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Three Waters: Few in favour

Water, and the quality of it, will be a hot topic during the elections. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

With council elections fast approaching, Local Democracy Reporter EMILY IRELAND asks mayoral candidates whether the Government’s Three Waters reforms are the best way to achieve the investment that is sorely needed in water infrastructure in many regions.


Craig Bowyer


I see that smaller councils will get “lost” as the large cities take up all the urgent work first – let councils lend the money directly from the government. Local people know local water issues.

Gary Caffell

Not sure.

Until we know what the Government’s final package on Three Waters will look like, I can’t see how we can have a definitive opinion. Clearly though, the rollout of the reforms has been woeful with so many unanswered questions creating huge anxiety and to give anything like an unqualified tick is impossible at this stage.

Jo Hayes


There are other ways that central government can invest and support local governments’ water infrastructure plans. The problem is the central government is not listening to local government. I feel that provincial towns like Masterton may be the loser on a centralised approach to water infrastructure management and control.

Bill Izard


It’s a blatant government rip-off, ripping off every community in New Zealand. If the Government was serious about helping councils improve their infrastructure, then why not just simply support local councils and not give it away to a two-tiered ownership system?

Tina Nixon


Definitely not. I have submitted against this bill as its expropriation of community assets without compensation. The Share does not confer ownership or control. The governance arrangements are a dog’s breakfast, and I don’t have confidence the model will reduce the costs to the ratepayer.

Masterton mayoral candidate Hakepa did not respond.


Greg Lang


We all want safe drinking water and efficient infrastructure. The Government is going to legislate, so the time for grandstanding about such issues as local control and governance is over – I want to be focused on working together to make the new structure work not only for us now, but for future generations.

Ron Mark

The level of investment required across New Zealand varies and seems overstated. Some councils manage their assets well, have adequate depreciation, low debt, and manage their projects well. What needs reforming is the Public Finance Act and the mechanisms by which councils are able to raise revenue and carry debt.


Alex Beijen


While reform is needed, and councils have neglected water infrastructure, the proposal they have presented as a non-negotiable option [Scottish Water] is possibly the worst example to choose. There are a number of different options which sees government contributing and monitoring without the unconstitutional changes they are forcing through.

Martin Connelly

Not sure.

We have problems with drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. The solution requires more investment and [most importantly] much more expertise than our council can provide. The Government’s reforms go a long way to solving our problems. But the reforms are not perfect, as the water entities seem overly large.

Daphne Geisler

Not sure.

We definitely need radical reform, and soon, to address our water issues. Details of the reform are still being developed and debated. Yes, there are questions, and it is very complex. I believe it can be worked through and achieve better outcomes for our community.

Brenda West


This is a good wakeup call for all councils in New Zealand. I get the noble intention. The way that this is being implemented, well, that part is really rough. My biggest concern is the loss of local voice. I fear that the smaller regions will be forgotten [that’s us]. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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