned in this article were once clients of mine.

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