Hundreds expected at community gathering opposing Three Waters Reform
The Hurunui District Council is holding a public meeting on Sunday to give the local community an opportunity to have their say on the Government’s proposed Three Waters Reform.
Mayor Marie Black says Sunday’s gathering at the Glenmark Rugby Grounds will provide a forum for locals to discuss their concerns.
“Hurunui District Councillors have unanimously adopted a statement opposing the Government’s Three Waters Reform. We know however, that the Council’s voice alone isn’t enough. Ratepayers have real issues with the proposed reforms and Sunday’s meeting is all about giving them a voice.”
Mayor Black says there is a real sense that water assets belong to the community.
“Pipes were literally laid by hand by locals in the 1950s and 1960s, when land owners were given the choice to chip in and pay for new infrastructure or pay in manual labour. It means that for many farmers today, it was their fathers and grandfathers who actually built their water systems.”
“There’s a real lack of understanding in Wellington about how important the ownership of water assets is to our community.”
She says there is great value in the local relationships that operate between local landowners and those who currently travel over private farm land to access reservoirs for maintenance and upkeep.
“These relationships are critical and valued and haven’t been factored into the proposed reforms which completely ignore the goodwill aspect.”
Mayor Black says the proposed reforms also ignore the importance of local knowledge.
“Most farmers know exactly who their utilities person is. If they have a problem, they call them and it is fixed. Having these local relationships is priceless.”
Hurunui District Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie says the reforms open the door to the future privatisation of water assets.
“Ultimately, the Government is taking $150 million worth of assets, owned by our ratepayers, and putting them into a new entity which we will not have any meaningful control over. It’s something that hasn’t gone down well in our community,” says Dobbie.
Dobbie says many residents have lost total faith in the democratic process.
“Government initially promised councils we would have the chance to opt out of the proposed reforms but have since gone back on that promise. It’s clear that it now comes down to people power and giving our local community the opportunity to be heard.”
“On Sunday we’ll be passing the mic around to give people the chance to say what they think about the reforms. We’re really hoping the concerns of residents get heard loud and clear by those in Parliament,” says Dobbie.
Glenmark Rugby Grounds
2.30-4pm (Speeches will begin at 2.30pm)
Sunday November 14
Please note: The event will be available to watch virtually via Facebook Live on the Hurunui District Council FB page.