Melody sales@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 021454814
Nadia n.lewis@xtra.co.nz 021677978
Reporting: Julia news@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 0274641673
 Accounts: Richard info@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 021678358



Fears acceptance of $16m funding package will remove council assets and gag criticism of Three Waters




5 Sept, 2022


thumbnail Green jug water tap-513As the imminent decision regarding acceptance of the Three Waters multi-million-dollar Better Off Funding Package (BOFP) looms, Kaipara District Council (KDC) elected members once again debated the controversial issue at the August 31 council meeting as well as a notice-of-motion from mayoral candidate, councillor Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock, regarding public engagement around the water reforms.

“The DIA [Department of Internal Affairs] states the $16 million is to be granted in recognition of the significance of the local government sector and communities they serve, ‘of the transfer of responsibility for water service delivery’,” she says. “I’m concerned that by council accepting this money and entering into a legally-binding agreement, we are also agreeing to transfer our assets including Brown Road farm, 132 hectares which has not been valued, the Thelma Road Mangawhai Community Park where the waste water treatment scheme sits, and potentially the golf course where the proposed disposal field is to be.”

Del la Varis-Woodcock believes if they accept the payout without consulting the community, ‘we are politically nullifying our ability to criticise the reform’.

“The community may like us to enter into this agreement, swapping $16 mill for $300 mill of assets, but we don’t know as they haven’t been asked which I believe is a failure of our legal responsibilities. It is crucial the council obtains the community’s opinion before entering into this agreement.”

Following discussion raised by deputy mayor Anna Curnow about the wording in del la Varis-Woodcock’s motion ‘compensation of the assets’, KDC general manager Jason Marris says the DIA confirmed the funding offered is not for the compensation of the district’s assets.

Del la Varis-Woodcock says that the majority of her constituents have asked her to fight the BOFP as they believe it undermines their ability to protest against Three Waters, and so that was what she was doing.

“My notice of motion asks council to very quickly use its social media communication channel to just ask the community what they want.”

Cr Jonathan Larsen agreed with del la Varis-Woodcock that as Three Waters is one of the most substantial issues council has had to deal with, ‘we have to represent the ratepayers’.

“I do believe we have time to consult with ratepayers which I think would be a good thing to do, it will build trust with the community.”

Curnow also agreed to community feedback although stated council already have done so through the Long-Term Plan consultation regarding the libraries proposed to be built from the BOFP.

“The DIA guideline specifically says that even by accepting the money, councils can still keep speaking out about Three Waters, this is simply a grant to assist our community who have asked for libraries and we would have the funds to build them,” she says. “There is nothing that ties this money to us supporting Three Waters, the communities I talk to want this support and are keen to resolve this issue.”

Stating he was totally opposed to the water reforms in its present format, Cr Peter Wethey says as long as councils have assurances from the DIA they will not be gagged and can still take a firm stand on Three Waters, believes it is ‘financially prudent management to accept the BOFP offer’.

Concurring with Curnow, Cr Eryn Wilson-Collins also acknowledged del la Varis-Woodcock for her passion, commitment and fighting for what she believed in, as did mayor Dr Jason Smith, who stated the other 31 councils of the Three Waters opposition group Communities 4 Local Democracy, which KDC are members of, have accepted the BOFP.

“They’re not denying this package… our staff have diligently looked through the BOFP and there is a short deadline for this $16 million application, September 30, and after which the offer is off the table,” he says. “The important point here is the notion that consulting with the community on the subject of the libraries has been extensive, the notions of what central government is doing, denies us so many opportunities here.”

The motion failed to pass seven to two.

n To view the full discussion, visit the KDC YouTube channel.



“The DIA guideline specifically says that even by accepting the money, councils can still keep speaking out about Three Waters, this is simply a grant to assist our community… There is nothing that ties this money to us supporting Three Waters…”

– Anna Curnow, Kaipara deputy mayor


Despite huge opposition to Three waters from around the country, Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith stated that the other 31 councils who are part of Communities 4 Local Democracy has accepted the Better Off Funding Package. PHOTO/JULIA WADE

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

For more information on distribution and circulation please 
click here



Contact Us





facebook   twitter   174855-378


Sales: 021 454814
Editorial: 027 4641673
Office: 021 678357