National supports water consent being added to Covid-19 Bill

National supports the Auckland Mayor’s calls for Watercare’s Waikato River water take consent to be included in the Covid-19 Recovery Bill, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Nikki Kaye says.

Watercare lodged consent for this project seven years ago, but it is still 106th in the queue.

“If limitations on water use continue over the coming months, it is estimated up to 14,000 jobs could be affected. Auckland needs access to water to make sure we can deal with the economic crisis that the country is facing.

“Auckland is experiencing a 1-in-200 year drought at the moment and needs water urgently.

“This is the last thing we need as we enter a recession. We must be providing work for as many New Zealanders as possible to rebuild our economy from Covid-19.

“Both Auckland Council and Watercare have given assurances that the environmental effects of drawing more water will be minimised and they are willing to contribute more to preserve the quality of the river.

“Waikato local authorities and iwi will also need to be represented on the hearing panel. It is important Waikato’s voice is heard. 

“We understand the need to potentially consider that this consent is time limited. It is important that regions like the Waikato have access to investment and support, which be reflected in policies that we release prior to the election.

“National understands that water infrastructure is essential, alongside RMA reform, to prevent drought situations occurring.

“Strategic infrastructure like this will play a huge role in rebuilding our economy and creating more jobs. This needs to be included on the Covid-19 Recovery Bill.”