Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has shown staggering arrogance towards councils on Q+A this morning on the Government’s Three Waters policy.
Many councils want nothing to do with Three Waters. Whangarei, for instance, has shown the Government’s cost-benefit analysis for its Three Waters policy exaggerates the benefits five times over.
The Minister could not explain why her plan would be five times better, simply insisting that the Government’s work was “peer-reviewed.” She forgot to say that Whangarei’s analysis was a peer review by international economics consultancy Castalia.
Asked if the Government would simply legislate objecting councils into its scheme, the Minister dodged the question. It’s clear the Government intends to bully councils when its hapless attempts at persuasion fails.
If councils do not buy into the Government’s scheme, they don’t get taxpayer subsidies through central Government. In fact, the Government’s proposed Governance model is so complicated and remote from the citizen, Councils would rather refuse taxpayer money than be part of it.
ACT’s solution acknowledges the challenge some, but not all, councils face managing Three Waters. It allows councils to form their own voluntary water co-operatives with neighbours if they choose.
ACT’s solution uses 30-year plans with central Government for each council and region. These partnerships, along with public private partnerships to attract investment capital, would allow councils to reach higher standards for Three Waters, without using dodgy modelling to force an unwieldy Governance structure on unwilling councils.
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