“Labour has resorted to bribing councils and ratepayers to get its deeply unpopular Three Waters policy over the line”, says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“With a majority of councils refusing to take part in the Government’s Three Waters reforms, $2 billion in taxpayers’ money is now being doled out to sweeten the deal.

“When people are squeezed from every direction, Labour is using taxes to bribe councils and ratepayers.

“If this was really about Three Waters, the money would be earmarked for water infrastructure upgrades. Instead, it can be used for anything councils like.

“The Government has run a campaign against local government using public money to fund a television advertising campaign showing sewage coming out of shower heads and was surprised that councils lost all faith in the consultation process. Now they’re trying to turn the tide by bribing them with money straight from the taxpayer.

“It is critical that New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water and high-quality infrastructure for storm and wastewater. Currently the system is not up to scratch but Three Waters is not the answer.

“Simply shifting water assets from one government body to another is a recipe for more bureaucracy and less local input, not an enduring solution to upgrade water infrastructure in New Zealand.”

ACT’s Water Infrastructure Plan would:

  • Provide for councils to enter into 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 (through our proposed Nation Building Agency) 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 sup plying fewer than 30 endpoint users.