Mauger criticises council water survey: 'The questions were too soft for me'

Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Mayoral hopeful Phil Mauger has raised questions about a Christchurch City Council survey designed to gauge ratepayers’ views on the proposed three waters reforms.

Mauger said the survey should have given Christchurch residents the option of simply saying whether they were for or against the Government’s controversial plans to reorganise drinking, stormwater and wastewater networks throughout the country.

The city council launched an online survey last month seeking feedback to mould its response to the Government’s plans.

Under the proposal, the city council’s $6.9 billion of water-based assets would be absorbed into one entity covering 21 local authorities in the South Island.

Mauger said the online survey accessed through the city council’s website could inadvertently be seen as endorsing the Government’s blueprint.

Said Mauger: "There’s a question: ‘All areas of New Zealand should have access to safe drinking water?’ Of course you’ll agree. The Government will look at that answer and go ‘we’re on the right track, everyone wants to have fresh water’.

"I’m a wee bit disappointed our questionnaire wasn’t a wee bit more forthright.

"The questions were too soft for me," he said.

Helen Beaumont. Photo: Supplied
Helen Beaumont. Photo: Supplied
City council head of three waters and waste Helen Beaumont said the option of a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer was considered premature.

"We felt it was too early to ask a ‘for’ or ‘against’ question, as we do not believe there is sufficient information yet available about the details of the Government’s proposal for three waters reform for Christchurch and Banks Peninsula,” she said.

"This is only the start of a public conversation - we are planning other opportunities in the future.

"We will be making it clear in our feedback to the Government that we fully expect to consult with our community when it comes to such an important and significant decision for our district."

The survey, which launched last month, had attracted more than 4600 responses by Wednesday afternoon.

It closes on Sunday.

Mauger was adamant he did not require any further information, as his view was set in stone.

"I’ve made my mind up, I would opt out every day of the week.

"I have enough information to make a decision.

"It does not feel right. If you take away all those assets, give us not very much for it ($122 million) and have all our control run by Wellington it’s an accident looking for somewhere to happen."

  • The survey can be found here.
     

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