“Nanaia Mahuta grossly exaggerated when she said the Government looked at 30 scenarios for Three Waters,” says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“The so-called 30 scenarios were just different groupings and numbers of entities. They didn’t consider alternate governance options like a Watercare model.

“Under questioning in Parliament, the Minister wasn’t able to name a single change that was made because of consultation with councils – probably because there wasn’t any.

“ACT will be campaigning to return stolen property to councils, reversing Three Waters reforms and restoring democracy to New Zealand.

“ACT has proposed an alternative Water Infrastructure Plan. We have received detailed feedback from Mayors, many of whom support all or some aspects of the plan.

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 30-year central government-local government partnership agreements to plan water infrastructure upgrades tailored to specific regions;
• Establish public-private partnerships (through our proposed Nation-Building Agency) to attract investment from financial entities such as KiwiSaver funds, ACC and iwi investment funds;
• Expand the exemption from domestic supply for a single dwelling to also include all small water suppliers supplying fewer than 30 endpoint users.

“There is a case for reform in the way waters assets are managed and funded, but the Government’s proposal misses the mark.

“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.

“Labour’s proposals will harm small private schemes by imposing costly regulation on rural water schemes, holiday home communities, common bore sharing, marae and others.

“We can improve the current system, but we don’t need to do so through state-mandated centralisation.

“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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