Sunday, September 25, 2022

Stuart Smith: Check Your Candidates’ Three Waters Stance

There is growing public concern with the Government’s Three Waters legislation that will take council drinking, storm and wastewater assets and place them in a convoluted governance arrangement. The concern has grown to anger as the public realise that the select committee process is a sham, with government members merely going through the motions. Most of the submitters have given up their time to give evidence to the select committee in the hope of their council retaining ownership and control of their Three Waters assets. And yet we now know that the government are already advertising for staff to run the new bureaucracy.

Last Sunday my neighbouring Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey and I hosted four public meetings in North Canterbury with our Local Government (Three Waters) Spokesperson North Shore MP Simon Watts. We had great turnouts, and to say that people are unhappy about the reforms would be an understatement. I have seen concern grow and become anger that the Government would have the gall to take their water assets. They quite rightly fear that when there is a problem with a ruptured water pipe, or blocked storm water drain, that they will call an 0800 number to report the problem to someone who has no local knowledge. Service levels will decline while costs grow.

It has suddenly dawned on the Government that many councils will not willingly sign up for their so-called reform, so they have made it compulsory, which is in effect the nationalisation of council assets.

The questions and discussion were wide-ranging and as members of parliament it is always good to hear from real people about how the change would affect them. There were good suggestions made and perspectives that we had not heard before.

The Government says that communities will have a say in the management of their Three Waters assets, but that is really stretching the truth, as the governing board will be 50-50 split between council representatives and iwi. Given that there are 21 councils in entity C (includes the Top of the South) and 20 in entity D, which covers the rest of the South Island, how can there be any meaningful community input?

That some councillors have caved into the pressure to drop their opposition to Three Waters shows that they lack the courage to lead their community.

I urge you to ask council candidates for their position on Three Waters and if they have the courage to do what is best for their communities.

Stuart Smith is a N Z National Party politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives for the Kaikōura electorate since 2014. This article was first published HERE


Anonymous said...

And never mind the ownership, its the Maori Advisory Group that have the real overarching say so over the whole 3 Waters kit & caboodle. And who might you ask is the Chair of that? Let me see, ahhh... Tipa - the Minister's reputedly very talented sister, who clearly won over Kelvin Davis, the player of that new game (to overcome 'possible issues) called 'let's swap portfolios'.
So nothing to see hear then in terms of nepotism or a conflict going forward? Nah, all in accord with the Cabinet Manual and not even the slightest whiff of an issue - our leader's endorsement essentially says as much.
We are indeed blessed to have a Government that prides itself on being so 'open and honest.'
And look, some more pigs flying South!

Ewout Aarsen said...

Would be good to provide a list all candidates in each area opposed to 3 waters, is such a list available? if so this will be a helpful tool in guiding who to vote for. Have already made the decision to specifically vote for any candidate Stuff tries to do a hit job on, not that I necessarily agree with such view points but people should have the right to have views contrary to those in power.

Robert Arthur said...

Councillors cave in because they are all terrified of the cancellation which now comes with opposing maori. Maori are in a win win position. They will be able to set up charging for water, and if the Nats scrub Three Waters they will get huge severances. In the meantime rich salaries. Co governance 50/50 is maori control as the maori bloc votes as one (despite very soundly based historic animosities) and there is always one "other" who for various reasons, even apart from cancellation considerations, sides with them so they carry the day.

Doug Longmire said...

Here in Palmerston North, where we are lumbered with the mickey mouse STV voting system, I have checked each candidate for their Three Waters opposition, and voted accordingly.
This is - if my votes are actually counted the way that I cast them, and not "transferred" to someone else !!!

Ray S said...

The whole three waters thing is a scam.
Co governence is a scam.
One only needs to look at how the proposed areas are set up.
In both islands the ares are set up on Maori tribal boundaries.

That in its self tells a story of why three waters is being persued.