Almost 25,000 people have signed a petition opposing the Government’s “Three Waters” plan to reform the management of New Zealand’s drinking water, waste water, and stormwater.
The petition was launched by the National Party and drew that many signatures in just over two days, says Botany MP and the party’s local government spokesperson Christopher Luxon.
“Kiwis are making it clear they don’t support Labour’s centralisation and control agenda,” he says.
“The Government’s model … would strop control from communities and erode local democracy, putting ratepayer accountability at arm’s length.
“The significant and immediate response to our petition shows New Zealanders won’t accept the brazen theft of water assets they’ve paid for decades to own.”
Luxon says every New Zealander deserves clean, safe water, but Labour’s “deeply flawed entity model is not the way to get there”.
“The Government looks set to ram through their plan at any cost, including making the reforms compulsory for councils, if that’s what it takes.
“National is calling on all Kiwis to sign and share our petition, demand the debate on Three Waters, and tell the Government they can’t force their asset grab on New Zealand.”
In July Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced a $2.5 billion package to support local government transition through the Three Waters reforms.
“New Zealand’s water systems are facing a significant crisis and will continue to do so without major transformation,” Ardern said.
“Overhauling our drinking, waste and stormwater services will benefit all New Zealand communities, no matter where they are in the country.”
Mahuta said central and local government had very similar goals and it was important they approached these challenges together.
“New Zealand’s water system is one of the country’s most significant infrastructure sectors, touching every aspect of our lives.
“Our communities will need to invest between $120-185 billion over the next 30 years to maintain, replace and upgrade ageing assets and to provide for growth
“The water reforms have provided an opportunity for Government and local councils to work together to ensure the reforms are fit for purpose.”
The Government says the reforms will grow New Zealand’s GDP by $14 billion to $23 billion over the next 30 years and create an estimated 6000 to 9000 jobs.