Three Waters mandate predetermined from the start

Labour’s decision to force the Three Waters asset grab on every council in the country was made back in July, showing that their subsequent “engagement” with councils was a total sham, National’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Watts says.

“A July Cabinet paper quietly uploaded to DIA’s website in November – coincidentally, around the same time National was questioning its whereabouts – has showed that the compulsory, “all-in” legislated approach was agreed to in June, weeks before the four entity model was even announced, and months before the eight week “engagement period” with local government began.

“Councils engaged with the Government on their Three Waters proposals in good faith and with the expectation that their views would be genuinely considered.

“They will be rightfully outraged by the revelation that decisions to strip them of their assets were predetermined months ago.

“National has consistently warned for several months that the Government would pursue the path they have, and that their consultation with councils was a farce.

“The Labour Government has shown incredible contempt towards councils throughout this process. They have tried to disparage them with misleading ads; buy them off with $2.5 billion in funding; and waste an inordinate amount of their time and resources through a pretend engagement process when they had actually decided on their course of action months earlier.

“How can New Zealanders have any trust in the Government when they repeatedly denied in Parliament and in the media that a compulsory, “all-in” approach had been agreed, yet a Cabinet paper has revealed the opposite to be true?

“The Local Government Minister must front up and explain to Kiwis why the legislated, “all-in” approach was predetermined, why she then embarked on a futile engagement process with councils when she had already made up her mind, and how much taxpayer and ratepayer money was wasted along the way as a result.”