Western Star Column June 2022

Originally published as a column in the Western Star

The force with which the Government is pushing through its Three Waters reforms is alarming and its communities like those in Western Southland that will pay the price.

I attended a Groundswell Three Waters meeting in Invercargill recently, where there were about 700 people, and I saw first-hand the level of concern and frustration people have about these reforms.

They’re worried about the loss of local assets, the potential for water costs to increase and the fact that the Government has not heard people’s views.

Labour wants a centralised, one-size-fits-all model, with less local voice for our communities, so they do not want to listen to what local people want. 

The first reading debate on the Water Services Entities Bill (Three Waters) last week showed Labour has decided their amalgamation agenda is more important than the views of the public.

My colleague, and National's Local Government spokesperson Simon Watts, even proposed an amendment to the select committee motion - to extend the process so that communities across the country could have their voices heard on this legislation. 

Labour voted it down - a clear message they want to force these reforms through by the end of the year.

Labour may not be listening to New Zealanders but National is, and if elected in 2023, we will repeal and replace Three Waters.