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More Changes Needed To Improve Three Waters Reform Proposal, Goff Says

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has welcomed changes to the government’s proposed three waters reform but says the model still doesn’t stack up for Aucklanders.

This morning the government announced that it will incorporate almost all the 47 recommendations made by the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability.

The Working Group, comprised of representatives from local government and iwi, was convened to consider feedback and make recommendations about the governance, representation, and accountability arrangements in the government’s reform proposals.

Mayor Phil Goff, who sat on the Working Group and issued a minority report outlining an alternative view to the wider membership, says, “We welcome the government’s decision to adopt most of the Working Group’s recommendations, however, even with the changes, the proposed structure does not reflect the unique position of Auckland, which has already amalgamated.

“Auckland contributes 93 per cent of the assets and 90 per cent of the population served by the proposed new water entity. However, Aucklanders, through their elected representatives, will only have a minority position in the governance of this entity.

“Aucklanders have overwhelmingly told us through consultation feedback, surveys and polling that they want control over water services to remain with them through their elected representatives.

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“We acknowledge that many Councils have been unable or unwilling to invest sufficiently in water infrastructure, leading to poor outcomes, however this is not the case in Auckland.

“Auckland has invested strongly in water infrastructure, allocating a record $11 billion in its latest 10-year Budget. We meter water usage, have strong drinking water standards, and have achieved one of the lowest levels per capita water consumption in New Zealand.

“Despite this, under the proposed reform model, Auckland is penalised by losing control and accountability over our services because of the shortcomings of some other local authorities.

“Aucklanders should retain control over the governance of their own assets through their elected representatives,” Mayor Goff says.

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