By Robyn Bristow
Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon says he’s “exceptionally” disappointed the Government has forced the Three Waters Reform proposal on communities without adequately taking on feedback.
This morning the Government announced they would legislate to enable the proposal to transfer control of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure from 67 councils nationwide to four large independent entities.
During the announcement the Government did concede further work would be undertaken with local government to ensure there is adequate governance, representation and accountability of these organisations to the communities they serve.
Despite this Mr Gordon remains exceptionally disappointed with the forced decision.
“This is especially so as all councils entered into this reform process on the understanding that this was a choice,” he says.
“Our analysis showed the argument for change for our community from the Government is flawed, and I am upset and extremely concerned that this proposal is being forced on us.
“We received a very clear message that 95 percent of respondents to our community survey told the council that they wanted us to retain local decision making, control and influence of our assets.”
Mr Gordon says the council had approached the review of Three Waters in good faith and hoped the Government would show similar good faith, respecting the decision of the majority of councils to opt-out of the reform.
“We hoped they would at least press pause to allow more time to fully consider the proposal based on the feedback from local government.
Throughout the process the council always maintained that quality drinking water and better environmental outcomes are essential and we were open to change. Where we disagreed was with the fixed view on the solution. Our residents also didn’t support this fixed view and will be angry to hear this is being forced on them.
“The Government today has made a decision to take these essential assets away from our communities without honouring their ability to choose, and with it being unclear how they will continue to have a voice.
“The council will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of our residents to ensure our community continues to have a say in water provision in our District.
“The councillors and myself will be meeting tomorrow to understand the implications of the Government’s decision and our next steps, ” Mr Gordon says.