The prime minister’s acknowledged the controversy surrounding her government’s three water proposal, but reiterated that the status quo cannot be allowed to continue.
Jacinda Ardern addressed council representatives yesterday at the Local Government NZ annual conference. Of course, being a conference dedicated to local government ensured that the issue of three waters was guaranteed to come up. Newshub has details of the protest outside the conference (along with a follow-up on the “maskless photo controversy” – an issue I think has been put to rest).
Speaking at the conference, Ardern acknowledged the concern about three waters and said that at, at points, the debate over the reforms had “overshadowed” the need for change. . “The sad reality for all of us is that without change the current system couldn’t afford to resolve what is a looming $185 billion problem,” she said.
“We know going forward we face growing populations alongside the rising threat of climate change, and the only viable option within the status quo represents an unaffordable burden on rate payers – for some, what could be as high as an additional $9000 a year.”
After the speech, Ardern addressed media where she said that “many” local governments backed the action being taken. “There is common ground, one area where we absolutely all agree except potentially bar the opposition, is that the status quo is untenable,” she said.
This will definitely not be the end of the debate – and I’m absolutely certain I’ll be writing more about it in the coming weeks/months.