Eastern Bay Mayors present to select committee on Three Waters
Earlier this week, Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, joined mayors from around Aotearoa to present to the Finance and Expenditure committee.
The mayors were part of Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mō te Manapori, the campaign representing nearly half of all local authorities in New Zealand asking that the government pause current reform plans to allow time to find a way forward with broader support from councils and their communities.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that it was an opportunity to voice opposition to the current timing and nature of the government’s reform, but also to put an alternative on the table.
“We have deep concerns with the nature of these reforms and the speed with which they are being rushed through, in spite of really very strong opposition.
“Here in Wellington, we sent the clearest message we could as the voice of current ratepayers, but also past generations who helped build these assets and future generations that will inherit a system that is likely to end up being a millstone around their neck.
“We are running out of time and ways to fix this reform and the Select Committee was one of our last opportunities to make sure they heard our voices,” Mayor Riesterer said.
Mayor Riesterer also presented the Ōpōtiki District Council’s submission to the Select Committee on Wednesday, stressing that Ōpōtiki was the only Council in New Zealand where iwi in the District co-signed and supported council’s opposition to the Three Waters Reform.
She also questioned whether the reform proposals had adequately considered the unintended consequences the reforms would have on small councils in particular, advising the committee members that they “could be creating more problems than you believe you will solve”.
If the Water Services Entities bill is passed, the entities will be established, and will commence delivery of services on 1 July 2024.