Ōpōtiki statement on Three Waters Opposition
At an open Council meeting on 16 November 2021, Ōpōtiki District Council agreed to add their name and support to a letter to the Prime Minister expressing disappointment with the Three Waters process to date and requesting a meeting to discuss their concerns.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, was one of 30 signatures from mayors across New Zealand, each expressing concern that the process would be mandatory despite overwhelming opposition from most of the communities that the mayors represent.
“We signed the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding PDF 94KB] with the other councils in order to express our opposition to the Three Waters reforms as they stand without further consultation and engagement with councils and communities.
“When government asked for our feedback earlier this year, officials told us that we did not need to consult with our communities because there would be opportunities for the wider public to have their say at a later date. There was a complete u-turn on this promise and we are glad we took the opportunity to use some of the tiny amount of time available to us to at least get a sense of community feeling on the reforms.
“Community feedback was very clear – the community wants to better understand what this means and wants to protect the assets that have been paid for by many generations before us. It would be unfair to our children and grandchildren if we didn’t very carefully consider the full implications of this for our community.
“We all agree that change is needed and that as a nation we face a particularly complex set of problems with aging infrastructure in some areas and the impacts of climate change already being felt. And we all put the safety and environmental outcomes at the first front of our priorities. But that is no reason to rush through legislation acting against the wishes of communities throughout the country before Christmas. Let’s sort this out thoughtfully, carefully and make sure we get it right. I don’t think that is a lot to ask,” Mayor Riesterer said.
Read more on our Three Waters Reform page.