Mayor stranded – by one water 

One of the three waters scuppered Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest’s plans to join fellow mayors on the steps of Parliament for a protest earlier this week.

Mylchreest has joined forces with Communities For Local Democracy which represents more than 20 councils opposed to the Government’s Three Waters reform plans.

But this week’s heavy rain put paid to his flight plans.

“I am extremely disappointed that the weather interrupted my plans to attend the launch of Communities For Local Democracy which is an important event to reinforce to central government that communities across New Zealand do not accept the need for the proposed Three Waters Reform and that the basis for the decision is not based on facts and that the forecast savings are not likely to be achieved,” he told the News.

“The appropriation of community assets, built up by communities over many generations, is unjust and the lack of control of those assets in the proposed governance structure of the four proposed new entities will seriously impact the communities ability to plan and develop their areas in a unique way.”

The Government announced in October it planned to strip the water infrastructure and services from 67 councils and create four mega-regional water entities.

Legislation was scheduled to be introduced before Christmas, but there has been a significant backlash and this week Leader of the House Chris Hipkins confirmed the legislation would be delayed.

The Act Party has backed the new group and its Local Government spokesperson Simon Court said yesterday morning it planned to meet the council representatives.

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest

He acknowledged the present system was “not up to scratch” but said the Government’s proposed reforms missed the mark.”

ACT says it would provide for councils to enter into voluntary “shared services” agreements while retaining local ownership and control. It would establish 30-year Central Government-Local Government Partnership agreements to plan water infrastructure upgrades tailored to specific regions and set up Public-Private Partnerships to attract investment.

“Simply shifting water assets from one government body to another is a recipe for more bureaucracy and less local input, not an enduring solution to upgrade water infrastructure in New Zealand,” Court said.

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