Disappointed in three Waters view

Re: ‘Fresh blood joins the Mayoralty race’, page 4, The Weekend Sun, May 27.

We are disappointed that Western BOP district councillor James Denyer has told The Weekend Sun that, in regard to Three Waters: “Because it’s being mandated by Central Government the council’s role is now to be agile enough to take advantage of opportunities that arise from that”. What possible opportunity could arise from the theft of $323 million of our assets?

At the meeting of the Katikati Community Board on November 10, 2021, councillors James Denyer and Allan Sole were asked by the other members of the board to vote for Western Bay of Plenty District Council joining the group of councils opposed to the Government’s current Three Waters proposal – because the other four members of the community board were of the belief “that it was not in the best interests of the community, or ratepayers”.

At the council meeting on December 16, 2021, when a vote was held by WBOPDC on whether to join the group of councils opposed to the Government’s current Three Waters proposal, councillor Sole complied with the board’s request but councillor Denyer voted against council joining that group.

Councillor Denyer would have been aware that up until November 11, council had received 642 unsolicited communications – all of which were opposed to the Government’s Three Waters proposal but he still voted not to join the council group opposed to that proposal.

Keith Hay, chairman Katikati-Waihi Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association.

WBOPDC Councillor James Denyer replies:

The participation of councils in Three Waters reform was mandated by Central Government on 27 October 2021. Mr Hay suggests that WBOPDC should have spent $15,000 of ratepayer money to join the campaign group comprised of a minority of councils seeking to amend the reforms, but which, predictably, has not managed to achieve any changes whatsoever to the Government’s proposal. Conversely, the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability, had 44 of their 47 recommendations accepted by the Government.

Whether the reform goes ahead, or whether some or all of it ultimately gets repealed by another government, there will be a lot of changes for council to navigate. This is the agility I referenced that council will need to achieve the best for our community. The opportunities in the short-term are the Better Off funding of $21m that council will need to decide how to spend, as well as a significantly stronger balance sheet after the debt associated with its Three Waters operations gets transferred to the new water services entity.

I prefer to concern myself with the changes that I can effect for our community rather than waste other people’s money on political posturing that does not achieve anything.

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