March 09, 2022
Consensus call for Three Waters governance
Former Waikato River Authority co-chair Tukuroirangi Morgan says co-governance and consensus decision making is the way to make the Three Waters reforms work.
Mr Morgan was on a group of iwi and council representatives which was asked to advise on representation, governance and accountability for the proposed new entities which will manage fresh water, waste water and stormwater infrastructure.
Its report released today recommends each of the four entities be owned by councils to ensure public ownership of infrastructure assets, but that members should be an equal mix of iwi and crown appointees.
He says the Waikato River Authority shows how the model can work, and in the six years, he was co-chair with the late John Luxton all decisions were reached by consensus rather than voting.
“Consensus decision making works. From a cultural point of view, from a Maori point of view, our old people believed we had to sit, whether we were in our whare tupuna or in our kitchens, in order to resolve issues you had to talk until you get a resolution. You don’t go to a vote,” Mr Morgan says.
He says apart from rare exceptions like Auckland, local government has done a bad job of investing in water infrastructure and a new approach is needed.