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THREE WATERS / C4LD : Government Needs To Pause, Seek Mandate For Three Waters

The Government needs to pause and seek an electoral mandate for its controversial water reforms, say mayors.

Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mō te Manapori chairs Mayors Helen Worboys and Dan Gordon spoke in opposition to the Government’s Water Services Entities Amendment bill at today’s Governance and Administration Select Committee hearing.

Mayor Worboys said that the members of the group supported the need for three waters reform, but continued to be united in their opposition to the government’s model, which ultimately takes community assets without compensation and removes local decision making.

“The Bill should not proceed at this time as there is no electoral mandate for this reform proposal. With less than 100 days until the general election, it’s now appropriate that this matter is paused,” she said.

“If the current government is re-elected in October it would be able to quickly progress the remaining bill to progress their preferred option, with the support of a clear electoral mandate.

“If there is a change in Government, it would not have to waste time in repealing legislation passed before the election.

“For the benefit of the country, the councils and their communities we’re asking the Select Committee to recommend a pause in this reform.”

The submission said that the group recognised that there had been some change, but it didn’t go far enough address the matters of concern to councils and their communities

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“The law still sees the removal of assets and the control that ownership confers on them,” said Worboys.

“The recent ruling of the High Court confirmed that the Government’s proposals amount to expropriation of council property which would result in substantial loss of control.

“We’re not opposed to change, but we are opposed to the way that this has been done.

“For councils and communities, the loss of ownership and effective control is at the crux of the issue. We have developed a 10 point proposal for reform that would achieve majority support, while still respect fundamental community property rights.

“There could have been cross party support on this reform, at which no attempt has really ever been made.

“We genuinely want a reform that works for all. We don’t support this bill and ask for it not to proceed further pending the outcome of the general election.”

The final submission to the Governance and Administration Committee can be downloaded here: https://www.communities4localdemocracy.co.nz/s/C4LD-Final-Submission-on-the-Water-Services-Entities-Amendment-Bill-2023.pdf

Video of the select committee appearance can be found here (from 37 mins in): https://www.facebook.com/GASCNZ/videos/642560851262173ENDS

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