Ownership still murky under Three Waters plans

The Government still can’t convincingly explain how councils and communities would retain control of their water assets under the Three Waters plans, National’s Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon says.

“Councils have been told they will ‘collectively’ own the new water entities, but the Government cannot specify exactly what proportion of ownership each would have.

“How can not knowing the share of something you own, like a property or a business, possibly be described in any way as ‘ownership’?

“When asked point blank how much of the proposed entity ‘A’ the Auckland Council would own, Grant Robertson could only give a waffling non-answer.

“Minister Robertson also couldn’t explain how the 20-odd councils in one entity would be fairly represented by only six seats on a ‘representative group’.

“National has warned consistently that this would put decision-making at arm’s length from the communities that the new entities are supposed to serve.

“The Government can’t make any credible defence of the ownership or governance aspects of the Three Waters plans.

“This isn’t academic – these are water assets that ratepayers have paid for over decades, and service delivery they rightly expect to be able to hold accountable.

“Under Labour’s four entity model, your council won’t know how much it owns, and you, the ratepayer, won’t know how much influence or control you’ll have.

“National will fight the Three Waters asset grab every step of the way, and the next government we form will unwind the entities and return seized assets to their rightful council owners.”

Note: Except for entity A, each of the proposed water entities would comprise around 20 councils: Entity A – four; Entity B – 22; Entity C – 21; Entity D – 20. Source