Local Government Magazine
Water services reform

Water reform savings ‘laughable’

The Taxpayers’ Union says the removal of local democratic control over water assets and regional cross subsidisation is a recipe for gold plating and higher costs.

Reacting to the details of the reforms announced at the end of June as saving tax payers Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams says the claim is “laughable”.
“That will see Auckland water users funding Rolls-Royce water treatment plants in the far north, and force gold plated solutions onto tiny communities. We don’t often say Phil Goff is right, but on this, he is bang on with his warnings.
“Even worse, these proposals remove the ability of ratepayers to hold the water bodies to account. They’re going to be able to impose huge costs, without being accountable, even indirectly, to the communities who will pick up the bills.”
He adds that the proposed matrix of committee and Maori authority governance is a “bugger’s muddle”.
“The claim that councils will still own the assets is worthless and true in name only. They won’t be able to do a thing to sack or govern the water assets local communities have paid for.”

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