Three Waters going ahead despite opposition

Three Waters Reform set to be mandated from July 2024.

Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown has expressed disappointment at government’s announcement today making the proposed Three Waters Reform Programme mandatory from mid-2024.

Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta today announced the proposed programme will become mandatory effective July 1, 2024, creating a new four-entity structure to manage water services across New Zealand.

The announcement came from government following a September deadline for council’s to provide initial feedback on the proposed reform.

Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown

Mr Brown said he, and council, were disappointed at the decision, stating the government’s move to mandate undermines the democratic process that was expected.

‘‘We all agree that quality drinking water and environmental outcomes are a good thing for the country however, it has not been clear to us whether the proposed reforms are the best way to achieve this, and what the advantages are for our district.

‘‘Having worked through the process as instructed, we provided extensive feedback to government, including the overwhelming concerns from our residents.

‘‘Government made it clear that we were not being asked whether to opt-in or out at this stage, rather, how the proposal could be improved.

‘‘We were looking forward to consulting with our community to discuss options of opting in or out once a final revised proposal was made available and our expectation was to share that feedback with government before a final decision was made,’’ he said.

Mr Brown also added council would discuss the ramifications of the announcement at their council meeting on November 3, and looked forward to expressing council’s view on the matter through the legislative process.

The entity proposed for the Ashburton District would cover the Ngāi Tahu takiwa (all of the South Island excluding all or some of Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman).