Tim Dower: Three Waters continues to be a slap in the face for councils

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 16 Jul 2021, 9:17AM
(Photo / Getty)
(Photo / Getty)

Tim Dower: Three Waters continues to be a slap in the face for councils

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 16 Jul 2021, 9:17AM

The more I see of this Three Waters legislation, the more it smacks of a dictatorship bent on centralisation, and the less I like it.

This is a massive change in the way we live our lives, everyone needs water.

But it's being hammered through with indecent haste, and the strategy seems to be to swamp us with very dodgy data and immensely complex legislation.

The Prime Minister tried to win over local mayors yesterday with a sweetener, two and a half billion dollars to encourage them to go along with it.

At the same time, the Government claims we need to spend anything from 120 billion to 185 billion, over the next 30 years.

Now, I'm not denying that in some parts of the country there is a major infrastructure challenge.

It can't be right that some councils have let their systems run down so much we see sewage in the streets when it rains, and beaches you can't swim at because they've gone code brown.

It can't be right to have flood waters running through people's homes, when storm water systems can't handle the weather.

So the Government has decided to tell local bodies, this is obviously too hard for you, we're going to relieve you of the job.

Oh, and at the same time, we'll relieve you of the assets you do have, built up over generations and paid for by local people and are still being paid for in many areas.

For the local bodies that have done a good job, spent the money and done the mahi, it's a slap in the face, and a straight out theft of assets.

The good will subsidise the bad, even the Prime Minister acknowledges that in her speech.

Instead of local systems accountable to local people, we'll get four massive and remote bureaucracies, accountable to no-one but themselves.

It's a massive power grab, and the only way you have of escaping is to do a Whāngarei, if you can.

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