Minor tweaks expected in Three Waters 'reset'

9:43 pm on 24 March 2023

By David Hill, Local Democracy reporter

Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon

A meeting this week with the Local Government Minister did not go far enough in addressing concerns, Dan Gordon says. Photo: LDR / David Hill

Only minor changes are expected from the government's ''reset'' of Three Waters reform, Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon says.

Gordon attended a meeting at the Beehive on Tuesday with other mayors and Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty to discuss possible changes to the government's proposed reform.

The Communities 4 Local Democracy (C4LD) co-chairperson said it was "a positive meeting", but McAnulty did not address the mayor's concerns.

''We appreciated the chance to be part of the discussion, but it appears only minor changes are being considered.''

The possibility of creating more than the proposed four entities was raised, but it did not go far enough, Gordon said.

''For us it is not simply about the number or size of entities proposed, it has always been about ownership and effective control and influence of our assets.

''It is an issue of basic property rights, which was a point we made clear to the Minister.''

Gordon said there needed to be further movement from the government before a consensus could be achieved with councils and the wider community.

''We renewed our offer to work together with the government to see if we can find consensus.

''It would be ideal if support could be achieved that is cross-party because, if it is rushed, it will simply become a political football and an issue at this year's election.''

Labour MP Kieren McAnulty

Kieran McAnulty Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Gordon and fellow C4LD co-chairperson, Manawatū Mayor Helen Worboys sent a follow up letter to McAnulty and Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to reiterate their position.

McAnulty said the purpose of the meeting was to seek input from the mayors before he presented proposals to Cabinet.

''From my perspective I felt the discussions were productive and informative.

''Local councils were clear on their thoughts on how we move forward together.''

He declined to discuss those conversations publicly as he was still working through the options.

McAnulty said he would now consult with the sector and iwi.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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