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THREE WATERS: Select Committee Restrictions Another Limit On Local Voice

The New Zealand Parliament has significantly limited people’s ability to take part in the only public consultation on Three Waters reform by refusing to accept email submissions.

Instead of enabling people to submit via one of the simplest and most popular methods of communication, the committee will only receive submissions via a web form or through the post.

Chair of Communities 4 Local Democracy He Hapori mō te Manapori and Manawatu District Mayor Helen Worboys says that this lack of flexibility underlines the groups concerns about the lack of local voice in the whole process and she calls on the Government to demand all avenues for feedback are opened.

“The Government has underlined that people would be given the opportunity to have their say through the select committee process, in the process advising councils not to go to their communities for feedback,” she said.

“For many Kiwis, this is the only time in this whole process that they will get the opportunity to provide their opinion on Three Waters Reform.

“However, parliament has removed one of the simplest and most straightforward ways of giving a submission on a topic of vital importance to our communities.

“Similar to the disdain with which they treated Local Government during their consultation process, this shows a Government more interested in getting through the select committee process and pressing on with their plan, rather than seriously considering any feedback.

“Many of our residents are comfortable with the use of email, but aren’t confident enough to go through all the steps of putting their details into a multi-page web form.

“We know that standardising the information collected makes life easier for those collating the feedback, but at the end of the day their job is to facilitate public discourse not put arbitrary limits on it based on their convenience.

“We’re calling on the Government to demand that parliament opens every avenue available for people to have their say on this critical reform.”

The consultation for the Three Waters Services Entities Bill is now open at https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/53SCFE_SCF_BILL_124081/water-services-entities-bill.

Submissions close on Friday 22 July.

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