Chch mayor apologises to Iwi, won’t answer questions on three water reforms

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 05, 2022 |

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has apologised to local Iwi after the council didn’t consult with them on joining a community advocacy group that is against water reforms.

But Dalziel won’t comment on the fallout or whether she supports the Government’s water reforms.

In December, the Christchurch City Council agreed to sign up to a partnership of councils opposing the Government’s mandated approach to three waters reform.

Communities 4 Local Democracy represents 31 district and city councils.

Te Maire Tau, chair of the Ngāi Tahu freshwater group Te Kura Taka Pini

Te Maire Tau, who is the chair of the Ngāi Tahu freshwater group Te Kura Taka Pini told Newsroom “we don’t like Communities 4 Local Democracy. And simply one of the reasons is they haven’t engaged, but we’re also quite aware of quite racist comments that have been coming through from them.”

Ngāi Tahu is against the group and reportedly wrote to South Island councils warning them their partnership would be jeopardised if councils continued to support Communities 4 Local Democracy in opposing the Three Waters reforms.

In a report to council due to be heard this week, Lianne Dalziel said “concerns were raised last year by Ngā Papatipu Rūnanga, who questioned the Council’s commitment to our relationship with each other.”

“After listening to their concerns, I acknowledged that we couldn’t move forward while this remained unresolved.”

“I have apologised in writing to Te Maire Tau as co -chair of the committee for not consulting with him or the committee before Council considered the decision to join the advocacy group of councils opposing the Three Waters Reforms (they didn’t have a name at the time).”

“We have raised the inadequacy of the clause that addresses the Impact on Mana Whenua Ngā Whai Take Mana Whenua several times before, and the Chief Executive is now preparing a change to the Standing Orders to prevent this from occurring again.”

Former Christchurch mayor Garry Moore

“I became aware of the potential damage to the relationship when Te Kura Taka Pini (the Ngāi Tahu freshwater group) issued a statement about C4LD in January. I was also copied into correspondence addressed to C4LD by Te Maire Tau. This has not been referred to or addressed by Council.”

Lianne Dalziel stays silent on water reforms

Today the mayor was asked to comment on whether she supports C4LD following Ngāi Tahu’s concerns.

Dalziel refused to comment, and her office referred all questions back to her forthcoming council report.

In an interview on local radio, the mayor wouldn’t comment specifically on whether she supported Government reforms, leaving the host with the impression, that she’d “changed her mind.”

However, former Christchurch mayor Garry Moore has commented publicly.

In his online Tuesday Club forum, he expressed frustration at being labelled a racist.

“I’ve found quite disconcerting having worked closely with Ngāi Tahu since 1984, that a number of us who are promoting a regional model are being labelled racist because we disagree with Iwi, and we’re saying, we actually agree with your motivation, but we disagree with your solution.”

C4LD chair and Manawatu Mayor Helen Worboys said “it’s now widely accepted that the Government’s ‘one size fits none’ model won’t deliver the lasting, long term change needed in the three waters sector, it is only guaranteed to last as long until the next change in government. This is not a recipe for delivering a stable investment climate.” 

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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