A Word from the Mayor
Three waters continues
Hurunui District Council is about to provide feedback to Central Government on the proposed 3 waters reform having considered the informal feedback from many residents and ratepayers. It may be no surprise to readers to understand that there is very little in this proposal that will bring betterment to our district, having weighed up the proposal with a Hurunui lens.
The Governments proposal (which it is yet to be confirmed) proposes to transfer all drinking water, wastewater and stormwater assets including all field operations from council to a new Crown Entity. The proposed entity is known as “Entity D” and it’s boundaries are those defined in the Ngai Tahu Settlement Act of 1998. The Minister speaks of the compelling “case for change” however has given no provision for formal consultation with the owners of the assets. This does not sit comfortably with our council and we will be consulting with you through the special consultative procedure under the Local Government Act, as owners of these assets. The government has not provided us with a timeline for decision making but we understand it will be sometime before the end of the year. Thankfully many have provided informal feedback to date however during the upcoming formal process we will again need your voice to add weight for this decision of significance.
I do not see why the government can promote the confiscation of billions of dollars of rate payers owned infrastructure and give very little in return – except removing the rights of councils and more importantly the right of local people to exercise their democratic rights. Local ownership means you can hold people like me and my colleagues to account, this is a critical loss to democracy across New Zealand.
The proposed governance model will have the effect of distancing any accountability of the entities from their customers, we believe this will be a significant step backwards from the current situation and struggle to accept this position.
Local government is critically important to the fabric of New Zealanders and the thought of centralized systems and control is concerning. The most compelling feedback received from residents and ratepayers in the Hurunui District is that we must retain ownership and control of the three water assets and that you trust your council to continue to deliver the three water services on your behalf now and into the future.
The case for change has been poorly conceived and executed and this has been reinforced by the lack of consistent information to councils.
With the week focus on Mental Health Awareness and the theme “take time to Korero – a little chat can go a long way” it confirms for me that the little everyday conversations can make a big difference to our wellbeing. They can brighten up our day, and help us create meaningful connections with colleagues, friends and family.
Stop and have a chat, - it s amazing what it can do for your well-being.