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Govt Attempting To Gag Councils On Three Waters

A thinly-veiled gag order has been placed on councils in what appears to be an attempt to control what they say to media about Three Waters, National’s Local Government Spokesperson Simon Watts says.

“Councils and communities across the country are overwhelming against Three Waters and have been publicly voicing their opposition to the asset grab plans.

“But instead of listening, the Government is attempting to bribe them with a $2 billion fund to spend however they want – even on projects that have nothing to do with water infrastructure.

“In return for the bribe, councils have been directed that they must not do anything that might damage the reputation of the Government.

“This appears to be a thinly-veiled way of telling councils that they will get more money from the Government to spend on whatever they like, so long as they stop criticising Three Waters.

“Labour simply does not like to be told it’s wrong. It’s not the first time they’ve attempted to prevent criticism or questions being asked about unpopular decisions or their poor performance.

“We’ve seen in recent weeks a number of incidents where Labour has abused its majority, like blocking the Opposition’s request for a briefing on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission’s damning report into the Government’s performance on mental health or preventing National from meeting with the Police Commissioner.

“It’s disturbing to see a government that once claimed it would be the most open and transparent government ever using its power to try to shut down criticism and debate.

“Instead of bribing councils not to speak out against Three Waters, Labour should listen to them and their communities and scrap the plans.”

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