September 28, 2021
Water reforms mean working wth Māori
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says resistance to her Three Waters reform comes from councils unhappy with being told they need a new way of working.
Submissions on the plan to create four large regional bodies managing all fresh water, waste water and stormwater services close on Friday, and many councils say the plan amounts to confiscation of infrastructure built up by ratepayers.
Ms Mahuta says people have been talking about the problems for decades without coming up with answers, and there has been persistent under-investment in water infrastructure.
“Councils are struggling to see the benefits of a reform model because it does mean they have to work alongside other councils and Māori to achieve better health and environmental benefits. It’s a whole new way of working, it’s not just upsizing what councils currently do, it’s a whole new way of working, ” she says.
Minister Mahuta says while Auckland tried to resolve some of the problems by setting up a separate company, Watercare, that organisation is hampered in how much it can invest because its balance sheet is tied to Auckland Council.