Monday, March 4, 2024

Marlborough Mayor says water reforms remain ‘political football’

Marlborough District Council Mayor, Nadine Taylor says Three Water reform changes announced today by Local Government Minister, Kieran McAnulty, are only a minor improvement on the previous proposal and fail to solve the key issues of the reform programme.

“Marlborough’s voice will be greater with a three-council Top of the South entity than it would have been with the mega-Entity C stretching all the way up the North Island’s East Coast,” the Mayor said.

“However this latest proposal is not set in stone. The Three Waters reforms will be a political football in the run-up to the elections in October.”

“Which means the uncertainty will continue for a while yet, unfortunately.”

She said while the Government had labelled the new project an “affordable” option, the cost of running 10 smaller water entities across smaller population bases would be higher than the previously proposed four major entities.

“Perhaps that is the price we will have to pay for a greater level of local control,” she said.

Mayor Taylor said she was disappointed the Government had not reviewed the decision to use the Ngai Tahu takiwa boundary in its proposals, meaning South Marlborough’s water assets will remain split from the rest of Marlborough.

“We have consistently said the boundary of the water entities should reflect council boundaries,” she said.

“Marlborough ratepayers have invested heavily in our water infrastructure, particularly in recent years, and our communities feel a very strong sense of ownership of those assets.”

Mayor Taylor said she would be discussing the latest proposal with her Council and would also meet with Nelson Mayor, Nick Smith and Tasman Mayor, Tim King.

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