Mayoral column April 2022
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mō te Manapori (C4LD) and our work to emphasise local government objections to the current Three Water Reforms and to highlight the best alternatives that are available.
As I said, the 32 member councils represented in C4LD are not against change, but we strongly oppose forcing through inter-generational reform without more careful thought - working in partnership with Māori and councils to find an enduring solution.
In March, I joined with other Mayors and councillors who, like all the councillors here in Ōpōtiki, want to see other models openly investigated and discussed before we go further.
We agree that change and reform are necessary to ensure safe and environmentally sound three waters systems throughout the country. And we presented our 10 point plan for reform to the Minister for Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta and Department of Internal Affairs officials, as well as Green Party Co-Leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw, and Green MP Eugenie Sage. The group had already presented its models to the National Party and ACT.
We believe that our alternative proposal will allow the Government to deliver on all its aims, create opportunities for strong and lasting partnerships and deliver safe, sustainable and affordable water services for all New Zealand. At the same time, they will also provide for the continuation of local influence and community voice.
Those ten-points start from a basis of local decision making, trusting our communities, trusting our iwi partners, acknowledging inter-generational investment in community assets, giving the process time and allowing the new regulatory authority to take hold before new changes, and independent and transparent funding and subsidy schemes. You can read more on the C4LD proposal at communities4localdemocracy.co.nz. I am also meeting Simon Watts MP, the National Party spokesperson on Three Waters and keeping both local MPs up to date and informed on our concerns.
We believe there is no rush and that we should take the time that such massive decisions deserve.