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“All In” Approach To Three Waters Reform Undermines Sector’s Voice

Kāpiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan is disappointed in the Government’s shotgun decision to push ahead with an "all in" approach to the Three Waters reform despite numerous councils providing robust feedback on the shortfalls of the proposed four water service entity model.

“While we are not opposed to change, we would have liked to have been afforded the opportunity to work more constructively with the Government to achieve good outcomes for our community and NZ Inc.

“Clearly the quiet voice of reason approach we’ve taken to date has not served us well. The Government has totally ignored our feedback and reneged on its promise to engage meaningfully with the sector and our community.

“We can only hope that the working group that is to be established with the local government sector, iwi and water industry experts will address many of the issues raised by councils about representation and accountability.

“Kāpiti has a good track record of delivering quality drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater outcomes for our community and we want to ensure that our community’s needs continue to be prioritised and met in the face of climate change and unprecedented growth.

“We are very concerned that Kāpiti ratepayers will now be forced to prop up those that have failed to act in the best interests of their community,” says Mayor Gurunathan.

“I stand by my earlier comments that this could end in a turd degree burn for ratepayers, bigger isn’t always better and lumping problems together doesn’t automatically fix them.”

In her announcement today Minister Mahuta said the legislation to progress the establishment of the four water service entities would be progressed in December and the Select Committee process would commence in early 2022.

“It’s clear from the timing of this announcement that the Government had already made up its mind before it invited councils around Aotearoa to provide feedback on the proposed model,” Mayor Gurunathan said.

“In the absence of any authentic grass-roots community consultation, we can only hope that the Government will act in good faith and respond appropriately to community feedback received through the Select Committee process.”

The Mayor said the Council would continue to advocate for good three water outcomes on behalf of the Kāpiti Coast community and welcomed further discussion with the sector on how the proposed change would be implemented.

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