“New evidence has emerged that the Government sought to bribe councils to accept its Three Waters reforms”, says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“Treasury documents revealed on Newshub tonight show the agency viewed the Government’s $2 billion ‘Better Off’ fund as a means to ‘increase local authority goodwill towards the reforms and reduce political barriers’.

“In other countries, that’s called a bribe.

“Treasury also pointed out there was no evidence or analysis as to the funding’s value for money.

“In short, Labour has resorted to bribing councils and ratepayers to get its deeply unpopular Three Waters policy over the line.

“With a majority of councils refusing to take part in the Government’s Three Waters reforms, $2 billion in taxpayers’ money was 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.

“Any government ACT is a part of will repeal Three Waters.”

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