Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown says proposed changes to the Three Waters Reform haven’t gone far enough ahead of the bill’s second reading in parliament.
There were 80,000 submissions on the Water Services Entities Bill, the first of three bills aimed at reforming New Zealand’s water infrastructure and services, including one from the Ashburton District Council.
Parliament’s cross-party Finance and Expenditure Select Committee has considered those submissions and proposed some recommendations to improve the workability of water reform legislation.
Mayor Brown said the changes were fairly minor.
“Not a lot of changes that the councils in opposition to Three Waters would like to have seen.
“Having a better representation of rural mayors is a slight plus but it wasn’t the guts of the submissions.”
Ashburton, and the rest of the member councils in the Communities for Local Democracy collective, “will not be backing off” Brown said, especially when an alternative model proposed by Mayor Brown of Auckland has garnered more widespread support.
But the Government is surging ahead with its model, with some new recommended changes likely to be adopted.
One of those is that the Bill requires a mix of rural, provincial, and metropolitan councils on the regional representative group (RRG).
Another recommendation is to remove the limit of members on the RRG, which may make things quite complicated, Brown said.
There will be at least six representatives from the 22 councils in the zone 4 entity, which now needs an even spread of rural, provincial, and metropolitan representatives, and any increase in representatives will also increase the mana whenua representatives under co-governance.