MP calls for greater accountability on Three Waters

Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey has written to the Parliamentary committee which is taking its unpopular Three Waters reform on a mini road trip, asking them to extend their trip.

The trip comes after Doocey called on the committee to reach out to regional New Zealand and hear their voices on the flawed and unworkable Bill.

"Rather than take the time to get around the provinces, the committee plans to spend just four days travelling the country to hear from concerned communities, which is why I wrote to them to encourage them to come to Waimakariri," he said.

"It beggars belief that after Parliament received an overwhelming 88,324 public submissions on Labour’s Three Waters Bill, a Parliamentary committee will only spend four days travelling the country to hear submissions."

National Party Three Waters spokesperson Simon Watts proposed a time extension to consider them. Despite all other political parties on the Parliamentary committee agreeing with an extension, Labour used its majority to block it.

The proposed Three Waters legislation has sparked keen public interest, and clear opposition in the Waimakariri electorate – 95% of respondents to a local council survey said they want to opt out. Close to 4000 responses were received from Waimakariri residents in just three weeks, which shows the degree of local engagement in this issue.

"If the Government really wants to hear from regional New Zealanders they need to come and talk to some of those respondents, however they have declined my invitation to come to Waimakariri. While disappointing, this is hardly surprising.

"The Auditor-General’s recent submission paints a dim view of things when he says Labour’s water entities cannot be held to account by ratepayers like local authorities are, nor can they be held accountable by Parliament because they are not Crown entities.

"The AG is right when he says this makes direct accountability to their respective communities more important. I share his concerns about whether these mechanisms will be sufficient to enable comprehensive and effective public scrutiny and accountability."