“Prime Minister Chris Hipkins can’t claim that Three Waters was a good policy that wasn’t fair on Nanaia Mahuta, either the policy itself was a dog all along or Mahuta screwed it up,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Hipkins told The Hui that he left Nanaia Mahuta “defending the Three Waters reform program and the co-governance debate by herself for longer than we should have". He also said that opponents to the policy simply “don’t understand” and are engaged in “dog whistle racism”.

“Either the policy was rubbish and Mahuta was given the poisoned chalice of fronting bad policy, or Mahuta did a bad job of it. Either way Three Waters needs to go.

“No matter what mental acrobatics the Government engages in, taking control of water assets away from councils is wrong. Moving water assets from one government body to another is a recipe for more bureaucracy and less local input.

“The worst aspect of the reforms is divisive co-government. It's totally inappropriate to give iwi a seat at the table just because of who their ancestors were. All New Zealanders want clean and safe water, not just iwi.

“Labour has wasted millions on taxpayer-funded propaganda ad campaigns and they’ve tried to bribe councils to get them on board. When none of this worked, Labour arrogantly pushed ahead anyway.

“Councils fundamentally don’t have the funds for three waters. That is why Labour’s reforms won’t work. They are promising the same ratepayers, with the same pipes, will solve the same problems. That doesn’t add up, there needs to be another factor introduced.

“That factor is revenue sharing from central government. ACT has campaigned for years on sharing half the GST collected on construction activity in a region with the local council. ACT's Housing Spokesperson and Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden’s Member's Bill would require the government to share half the revenue collected on construction in a region with the local council.

ACT’s Water Infrastructure Plan would:

  • Provide for councils to enter voluntary “shared services” agreements, gaining the benefits of scale, while retaining local ownership and control
  • Establish long term 30-year Central Government-Local Government Partnership agreements to plan water infrastructure upgrades tailored to specific regions
  • Establish a Public-Private Partnerships to attract investment from financial entities such as KiwiSaver funds, ACC, iwi investment funds, etc
  • Expand the exemption from domestic supply for a single dwelling to also include all small water suppliers supplying fewer than 30 endpoint users

“We can improve the current system, but we don’t need to do so through state-mandated centralisation and allowing some people to have more influence than others based on their ethnicity.

“ACT’s plan will better balance community control of water assets alongside a plan for levelling up the necessary infrastructure to ensure safety and efficient water allocation.”

Press Contact

[email protected]