Northern Councils join with Communities 4 Local Democracy

Published on 15 December 2021

Communities 4 Local Democracy logo

Mayors representing more than a million New Zealanders took their Three Waters concerns to Parliament today, marking the first step of a powerful new local democracy campaign.

Whangarei, Kaipara and the Far North District Council have all joined Communities 4 Local Democracy - He hapori mō te Manapori.

Communities 4 Local Democracy website

The newly formed and growing group of 23 councils was created in response to serious concerns about the Government’s Three Waters reforms. Its 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.

Meetings of mayors with Parliament members

More than a dozen mayors and other elected representatives took 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,” said 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. 

“We are the elected local voice of our communities – communities that are very clearly telling us that they don’t want control of the assets that generations of our ratepayers built up and paid for being snatched away from them as part of the Government’s plan,” Mayor Worboys says.

“We don’t believe that the best solution lies in putting our assets into what will be four of the largest companies in New Zealand – and then denying our communities their say in how those companies are run.”

High Court application

Three partner councils (Whangarei 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.

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