You are currently viewing Three Waters causes concerns for candidates
The Plains candidates for Hauraki District Council at the Meet the Candidates event in Ngātea. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Three Waters causes concerns for candidates

Candidates vying for votes in the Hauraki Plains all raised concerns about the Government’s Three Waters Reform, fearing a loss of local jobs and control.
A Meet the Candidates event, hosted by Positively Promoting the Plains, was held in Ngātea last week for Hauraki District Council Plains ward candidates and Waikato Regional Council Waihou ward candidates.
Just two regional council contenders were in attendance – Ben Dunbar-Smith, and Robert Cookson – while six of the seven Plains ward candidates – Ray Broad, Phillip Buckthought, Stephen Crooymans, Neil Gray, Megan Sargent, and Luke van Vliet were on-hand to answer a “‘lucky dip’ draw of questions.
Among them was: “What are your views on local government and Three Waters?”
The theme among the candidates was one of “concern”.
Ray Broad, hoping for a second term on council, said he had been against Three Waters since “day one” – largely due to the fact that job losses within the district would be on the horizon.
Phillip Buckthought, also a standing councillor, said council staff had done “a pretty good” job of maintaining its water assets. They have to, he said, because the farming community was “totally reliant on it”.
Stephen Crooymans said Three Waters had three parts: the cost, the jurisdiction, and the future.
Neil Gray preferred Three Waters didn’t happen. Living on the Plains for the past 60 years, he said he’d been drinking “beautiful, fresh water every day” of his life.
“It might get a bit discoloured every now and again, but I can live with that because I know when I turn the tap on, the water will be there.”
Megan Sargent said something needed to be done to stop the country’s waterways becoming more polluted. Whether Three Waters was the right way to do that was “certainly up for debate”.
Luke van Vliet said he was not in favour of the current set-up of Three Waters. The Hauraki district as a whole had “pretty good water” compared to other places in New Zealand, he said.
Ben Dunbar-Smith, vying for one of two seats on Waikato Regional Council’s Waihou ward, said he was standing to oppose Three Waters and had resigned from his job in order to do so.
“We’re in a crisis. We’re having things stolen from us. Our democracy is being stolen; we’ve had no consultation on this issue. We have to fight back.”
Three Waters encompasses drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater, and the central government reform would aggregate the water service delivery into four entities nationwide.
DETAILS: Four candidates will be chosen to represent the Plains ward of Hauraki District Council at the local body elections on October 8. To learn more about your Hauraki candidates, visit: For Waikato Regional Council candidates, visit: