Thirty of the nation’s 67 water provider councils are now united in opposition to the Government’s Three Waters Reform.
Waipā District Council Mayor, Jim Mylchreest (pictured) said the action group Communities 4 Local Democracy now represented more than 1.6 million people throughout the country.
He said the group was working towards ways to address issues identified in the Governments proposed model for the delivery of waters services; in particular local responsiveness and accountability, public ownership, and meaningful Mana Whenua involvement which are areas seen as high risk in the proposed four-entity model.
“We know there are areas in New Zealand that need help with funding and with putting more focus on water services. But here in Waipā we have very good infrastructure, we have invested well and we want a chance to retain community ownership of our assets,” Mayor Mylchreest said.
“Other options need to be looked at, where we don’t lose control of our assets. We need to look at how we can achieve that without this major upheaval throughout the country.”
Under the proposed reforms, councils across New Zealand will have their waters assets divided between four entities. Waipā will be part of Entity B, made up of 22 councils across the central North Island. Under Entity B, it wasn’t guaranteed Waipā would have a seat at the board table, leaving the district with no voice, the Mayor said.
He raised concerns about the validity of the new entities to be set up by the Government should the water reforms fail.
“What happens if it doesn’t work? That creates another challenge to undo what has been done. We don’t need a mess like that. People across the Waipā District need to know that we are still standing firm on our stance to oppose these reforms. We also want true community consultation to be undertaken – our community needs to have its voice heard,” he said.
“We work for our community and we need to make sure our community gets the best deal possible. In its present state, the model put forward for Three Waters Reform isn’t it.”