The Canterbury Mayoral Forum has written to Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta to formally request a pause to the current three waters reform process.
The reform process proposes to transfer delivery of three waters services from local authorities to four public entities across New Zealand.
In a statement released today, the Canterbury Mayoral Forum (representing all of Canterbury's Mayors) says it is asking the Minister to pause the process because it has serious concerns about the current decision-making timeframe.
The statement points out that the three waters reform proposals are a once-in-a-generation decision for councils and communities, and that it is crucial that communities are provided with enough time to engage meaningfully and genuinely with the process and better understand the implications of the proposals.
Without a pause, there is a very real risk that Councils and their communities will not be able to make informed decisions about the impact of the proposed reform outcomes.
“The Mayoral Forum urges the pause to come into effect now and remain in place until the new water service regulator Taumata Arowai is properly established, there is clarity about the proposed Economic Regulator, and the standards and approach from each is clearly understood,'' says Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton, who chairs the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.
"We believe this is essential in order to properly and authentically engage with our communities on this incredibly important decision.''
The Forum also acknowledges in the statement that the reform process is being undertaken at the same time as other significant reform processes, including a review into the future for local government.
A pause in the three waters reform process would allow more time to consider the kind of three waters model that might best support the future for local government, it says.