South Waikato Mayor Gary Petley statement...
Released: Sunday 16 April 2023
“As Mayor of the South Waikato, I remain unimpressed with the Government’s three waters announcement yesterday,” said Mayor Gary Petley. “It’s essentially the same as the initial proposal, under a different name.”
Mayor Gary Petley believes the Government has failed to make meaningful change, continues to ignore community concerns over property rights and increasing the numbers of entities is not guaranteed to provide for a local voice at a level where it could make a difference.
“The South Waikato is a small district compared to some of our neighbours,” said Mayor Petley. “We may not be growing as fast as other areas around us, but we are growing, and our people and community need our three water infrastructure and service prioritised too. This is vital for our future economic success.
“Already high growth areas in our new proposed entity have expressed the need for more than one voice. Even with one guaranteed voice at the level which appoints the governing body, on a smaller regional entity, South Waikato’s voice will once again be lost.”
Mayor Petley believes we need locally led, locally informed and locally accountable solutions, not the one size fits none approach dictated by Wellington.
The issue of property has not been addressed. Billions of dollars of assets are still proposed to be transferred out of the hands of the people who paid for them.
According to Mayor Petley it’s a missed opportunity to meaningfully engage with local government to find a consensus approach.
“Finally, I am very concerned the three waters infrastructure will continue to be used as a political football in the upcoming elections,” says Mayor Petley.
“Three waters should be about the delivery of safe, reliable drinking water, better environmental outcomes, and an efficient, sustainable, resilient and affordable service for future generations.
“This shouldn’t be an election issue.”
ENDS Words: 303