Grant Robertson’s apparent hole doesn’t exist - at least as it relates to Three Waters Alternative
Grant Robertson’s claim that there is a ‘hole’ in the funding as of a result of scraping Three Waters is nonsense on stilts.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:
“Grant Robertson is trying to frame opponents of Three Waters - including the National Party - as not having an alternative. Nonsense. There is an off the shelf solution that has the broad backing of the countries largest two councils, Communities4Local Democracy, the Taxpayers’ Union, and ACT. The National Party’s policy is nearly identical.
“Unlike Three Waters, the Local Water Infrastructure Bill, doesn’t just splash cash and bureaucracy. No government funding is required within the budget forecast period, and any that subsequently is needed requires disciplined analysis showing investment is justified before amounts are committed - similar to the tests for investment Transpower is subject to.
“The only hole here seems to be Grant Robertson’s knowledge about the alternative to Labour expensive, bureaucratic, undemocratic Three Waters.”
Cost for water utilities and for communities depends on how much investment is needed and how much has been delayed. That differs from council to council.
But the government has promoted unrealistic estimates of costs and promoted the idea that somehow essential upgrades and replacements can only be afforded if everything is centralised and overseas savers’ funds can be accessed to pay for our water services. Castalia says that the investment plans for water infrastructure of most of the sample of councils they have audited appear prudent and readily fundable. They found that the consultants engaged by DIA wildly overstated investment needs.
As Castalia explains it “the government has assumed that one factor, scale, will deliver fantastical cost savings. This is plain wrong and the international evidence confirms this. Because the government’s consultants could claim such big cost savings from scale, they were able to include enormous estimates of needed capital expenditure”.