November 11, 2021
Water reform fight against colonisation
A member of a working group looking at governance and accountability arrangements for the Three Waters reform says there is a lot of hysteria and polarisation to get through.
Ngāti Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says many councils are up in arms about the plan to bring all freshwater, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure under four large regional entities, while iwi are ambivalent.
He’s keen to get a sense of the reforms and look for ways iwi can improve relationships with councils.
“Councils have invariably been the last bastion of colonisation at local level. I’m not talking about all of them but in general, they’re the last ones to toe the line around treaty issues,” Mr Tomoana says.
As the Three Waters process was triggered by the contamination of water in Havelock North, it’s good he can serve on the working group.
The working group is chaired by former deputy State Services Commissioner Doug Martin, and the other iwi Maori members are Ngarimu Blair, Jamie Tuuta, Karen Vercoe, Olivia Hall, Gabrielle Huria, Barry Bragg, and John Bishara.
It also includes nine mayors – Auckland’s Phil Goff, Jason Smith, Kaipara, Garry Webber, Western Bay of Plenty, Neil Holdom, New Plymouth, Campbell Barry, Lower Hutt, Rachel Reese, Nelson, Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch, Tim Cadogan, Central Otago, and Lyn Patterson, Masterton.