Fears for autonomy voiced

Cr Alex Crackett
Cr Alex Crackett
An Invercargill city councillor fears a raft of reforms proposed by the Government will strip the autonomy of local bodies.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced late last month the Three Waters reforms will be imposed on councils.

The Three Waters proposal would move management of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems from councils into the hands of four regional water authorities.

At a council infrastructure committee meeting this week, Cr Alex Crackett agreed with comments from Cr Darren Ludlow, who said the mandate was not a surprise.

She was fearful it and other moves by the Government such as the local government review could be taking the power of councils.

"It seems to me that we are, really, having the local and the local autonomy stripped out of local government ... and that for me is just frightening," she said.

Cr Ludlow said the ownership and the future of council’s water assets was still unclear, but he could not understand how they could be still owned by the council under the new model.

Cr Lesley Soper believed it was time for the council to put "feelings aside" and work productively on the issue.

Chairman Ian Pottinger mentioned the next general election and said "this important reform" would be a key issue in 2024.

 

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