C4LD: Mayors promise fresh ideas for better water
Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown is looking forward to new three waters reforms, with community involvement, once the new Government repeals the previous reform legislation.
The new reforms are expected to be close to the alternative reforms proposed by Communities 4 Local Democracy, which is a group of 30 councils including Ashburton District.
Mayor Brown said he was looking forward to future three waters discussions and next steps with the new government.
“It looks positive, as all parties in the coalition campaigned on plans that aligned with C4LD ideas and all indicated that they would design a reform with stronger conversations with local communities.
“To get the best outcomes and deliver better and more sustainable water services for everyone, it is important to involve the local communities in these discussions.”
The new Government will immediately stop work on the three waters transition and repeal the Water Services Entities Act within its first 100 days.
C4LD co-chairs Manawatu District Mayor Helen Worboys and Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon said that councils throughout the country are keen to work constructively and in partnership with the new minister of Local Government, Simeon Brown.
“The change in Government is a good opportunity for Wellington to reset its relationship with Local Government and work with us on the three waters reform we need, rather than telling us what reform we are getting,” they said.
“All the parties forming the Government were critical of these reforms, and both National and Act campaigned on the promise that they would repeal the Water Services Entities Act.
“Our member councils are welcoming the commitment by the new Government to ensure these assets remain in local ownership and local control.
“From this point, and equipped with the information that’s been gathered to date from the reform process, councils can take the lead on delivering better water services for their communities and ensuring they are affordable and sustainable in the long term.”
As part of its advocacy work, C4LD developed a detailed alternative plan for reform that would deliver the necessary infrastructure investment while respecting community property rights.
“This work has provided the new government with a solid foundation on which to build a future replacement to the law,” they said.
“It protects community property rights in their water assets, recognises that different areas are in different positions, and it encourages regional collaboration to address these differing needs. This approach ensures that local knowledge of these complex systems is valued.
“That majority of what the coalition partners campaigned on was in line with our thinking on the key issues of strong community support for ownership, influence and effective control staying with councils.
“Our door is always open to work together on a sensible plan that builds consensus and works for everyone.”
Communities 4 Local Democracy has published all its work on future models of water reform. They can be accessed at communities4localdemocracy.co.nz/ideas
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