Publication:

Bush Telegraph - 2021-11-22

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Tēnā koutou katoa

FOCUS ON FARMING

I am sure most people by now will aware of what the phrase ‘3 waters' means. For those that don't; it is the term used by local governments for drinking water, waste water and storm water. Government, through Minister Nanaia Mahuta has decided that Councils lack the ability and finance to provide quality services for both drinking water and waste water. She stated that Councils have under invested over many years resulting in what she describes as sub standard services. You will have seen her TV advertisements showing muddy, fetid water coming out of taps. Perhaps she doesn't realise that New Zealand is one of very few countries where people can reliably drink tap water anywhere in the country. Perhaps she, like many people has been conned into believing that buying bottled water, as is the norm throughout most of the world, is the only safe thing to do. If Government believes that the standards should be set higher, then Government should provide the money for councils to achieve that aim. Not blame councils for under investment. It is not necessary to take rate payer assets built up over the past 150 years and give them to four new ‘entities' in the belief that ‘bigger is better'. In my experience nothing could be further from the truth. Of particular concern is the loss of control we will have over our own destiny. Tararua District is growing for the first time in 60 years and we need to ensure that we can cope with increased demand for water, both residential and commercial. If decisions regarding priorities are to be made by some faceless body in Wellington or wherever the new entity is to be based, can we be assured that our needs will be acceded to. The chosen plan was apparently one of 30 considered by government, yet when asked what the other 29 were, no adequate reply has been forthcoming. One such option could be the system used for roading funding. Currently NZTA subsidise Council's roading costs using a Financial Assistance Rate (FAR). The FAR rates differ for councils depending on the size of a Council's roading network and others factors. In our case 70% is paid for by NZTA (government). It is a simple and easily understood system that does not require the assets to be taken over by NZTA. Council has indicated it's views on the matter quite strongly as have many others. We await the result of our submissions. Don't hold your breath. Noho ora mai, Peter Johns

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