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Higher Water Costs
The Government claims larger water entities will be more efficient, but the Government’s own peer review rubbishes the claimed savings, which don’t even consider the financial implications of co-governance. There is no limit on how much the unelected entities can charge for water services, no stopping iwi groups charging ‘water royalties’ nor is there a requirement for councils to reduce rates to reflect the fact they will no longer supply water services.
Under the proposed reforms, there will be four layers of bureaucracy separating ratepayers from the new water entities. Councils will join with iwi to appoint a regional body which will appoint a selection panel which will appoint the entity board. That is madness.
No Local Control
While the Government claims councils will still 'own' water assets, councils will lose their rights of control. Decisions around selling assets, receiving dividends, and setting charges will be made by unelected entities, with no provision for councils to withdraw from the new regime.
Labour did not campaign on these reforms during the last election and is now pressuring councils to support complex, far-reaching reforms during a pandemic, without time for local consultation. Even though most councils oppose the plan, Nanaia Mahuta says she has the right to simply force the new regime on local councils whether they like it or not.