Communities pay the price for Three Waters agenda

Labour is ignoring the pleas of local communities by pushing forward with its Three Waters reforms, National’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Watts says.

“The first reading debate on the Water Services Entities Bill showed Labour hasn’t listened to the overwhelming opposition to the reforms and has decided their amalgamation agenda is more important than the views of the public.

“Today, I proposed an amendment to the select committee motion to extend the process so that communities across the country could have their voices heard on this legislation. Labour voted it down - a clear message the Government wants to force this through by the end of the year.

“The Government has had opportunity after opportunity to consider alternatives to its reforms and consider the views of local councils. Still, they’ve decided they know best, and communities will pay the price.

“Labour has laid out its true agenda, which is one of a centralised, one-size-fits-all model, with less local voice for our communities. The economic benefits of this model remain unproven, and the alternatives have been ignored.

“This process has been a sham, with no genuine consultations taking place and decisions being made behind closed doors.

“The Labour Government has engaged in a deceptive advertising campaign that blamed local councils for New Zealand’s water quality issues, spending millions of taxpayer dollars on spin and nothing on delivery.

“They’ve spent big, offering $2.5 billion to councils to buy their support, yet they continue to ignore the genuine concerns and take water assets by force.

“Labour may not be listening to New Zealanders but National is, and if elected in 2023, we will repeal and replace Three Waters.”