Have you noticed the deafening silence on 3 Waters from HB political ‘leaders’ lately?
In case you haven’t noticed, Queenstown, a major international tourist gateway, to say nothing of ‘home’ to its 40,000 local residents, has been under a ‘boil water’ regime. That’s a real image builder.
Why? Because the water is a public health hazard – bacterial infection. Why? Because the local council didn’t have (or allocate) the money to take proper care.
Sound familiar Havelock North?
In case you haven’t noticed, Auckland has been spewing sewage into its Bay for days now, and will continue to do so.
Why? Pipes bursting – insufficient funds to upgrade decrepit water infrastructure.
As a result, Aucklanders have been warned that rates may rise by 13% and water bills by 20% next year. That follows a 7.7% increase this year. Leading Mayor Wayne Brown to lash National’s plan to scrap Labour’s 3 Waters reforms because National has given no accounting as to how it will ‘assist’ local governments to bear the staggering cost of 3 Waters infrastructure upgrade.
The price tag for 1st World local water infrastructure is $185 billion over 30 years.
Don’t worry, we’ll help out, says National vaguely. Take that to the bank … or hospital.
Meantime, CHB District Council, with a previous history of neglect and bad decision-making about its water infrastructure, just received $2.5 million from the Government to help protect the water supply of around 3,200 people in Waipawa and Otāne. Said CHB Mayor Alex Walker:
“Delivering everything we are tasked with is becoming an increasingly unsustainable and unrealistic challenge for our ratepayers to fund which means making some difficult decisions about when and how we deliver key projects. We are tasked with servicing the debt Council already holds, and spreading additional spend over time, to lessen the burden on a single generation.
“Funding such as this is a huge step in the right direction – it gives us the ability to deliver a reliable and safe drinking water supply to the communities of Waipawa and Otāne. We are so thankful for a partnership which allows us to secure access to a vital water source.”
You better cash that cheque quickly Mayor Alex!
If the polls are accurate, New Zealanders are facing three years of core service cutbacks … and our local councils are facing balance sheet disaster.
Which will ultimately hit you, dear reader/ratepayer.
Not to worry, though, National is going to cure this and all our ills, and apparently it won’t cost a dime … in fact, we’ll get tax relief.
Yet have you heard a single Hawke’s Bay mayor or local elected ‘leader’ raise their voice against National’s infrastructure idiocy? Even grateful Mayor Alex?
But you can be sure that on Monday October 16 we’ll get a joint media release from our councils, joined by MPs Wedd and Nimon at the photo opp, re-assuring us that they will be “totally united” and “vigorously advocating”, no doubt even hiring consultants to help out, to see that HB’s water infrastructure gets whatever crumbs might be available.
It’s not too soon to start boiling your water.