Being old I still occasionally scroll through Facebook.
A friend had commented on a post from a group entitled the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR) and so it popped into my timeline.
Intrigue drove me to some basic googling which showed the usual fringe right-wing political fare presented in that clunky 2003 HTML design style – the internet version of green ink.
I could find no research, but there were lots of opinion pieces pointing out dangers like New Zealand’s imminent descent into apartheid, the evils of environmentalists and the usual accusations directed at Jacinda Ardern (she’s a communist stooge) and the complicit media (all bought off).
Here’s the post that appeared in my feed.
For non New Zealanders, Three Waters is the Labour Party’s plans to bring all the separate local water authorities together into three big regional companies. The plans also call for Maori board representation in the governance of these organisations, the main reason NZPR followers are hot under the collar.
The photo appears to show the proposal has become real without even passing through Parliament with a 3 Waters van with a logo presumably about to do some non-democratic water infrastructure-type work.
The comments below the post are a mixture of surprised outrage (they can’t do this) and unsurprised outrage (it’s been secretly set up for years). But no-one questioned the premise.
So I again resorted to google and within 20 seconds discovered that 3 Waters was a local plumbing company and this was just one of their vans out on a job!
One clue was the use of ‘3’ rather than ‘Three’.
The slightly bigger clue was the sheer impossibility of anyone secretly transitioning all of the water infrastructure assets and their thousands of employees to a new and illegal organisation without anyone other than the good people of the NZPR noticing.
The gentleman pictured was therefore probably a plumber not a government agent and he was maybe about to unblock a drain and almost certainly Jacinda Ardern was not even involved.
As you might imagine, I very much enjoyed pointing this out in the comments.
But I was struck by how much effort people will put into finding and engaging with ‘evidence’ that supports their firmly held beliefs and how little effort into research and fact finding.
Or even just applying some common sense.
Sadly for some, conspiracy is the new community.