(National Party media release)

Nanaia Mahuta’s admissions yesterday show the Minister’s relationships with local councils are broken and that the Three Waters asset grab plans are terminal, National’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Watts says.

“Today the Minister finally conceded there were some things she had ‘underestimated’ in driving her Three Waters agenda. One thing she didn’t mention was the overwhelming opposition her asset grab plans have had from councils and communities.

“Saying councils have a ‘high level of sensitivity’ for feeling blamed by her appalling advertising campaign hardly counts as an apology for discrediting them.

“It’s a shame it took a working group to make the same ‘helpful recommendations’, in the Minister’s words, that National has been pointing out as obvious flaws for the better part of a year. Calling the working group’s views ‘a breath of fresh air’ is insulting when councils have been raising those same problems for months.

“Even with the superficial changes recommended by their working group, Labour’s Three Waters agenda is still fatally flawed.

“If Minister Mahuta wants to regain any credibility with local government, she must mend her broken relationships with councils and take her Three Waters plans back to the drawing board.

“National would keep the ‘local’ in local government by encouraging councils to collaborate, contract or form CCOs, and letting communities decide what’s right for them – not the Beehive.”