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Communities 4 Local Democracy

Media release - Westland DC, Grey DC & Communities for Local Democracy

Mayors Bruce Smith of Westland District Council and Mayor Tania Gibson of Grey District Council joined Mayors representing more than a million New Zealanders to take their Three Waters concerns to Parliament today, marking the first step of a powerful new local democracy campaign.

Communities 4 Local Democracy - He hapori mō te Manapori is a newly formed and growing group of 23 councils from around the country.  The group was created in response to serious concerns about the Government’s Three Waters reforms, and numbers are growing as local councils consider the implications of the proposed legislation – in particular losing control of approximately $60 billion of community owned assets across the whole country.   

More than a dozen mayors and other elected representatives are taking the group’s message to meetings at Parliament with National ACT and the Green Party.

“Like the Government, we want to ensure all New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water and we are committed to working with the Government to achieve that,” says Helen Worboys, Mayor of Manawatu and Chair of the new group.

“No-one disputes the need for investment, but there’s a better way to achieve the Government’s objectives and we want to work in partnership with them on that,” she says. 

“Our action group will introduce fresh ideas for better water.  But our fresh ideas will ensure that our local communities continue to have a say on how the assets that they have bought and paid for are used to achieve our health and environmental goals.

“This is an inclusive campaign – it’s about safe drinking water for all New Zealanders, whoever and wherever they are.  More meaningful Mana Whenua representation is an important part of that.  It’s also an apolitical campaign – we’re completely focused on the issue regardless of political affiliation.

Mayor Tania Gibson says “We are pleased to be part of Communities 4 Democracy to add our district’s voice to the ever increasing threat of losing our local assets and have a say in how they are managed.”

Communities 4 Local Democracy is taking a constructive approach to the situation by commissioning expert advice on alternative models that might achieve the objectives of Government and local communities.  It will be sharing its findings when they are complete. 

About Communities 4 Local Democracy

Communities 4 Local Democracy partner councils (correct at Tuesday 14 December 2021):

  • Ashburton District Council
  • Central Hawkes Bay District Council
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Far North District Council
  • Grey District Council
  • Hurunui District Council
  • Kaikōura District Council
  • Kaipara District Council
  • Kawerau District Council
  • Manawatu District Council
  • Matamata-Piako District Council
  • Napier City Council
  • Ōpōtiki District Council
  • South Taranaki District Council
  • South Waikato District Council
  • Tararua District Council
  • Timaru District Council
  • Waimakariri District Council
  • Waimate District Council
  • Waipa District Council
  • Wairoa District Council
  • Westland District Council
  • Whangarei District Council

Three partner councils (Whangārei District Council, Timaru District Council and Waimakariri District Council) recently filed a High Court application seeking clarification of what ownership means in relation to their ratepayer-funded water assets. Between them, these three councils have $1.76 billion in ratepayer funded water infrastructure.

Media contact: Stephen Doran - 027 202 7784