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Kiwis Should Demand The Debate On Three Waters

New Zealanders should demand the debate on Labour’s Three Waters plans which amount to stealing local water assets and stripping control from communities, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins and National’s Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon say.

“The Government’s Three Waters plans are nothing short of a brazen asset grab,” Ms Collins says.

“Right now, Kiwis’ drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services are controlled by their elected councils. Ratepayers have paid over decades to own their water assets.

“Labour’s plan would bundle these assets into regional mega-entities and put community control at arm’s length.

“The new entities would be ivory towers spread over hundreds of kilometres, made up of a complex smorgasbord of appointees and bureaucrats.

“Councils would have unclear ownership rights and token representation in appointing decision makers. Water services would be less accessible and accountable to their customers.

“On top of that, the touted scale benefits are unrealistic, and communities with good water services will end up subsidising their poorer-performing neighbours,” Ms Collins says.

Mr Luxon says Councils have been given until 1 October to provide feedback to the Government.

“A majority of councils don’t support the reforms and many have called for a pause.

“Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has completely ignored their pleas and has now ruled out halting the reforms. It’s clear the Government will do whatever it takes to forge ahead with their plans.

“It’s now inevitable that the Three Waters Reforms will be forced on councils, and communities will be compelled to surrender their water assets.

“National wholly supports smart solutions to tackle our long-term infrastructure challenges, but Labour’s plan is anything but a smart solution – it is a total takeover of community assets, and it must be abandoned.

“National will keep local assets in local control, and we will protect community decision-making. We can’t afford to lose the ‘local’ from local government.

“New Zealanders deserve a say in their country’s future and together we must demand the debate,” Mr Luxon says.

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