from the Taxpayers’ Union–

Mahuta graphic

Nanaia Mahuta lied about Three Waters being a voluntary scheme. She’s just announced that she wants to pass legislation to force the reforms on councils – even those who ‘opted-out’.

Despite opposition from the vast majority of communities and councils across the country, the Local Government is changing her Three Waters reforms from an ‘opt in’ to an ‘all in’ model. This means the compulsory confiscation of billions of dollars worth of water assets from local communities.

I’m emailing to ask for your support so we can launch a major campaign to fight Three Waters..

Make no mistake, Three Waters undermines democracy, will cost ratepayers, and mean the control of our water assets is totally unaccountable to ratepayers and voters. Click here to make a donation.

It said a lot that the Prime Minister failed to front for today’s announcement. Perhaps her comms team saw the independent polling we commissioned showing that opposition to the reform outweighs support by three to one.

⚠️ Higher Water Costs

The Government claims larger water entities will be more efficient, but the Government’s own peer review rubbishes the claimed savings, which don’t even consider the financial implications of co-governance. There is no limit on how much the unelected entities can charge for water services, no stopping iwi groups charging ‘water royalties’ nor is there a requirement for councils to reduce rates to reflect the fact they will no longer supply water services.

⚠️ Unnecessary Bureaucracy

Under the proposed reforms, there will be four layers of bureaucracy separating ratepayers from the new water entities. Councils will join with iwi to appoint a regional body which will appoint a selection panel which will appoint the entity board. That is madness.

⚠️  No Local Control

While the Government claims councils will still ‘own’ water assets, councils (and therefore ratepayers) will lose their rights of control. Decisions around selling assets, receiving dividends, and setting charges will be made by unelected entities, with no provision for councils to withdraw from the new regime.

In questions from the media this morning, Minister Mahuta confirmed this – dismissing a question from a journalist who asked “How can you say councils will own the water assets, if they can’t set or limit the charges these new water entities can impose?” In short, Mahuta’s attempt to pull the wool over New Zealanders’ eyes and use the current health situation as a distraction to push these changes through is clear. That’s why we need your help to launch the campaign to alert New Zealanders to the danger of these reforms.

⚠️ Undemocratic

Labour did not campaign on these reforms during the last election and is now overruling the views of local communities and councils to force through these complex, far-reaching reforms during a pandemic. Even though most councils oppose the plan, Nanaia Mahuta now says will simply force the new regime on local councils whether they like it or not.

⚠️ We Were Lied To

Councils were told as recently as September that they would have time to properly consult with local communities on whether to join the regime. It’s now clear it was a lie. The Government isn’t going back to councils or communities as promised. Instead, they want to ram legislation through Parliament. So much for ensuring they would listen to local communities!

We can fight this, and win.

Three years ago we successfully forced the Government to back down on its capital gains tax proposal. More recently we forced a U-turn on the silly Auckland “Sky Path” bike bridge. We can win this too – but we can’t do it alone.

We have just launched a new campaign hub at – will you donate now, so we can counter Nanaia Mahuta’s spin and spin doctors?

new campaign website

With your support we can get the facts in front of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. We’ve already set up Google ads so New Zealanders who look up “three waters” see our website alongside the Government-funded propaganda site:

Your campaign contribution will ensure we reach more voters and prevent communities being duped by Government-funded propaganda.

We have also set up social media ads like this:

Facebook post

Your support will mean these ads reach the whole of New Zealand.

Donate now

We’re also working on a television commercial – which is far more truthful than the rediculous Three Water cartoon ads that the Government is running. With your support, we will ensure Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta are held to account for what they are trying to do.  Click here to donate.

Thank you for your support.

Louis circle
Louis Houlbrooke
Campaigns Manager
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

ps. Tonight, Jordan is joined by National MP Christopher Luxon for a special live-streamed episode of Taxpayer Talk to react to today’s Three Waters announcement. Hit “like” on our Facebook page to get the notification at 8pm.

Lux on the pod

pps. This effort is 100% people powered. We’ve forced this Government to U-turn before, and we can do it again. But to win, we need you to back us.

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union Inc. · 117 Lambton Quay, Level 4, Wellington 6011, New Zealand