“If Chris Hipkins had any respect for Kiwis then this morning’s Three Waters announcement would be that he’s getting rid of it completely. Instead he is unveiling a hollow rebrand that Kiwis won’t fall for,” says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“New Zealanders aren’t stupid. Whatever way Hipkins tries to spin it, whatever he changes the name to, if the policy still expropriates ratepayer assets and divides New Zealanders by ancestry through co-government then Kiwis won’t have a bar of it.

“Labour has wasted millions on taxpayer-funded propaganda ad campaigns and they’ve tried to bribe councils to get them on board. None of this has worked because the policy is fundamentally flawed, a shallow re-brand won’t make a difference either. RNZ reports there are mayors who are already publicly distancing themself from the re-branded regime because it doesn’t fix the problems of local control and co-governance.

“Hipkins has been desperate to differentiate himself from Jacinda Ardern but, by reheating and rebranding co-governance, he’s showing he’s no different.

“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 expropriating ratepayer assets or with co-government.

“ACT has shown that these issues can be addressed by working with local councils. 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.

“All New Zealanders are born equally and everyone should have equal rights.”

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