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Jacinda Ardern remains committed to the controversial three waters plan, despite a unified front in opposition by mayors from Auckland, Christchurch and Waimakariri.
Wayne Brown, Phil Mauger and Dan Gordon have today put forward a joint proposal that would see aspects of the government’s plan remain, however it would ensure local ownership and control of water assets stayed in place.
“As a nation, we need to find a way move forward in a positive and consensus manner – and stop the ugly and angry Three Waters debate that is dividing our county,” the mayors said.
The response by the mayors instantly drew support from both National and Act. However, Ardern and local government minister Nanaia Mahuta said three waters was still on a trajectory to pass.
“At the heart, we’re all focused on making sure ratepayers don’t experience those large projected increases… then we have common ground,” said Ardern. “The mayors… have a focus in making sure their ratepayers don’t experience a spike in cost of living. We have the same focus.”
Ardern said she would wait and see what recommendations came back from select committee. “We are open to making changes that improve the proposals. But we say that with a complete and utter focus on making sure those changes don’t undermine the fundamental principle which is making sure we don’t see an increase in costs.”