“Labour believes it has gotten away with stealing local assets, but any Government ACT is a part of will repeal Three Waters”, says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“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 and ratepayers are rejecting Three Waters because central government is barging in and taking control of their assets.

“The current system is not up to scratch, but the Government’s Three Waters reforms are not the answer. 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.

“There are real problems with drinking water quality in some communities, failing wastewater networks and sewage overflows into rivers and onto beaches. None of these problems are solved by trying to force co-government structures on to a future three waters delivery model. Co-government will not fix a single pipe.

“Three Waters is a Treaty settlement shabbily dressed up as infrastructure reform.

“ACT’s alternative Water Infrastructure Plan would allow community control of water assets and improve the necessary infrastructure to ensure safety and efficient water allocation.

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 sup plying 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.”

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Simon Court