National IS Labour!

Below is Nats ‘supposedly’ standing up for you & me and yet, supporting the very essence of three waters reforms-setting up of a new crown entity to tackle water standards., as per the ‘Sustainable development goals 2030 guidelines’.

This regulator will be the death knell of any industry – agriculture, construction, transportation because you know what’s coming next right? Unworkable water standards…💦💦

#bekindbeblind

2. We fully support Taumata Arowai, the new water regulator. New Zealand has never had a body to both set and – importantly – enforce drinking water standards. We believe this will be a game-changer and a very important organisation going forward.

3. We believe there are a range of options and actions available when councils fall short of the standards Taumata Arowai sets, such as:– Co-investment and joint funding partnerships between central government and local councils to fix specific water infrastructure challenges.

May be an image of outdoors and text that says "Drinking water Wastewater Stormwater"

An open letter to New Zealand Mayors from National Party Spokesperson for Local Government, Christopher Luxon.

Dear Mayors, Three Waters Reforms: National’s position on the water entity model. I am writing to set out the position National is taking on the Three Waters Reforms and the reasons we do not support the proposed model of four water entities, in light of developments since I last wrote to you on 12 July and spoke at the LGNZ Conference on 16 July. It is clear that only a small number of your councils have explicitly supported the proposals, while the vast majority of you remain either opposed or uncommitted. National supports the calls many of you have made for the Government to halt the process, in order for you to have the opportunity to digest the detail of the proposals and properly consult your communities. We believe the Government’s consultation timeframe is poor and unreasonable, particularly in light of the missing detail and information that several of your councils are still requesting. National opposes the water entities model for several key reasons:

-We believe the touted scale benefits as well as the financial assumptions and cost savings are unclear and have not been properly explained.-We are concerned that ratepayers will end up cross-subsidising neighbouring communities.-Our greatest concern is that the entity model will in effect be a power grab that will remove local control from communities. We are concerned by the convoluted structure of the proposed water entities and the distance this structure will create between decision- makers and the ratepayers to whom they are accountable. We fail to see how accessibility, accountability and democracy will be enhanced by the addition of several layers of representation, governance and management in the new model. We view the entity model as reflecting a continuation of the Labour Government’s desire for greater centralisation and a shift of decision-making away from communities.

National’s approach:

1. We do agree with the Government that there are some improvements needed in our water management, but the problems are not uniform across the country – some councils manage their water services extremely well. A one-size-fits-all solution is therefore inherently unfair. For example, while the Government has estimated a $185 billion cost over the next 30 years, after the Havelock North water contamination, the Hastings district spent only around $80 million to upgrade its water infrastructure.

2. We fully support Taumata Arowai, the new water regulator. New Zealand has never had a body to both set and – importantly – enforce drinking water standards. We believe this will be a game-changer and a very important organisation going forward.

3. We believe there are a range of options and actions available when councils fall short of the standards Taumata Arowai sets, such as:– Co-investment and joint funding partnerships between central government and local councils to fix specific water infrastructure challenges. This could be through the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank as National proposed at the 2020 election, or as happens today through well-established funding mechanisms for transport projects, for example.– Some councils may choose to collaborate with other neighbouring councils to pool their water management resources and capabilities, and others (as they already do today) may contract high-performing councils with good water management practice to manage their assets for them.

I hope this letter provides you with a good understanding of why National is opposing the Three Waters Reforms. I am always happy to have a discussion with you about our position on the reforms or any other matters relating to my role as National’s Local Government spokesperson, so please feel welcome to contact me at any time.

Yours faithfully Christopher Luxon

National Party Spokesperson for Local Government

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