The Government has decided to push ahead with Three Waters reforms and take control of water services and assets from local councils, despite considerable opposition.
The proposed reform of the country’s three water services – drinking, waste, and storm water – has caused outcry among political opponents and some local councils, which currently have ownership of billions in water assets, have loudly opposed proposed reforms.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Wednesday said the Government would legislate in early December to create four new water entities that would take on the water assets currently owned by councils.
This is the Government announcing it will pass legislation to legally steal billions of dollars of assets from democratically elected Councils.
The Government claims that it is not theft, as the Councils will still own the assets – just not manage them. This is farcical as ownership without control is not ownership. Imagine if you own your house and the Government announces that you will still own your house, but you have to move out and any decisions about who lives in it will be made by some committee, Would you regard that as satisfactory?
The four megawater entities will be as far removed from community influence as possible. Basically the proposal is:
- Residents will vote for Councillors
- Councils and Iwi will appoint a regional representative group on a 50:50 basis.
- The Regional representative group will appoint set up a selection panel
- The selection panel will appoint directors
So the actual water entities will be multiple levels away from the community and accountability. And unelected Iwi will have the same amount of voting power as the democratically elected Councils on the regional representative group. In the South Island Ngai Tahu will appoint six representatives – the same as the 27 local councils.
Also NZTU have launched a dedicated website to stop the theft here.