from Simon Watts, National spokesperson on Local Government

Despite overwhelming opposition, Labour is bulldozing ahead with their broken ‘Three Waters’ reforms, and you’re footing the cost.

Last week we learned that Labour siphoned $70 million from the covid response and recovery fund to pay for Three Waters ‘reforms’. This money, which was supposed to be for rebuilding post-covid, is now being spent on more policy work on broken reforms and the communications staff to sell it.

This includes $21 million of policy and communications work and $14.6 million to increase iwi/Māori ‘understanding’ of the Three Waters changes and their capacity to contribute to them. How any of this relates to covid recovery, even Grant Robertson can’t explain.

On top of that, this week, it was revealed that the Government has spent $2.1 million to lease prime office space in Freemans Bay to house the hundreds of consultants and bureaucrats working on the Three Waters transition.

Ironically, the Prime Minister and Nanaia Mahuta insist these reforms are about saving ratepayers’ money. Yet, they continue to spend millions of dollars of your tax money on flashy office buildings and highly-paid consultants.

During a cost of living crisis, there needs to be accountability for every dollar spent and a relentless focus on outcomes.

Labour needs to stop spending up on Three Waters and work on solutions to the issues communities face, like the cost of living crisis, rising crime and longer emergency department wait times.

Every cent Labour spends on these disastrous reforms adds to the wasteful spending this Government has become addicted to, and when National forms a government in 2023, we’ll repeal Three Waters.

I’ll keep fighting for you to have your voice heard on this, and against Labour’s broken and divisive reforms.