Yesterday Christopher Luxon delivered a major speech in Blenheim and launched a policy paper setting out ‘National’s alternative’ to Labour’s Three Waters. While National has always said they would repeal Three Waters if they become government, until now National has kept mum on what its alternative to Three Waters would actually look like.

Last year, we fielded hundreds of questions during our nationwide ‘Stop Three Waters’ roadshow from supporters concerned whether we could trust a National government to put assets back into local control and scrap unaccountable, so-called ‘co-governance’ arrangements. It took until the roadshow meeting of a packed hall in Tauranga for the National Party’s Three Waters Spokesman to commit that National’s replacement to Three Waters would not have ‘co-governance’. Mr Luxon made the same commitment a few weeks later.

But yesterday morning, Mr Luxon announced a policy that is almost identical to the alternative being promoted by the Taxpayers’ Union. And it’s not just the Taxpayers’ Union – the same alternative model of water governance is backed by the Mayors of Auckland, Christchurch, and 32 local councils!

Today’s announcement means there is now consensus not only against Three Waters – but on the alternative reform to improve water quality and affordability.

Our team in Wellington are scrambling. But as we work through the fine detail, there is nothing in the policy that departs from what we’ve been calling for. It is clear we can now put Chris Hipkins under real pressure to totally Scrap Three Waters and go with this alternative.

Chris Hipkins is now the last man standing who still supports Three Waters. He has promised to ‘refocus’ the reforms, but unless we keep the pressure on, a refocus will simply be a rebranding exercise. Yesterday’s announcement by the National Party makes a halfway compromise much harder for Mr Hipkins. We need to double down right now to force the Prime Minister’s hand.