I was overjoyed when Newsroom recently reported when Lianne Dalziel was speaking on behalf of Christchurch City Council and she commented about Central Government water reforms:
“She supported the vision to improve New Zealand’s water infrastructure, in principle, but her council was also leaning towards opting out as well. The council would make a decision after it had seen the information on how the city would be impacted.
Lianne then concluded:
“…the Government’s job was to act in the best interests of the whole country, but her council’s responsibility was to act in the best interests of Christchurch residents.”
To this I say “hear, hear”.
Sheryl Mai, Whangārei mayor is reported in the same article as saying:
If there’s an intention from government to encourage local government to think differently about the people that they represent, then we need to swear a different oath. Because we swear an oath (when sworn in as Councillors) that we will do everything in our power in the best interests of the people of our district.”
Then Phil Goff the Mayor of Auckland said:
“Watercare is already serving 1.7 million people and did not need to merge with Northland to achieve economies of scale. He is concerned that if the water infrastructure passed out of ratepayer control, it would be easier for a future government to privatise the assets.
Finally Local Government has found its voice and appeared from behind closed doors where the conversations about water reforms have been conducted until now. And it’s showing a good set of sharp teeth. Central Government and their PR teams from Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health and WaterNZ have had it all their own way until now. These proposals are terrible and need to be fought all the way to the Court of Appeal. Taking water away from local control is a massive mistake.