Mayor responds to proposed changes to Three Waters reform

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By NPDC Mayor Neil Holdom

The Minister of Local Government has moved to the middle and the regional approach proposed is a significant improvement over the four mega entities.


A Taranaki regional water entity is something the Taranaki Mayoral Forum has advocated for in the past and would be governed by our people, focused on our people and our water networks and is far closer to the ideal outcome than the previous model.


Taranaki’s councils are committed to working with Mana Whenua and can make co-governance work well for everyone in Taranaki.


NPDC has been working closely with Mana Whenua in developing our infrastructure plans over the past six years and the results have benefited everyone.


It is disappointing the Government is still not prepared to provide a Crown Guarantee for these water entities. A guarantee would allow the entities to borrow at lower cost which would deliver significant cost savings for the people we serve over the long term, and we will continue to advocate for Government backing.


We have raised the issue of the high cost of compliance of the current model and recommended that it be simplified.


With Taumata Arowai keeping an eye on quality and safety and the Commerce Commission regulating investment and price, the rest of the bureaucratic red tape written into the regulation could be binned as it will not help keep the crap out of the rivers or guarantee the quality of our drinking water.


It’s clear National and Labour are now very close in their positions on water reform and there is an opportunity for both parties to come together to reach a shared agreement which will work for all New Zealanders and solve this before the election.


Kiwis are over the uncertainty.


Council workers, who just want certainty and to improve our water network performance, are tired of being a political football.


It would be good if the people we pay in Wellington to make the big calls could have a grown-up discussion and put the needs of their people first.


We will be working to see if we can get the major parties to close the gap on what are now quite small differences.