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Govt Spreading Three Waters Misinformation

“Labour lost the argument on Three Waters, so they resorted to spreading misinformation about rates increases in a cynical attempt to garner some support,” says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“Both Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have rolled out the scare tactic that rates will increase by seven per cent if Three Waters isn’t enacted. These figures have been found to be inaccurate and they should apologise for misleading New Zealanders.

“Minister Mahuta claims the figure came to her from Watercare and Auckland Council’s Long-Term Plan, but the Auckland Mayor’s office says “Watercare has advised Mayor Brown, in writing, it has not provided any advice to central government regarding price rises in the event the current proposal does not go ahead, and nor is there any such claim in Auckland Council's Long-Term Plan,”

Councils and ratepayers have rejected Three Waters and Labour’s centralisation agenda. The Government should have accepted that it wouldn’t work instead of resorting to misinformation to make it more palatable.

“The Prime Minister has tried to create a global image of herself as a champion for combatting misinformation, but she is less concerned when it is politically advantageous to her.

“The government has failed to listen to anyone in any substantial way. The only good news is these reforms have a life expectancy identical to the current government. Under ACT, they will be gone.

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“Instead of just taking assets, ACT has an alternative Water Infrastructure Plan. We have received detailed feedback from Mayors, many of whom support all or some aspects of the plan.

ACT’s Water Infrastructure Plan would:

• Provide for councils to enter voluntary “shared services” agreements, gaining the benefits of scale, while retaining local ownership and control

• Establish long term 30-year Central Government-Local Government Partnership agreements to plan water infrastructure upgrades tailored to specific regions

• Establish a Public-Private Partnership (through our proposed Nation Building Agency) to attract investment from financial entities such as KiwiSaver funds, ACC, iwi investment funds, etc.

• Expand the exemption from domestic supply for a single dwelling to also include all small water suppliers supplying fewer than 30 endpoint users.

“We can improve the current system, but we don’t need to do so through state-mandated centralisation and we don’t need to lie to New Zealanders to make them accept it.

“ACT’s plan will better balance community control of water assets alongside a plan for levelling up the necessary infrastructure to ensure safety and efficient water allocation.

“Unlike Labour, ACT has listened to New Zealanders, and we will repeal Labour’s Three Waters policy.”

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