Ōpōtiki Mayor voices concern over Three Waters announcement
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, added her voice to other councils around the country concerned at the “bulldozer tactics” as government announced its intention to continue largely unchanged in their approach to Three Waters reforms.
Ōpōtiki is a member of Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mō te Manapori, the group formed from 32 councils around the country calling for a shared and thoughtful approach to three waters reform.
“We agree that change and reform are necessary to ensure safe and environmentally sound three waters systems throughout the country. But that needs to be done thoughtfully and in partnership with communities, not forced through and totally without bi-partisan support.
“We need change to be long-lasting and based on careful analysis, informed assumptions and the buy-in of stakeholders and communities.
“Pushing through this legislation with nothing more than minor tweaks will see assets paid for by generations of ratepayers striped away with no promise of achieving the benefits we are all seeking.
“We’ll see local voice watered down or completely lost in a new bureaucratic three-tiered entity that of course will have very different priorities to a small town in the eastern Bay of Plenty. How will Ōpōtiki ensure their voice is heard and our issues prioritised? If there is ‘one share per 50,000 people’, what hope does a small town of less than 6000 people have of getting their issues and concerns lifted to the top of a very long queue?
“We could not be more disappointed that the Government has rejected an opportunity to reach a bi-partisan agreement that would deliver what they wanted, electing to press on with their reform regardless.
“While we’re disappointed in this initial version of the legislation, we’re committed to continuing to work hard to get a better model in place that works for everyone.
“You can also add your voice to ours and get in touch with your local MP. Let them know what you think about this plan and what you think it means for you and for local democracy. You’ll also be able to have your say as the bill goes through the select committee process,” Mayor Riesterer said.
For more information about Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mo te Manapori and its framework for better three waters reform that everyone can support, visit https://www.communities4localdemocracy.co.nz/ideas.