National Party MPs have met with Waipā councillors to discuss local issues, including the three waters reform.
Simon Watts (North Shore) and Barbara Kuriger (Taranaki-King Country) met mayor Jim Mylchreest, councillor Lou Brown and chief executive Garry Dyet on Friday.
On the same day Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced a revised Three Waters plan which aims to ease concerns among local local body opponents.
National says it will repeal the Government’s water reforms
Watts said Mylchreest, who has been vocal with his opposition to the reform, is not alone with his views.
Mahuta and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson confirmed the establishment of the four regional entities and a public shareholding structure.
“I acknowledge the anxiety around change, but ratepayers and local communities cannot keep paying more and more for services that have been underinvested in for too long, and now put their health at risk,” Mahuta said. The working group’s recommendations ensured councils, iwi and communities would have “a strong voice” in the new entities.
Waikato councils would be part of Entity B which will carry a total of 33 shares. Waipa and Waikato District Council would receive two shares each, Ōtorohanga and Waitomo one each.
The Government said it had accepting the majority of the recommendations made by an independent Working Group on Representation, including a shareholding plan.
Simon Watts said Jim Mylchreest’s concerns were replicated across the country by a large number of mayors who did not believe the Three Water proposals would deliver the outcomes sought.
“We need to listen to the local voices; we need to listen to the local councils and the mayors and the communities,” he said.
Watts, who grew up in Cambridge is National’s spokesperson for Local Government. He is meeting councils around the country to discuss similar issues, so far has met with 22.
Kuriger said this was a time for National to listen to local government, and formulate policies specific to their needs.
“The is kind of like the listening opportunity, to help the communities build the polices that we want to put in place,” she said.
“When we get back into government, and we hope its next term, we want to hit the ground running and have our policies clearly formulated.”
Watts said local government are the experts of their own issues and opportunities.
“The ability for local government to closer partnership with central government around the delivery of services in a broader sense, is a real opportunity that I think is something that we should be looking to explore.”