Auckland Council is reaffirming their opposition to the Three Waters Reform in its latest Water Services Entities Bill submission.
The Water Services Entities Bill is the first of three bills under the reform and sets out the governance design for the entities.
The council report discussed at the Governing Body meeting on June 23 said water services entities will have two tiers of governance; a regional representative group and a corporate governance group.
The regional representative group that Auckland is apart of encompasses Auckland and Northland; with 14 representatives with an equal number of mana whenua and council representatives.
The 14 members would be comprised of four Auckland Council representatives, four Tāmaki Makaurau iwi representatives, one representative each from the Northland councils and three iwi representatives from Te Tai Tokerau.
Councillors voted to support drafting a submission on the bill with strong criticism for the lack of Auckland representation, a lack of evidence that the reform would be efficient and a lack of control over Aucklanders' investments.
Cr John Watson said Aucklanders had been told water bills could fall as low as $803 by 2051 but there was no commitment from government to those figures.
“Aucklanders have been overwhelmingly opposed to this… We need to express the concerns of Aucklanders,” Watson said. “We are losing control over assets that have been built up by generations. Even in that representation group, Auckland’s role is diluted down to an insignificant group.”
Watson said government had been trying to sell the reform but was concerned government was not tied to a commitment.
Cr Wayne Walker said it was important for council to continue opposing the reform.
“The only way I can do that is voting against anything to do with it,” Walker said. “Our council could have and should have taken a stronger leadership role and more vociferously opposed the reform.”
Walker said the reform was “essentially undemocratic”.
Mayor Phil Goff pushed back against Walker’s comments.
“I do not agree one iota with your position that we have not taken a leadership position on this,” Goff said.
Cr Desley Simpson said 77 percent of Aucklanders supported council’s position in a survey from December last year.
“We have to prove to Aucklanders that we are doing everything down to the wire to oppose this,” Simpson said. “We have one last chance to put our facts to the right people.”
The Governing Body voted in support of developing councils' submission.
Cr Tracy Mulholland, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, Wayne Walker and John Watson voted against it.