Three waters reform isn’t dead and buried with a change in Government, Ashburton’s Mayor Neil Brown says.
“Three waters reform is not dead, it is just going to be done differently.”
As politicians begin wheeling and dealing to seal the balance of power after the election, it’s business as usual for local government.
At least while they await the new direction from the incoming National-led Government.
“There will be a few things set to change, and Three Waters is probably the biggest one,” Brown said.
“National have said they would repeal it as soon as they could and start work on what the reforms should look like in conjunction with councils."
National has a 100-day action plan that includes scrapping Labour’s affordable water reforms, featuring a co-governed mega-entities model.
Under National's plan, councils will retain the ownership of water assets under stronger government oversight, including requiring councils to put aside money for water infrastructure.
Another big piece of legislation in National’s sights is the Resource Management Act reforms.
“What’s drafted is not what most people want and work needs to be done on that to make it more acceptable,” Brown said.
Following the election results, Brown contacted new Rangitata MP James Meager to congratulate him and thanked outgoing MP Jo Luxton for her support. Luxton is in line to remain in Parliament as a Labour list MP.
He also sent messages to incoming Prime Minister Chris Luxon and the likely new Transport Minister Simeon Brown.
The two Browns will be set to discuss the plans for Ashburton’s second bridge, a project National has committed to starting in its first term.
The Labour Government included the bridge in the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport.
National will issue its own revised draft to incorporate its roads of national significance and public transport projects.
Given National's election pledge to build the second bridge, mayor Brown was confident it will stay there.
“The existing draft GPS lines up with what National promised so there shouldn’t be any tinkering there.”
All the work has been done for the second bridge project to hopefully start next year, he said.
“All that needs to be done is the detailed design and go out for tender.
“It shouldn’t take too much time but it won’t start until after July 1 next year when the new GPS comes in.”
National has also promised to work on replacing the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022.
That could result in a change to the rules that forced the council to impose 30kph permanent speed areas outside of urban schools.
National could introduce 30kph limits within specific timeframes, which isn’t currently an option, Brown said.
By Jonathan Leask