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It was standing room only in the back as Groundswell NZ launched the first in a string of public meetings opposing the Government’s Three Waters reform in Alexandra last night.
Almost 200 people packed the Alexandra Memorial Hall to hear from the organisation which was formed in the wake of "unworkable government regulations" and from keynote speaker, former broadcaster and Taxpayers’ Union board member Peter Williams.
Groundswell NZ co-founder Laurie Paterson said the organisation was concerned about the loss of local democracy.
"It’s the fact that the big central government really is taking the assets off the local government people that were elected to run their local areas and really, well, it’s bullying isn’t it."
"They’re like the big kid in the playground and they don’t seem to want to listen to any common sense about anything — they just want to take those Three Waters assets and turn them into a great bureaucracy which is cost, cost, cost."
A pre-recorded message of Invercargill deputy mayor Nobby Clark speaking against the reforms was also aired.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan was invited to speak on the district council’s position on Three Waters, though the reception he received was less than friendly.
Mr Cadogan addressed the hecklers, saying he took the position it was better to remain in the conversation than not have a say in how the reforms impacted the region.
The next Groundswell NZ public meeting is being held in Wanaka tonight.