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Mayors welcome National Party announcement on water reform

Mayors have welcomed today’s announcement of a water reform policy that better protects property rights and local voice.

Communities 4 Local Democracy He hapori mō te Manapori (C4LD) chairs Manawatu Mayor Helen Worboys and Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon have welcomed today’s announcement of the National Party’s policy for water reform by Leader of the Opposition, Christopher Luxon.

“Although we will carry out a more detailed review in conjunction with C4LD members, at first look, National’s policy appears to meet all of our requirements for common sense water infrastructure reform that can gain broad support,” said Worboys

“In particular it retains local ownership and avoids the confiscation of local assets and stripping of local influence at the core of the Government’s present policy.

“As recently as Tuesday, the High Court confirmed that the Government’s policy expropriates, without compensation, community assets. This makes a nonsense of claims that communities will retain ownership of these assets.”

Gordon said that on the face of it, the plan aligns with our position on placing local control and voice back at the centre of community water services, and puts the right measures in place to ensure overall accountability.

“We feel there is sufficient rigour in the proposed regulatory regime, and with Taumata Arowai now in place, to ensure that council water services will meet the needs of their communities and can evolve to meet the challenges of climate change in an affordable manner,” he said.

“At first glance, this seems a sensible and appropriate response to genuine concerns about the state of water infrastructure in New Zealand.

“It recognises that different areas are in different positions and it encourages regional collaboration to address these differing needs. This approach ensures that local knowledge of complex systems is valued, rather than the ‘Wellington knows best’ system being proposed.

“Today’s announcement by the opposition is in line with the strong community support for ownership, influence and effective control staying with their local Council.

“On reform as important as this is it would be ideal for there to be cross-party support, and we are encouraged by the Government’s recent call to take a fresh look at their model.

“Our hope is that party politics can be put aside and we can work together to get a pragmatic, workable solution.

“Our door is always open to work together on a sensible plan that builds consensus and works for everyone.”