Wednesday, 27 October 2021 11:18

Feds remain opposed to 'Three waters' reform

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard. Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard.

The Government's decision to push through its 'Three Waters' reforms despite widespread opposition is being slammed by farmers and politicians.

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says the government's announcement that Three Waters will be mandatory is a huge call.

"Federated Farmers, a majority of local authorities and many New Zealanders have voiced serious misgivings over the government's plans for council three waters assets to be transferred to four new mega entities," says Hoggard.

“We remain opposed to this plan.”

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed the Government will create four publicly owned water entities.

Mahuta claims this will ensure every New Zealander has access to affordable, long-lasting drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure without ballooning costs to households and families.

“The case for change is too compelling to ignore,” she says.

“It is clear that without the establishment of these publicly-owned entities we will continue to see a frail network and contaminated water in many communities. To delay will only push the problem on, increase future household costs and put livelihoods at risk,” says Mahuta.

But Hoggard says a working group of local government, iwi and water industry experts being set up to work through design of how the new entities will operate will have its work cut out to allay a multitude of concerns.

He wants rural residents concerned about the future of their water, sewerage and stormwater infrastructure should gear up to have their say.

"Top of the list for Federated Farmers are issues around governance and accountability. The complexity of rural water scheme ownership and operations has got rural people worried.

"How will the new entities ensure the needs of smaller and rural communities are not crowded out when setting investment priorities and plans?

"The proposed arms-length governance arrangements with directors appointed by panel, which are in turn appointed by yet another panel, weaken the accountability of water service entities to communities," Hoggard said.

ACT Party has vowed to reverse the reforms should it be part of the next Government.

ACT's Local Government spokesperson Simon Court says Mahuta fails to understand that the plan is being opposed by many stakeholders.

“ACT will be campaigning to return stolen property to councils, reversing Three Waters reforms and restoring democracy to New Zealand”, says

“If Labour steals it, ACT will give it back.

“It doesn't occur to Nanaia Mahuta that if people don't like her plan, maybe they're trying to tell her something, like it's a stupid plan that doesn't stack up and won't work.

“Because Mahuta is totally unable to take on board feedback, or understand how implausible her plan's benefits are, she is now forcibly taking council assets.”

More like this

Time's up

Chris Lewis, a Feds national board member and spokesman on immigration and labour issues for the past two years, will leave at its annual meeting in Auckland early July.

Give farmers a chance!

Outgoing Federated Farmers leader Chris Lewis believes successive governments have failed to give farmers the chance to resolve key issues facing the agriculture sector.

Editorial: Alarm bells

OPINION: The Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) bill proposed by Government is causing alarm in the farming sector.

National

FMD scare puts NZ on watch

A recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia has the NZ agriculture sector and its officials on…

Public round up on glyphosate

The country's environmental regulator agency has released the public feedback it has received on the glyphosate weed killer - commonly…

New bee Guy!

Former Agriculture Minister Nathan Guy will take over as the independent chair of Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ).

Machinery & Products

A new approach to apprenticeships

By taking a new approach to its apprenticeship programme, agricultural equipment supplier Norwood says it is ensuring farmers’ machinery will…

Buck-Rake does the job

With many self-propelled forage harvester manufacturers offering machines hitting 1000hp, the bottleneck in any harvesting system is always likely to…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Yeah, right!

OPINION: Your old mate reckons recent ‘research’ carried out by consultants PWC – claiming that ‘actively managed carbon forestry’ creates…

All Claas!

OPINION: Your canine crusader - like many in the sector probably would have - raised an eyebrow when he heard…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter