Incoming Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown advises Watercare 'all work on Three Waters should stop'

Wayne Brown.
Wayne Brown. Photo credit: Newshub.

Incoming Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has written to Watercare, advising that "all work on Three Waters should stop".

During the mayoral campaign, Brown indicated he would say a "hard no" to the arrangements and that an Auckland Council he leads wouldn't accept "the changes imposed by Wellington" to Three Waters.

Now, he said he's written to Watercare chairperson Margaret Devlin and Auckland Council CEO Jim Stabback, saying he promised during the election campaign to stop the proposal.

"Central Government's Three Waters proposal was opposed by the previous mayor and Auckland Council governing body and is opposed by the new ones - and I promised in the election campaign to stop it," Brown said.

"The proposal has not been passed by Parliament and after last weekend's local government elections throughout the country has no chance of proceeding this side of next year's general election."

Brown said it isn't in the best interests of Watercare, its shareholder, or its customers for it to spend any more money on the "doomed" proposal.

"What money Watercare or Auckland Council might have spent on Three Waters should be returned to Auckland households in the form of lower water charges and rates than would otherwise be charged," he said.

In his letter to Devlin, Brown wrote he had "several important priorities and expectations" he wanted to bring to her attention.

"A major issue for you is central Government's so-called Three Waters proposal. Auckland Council does not support the Three Waters reforms. Previous Councillors voted overwhelmingly for that position, as did each of Auckland's 21 local boards. The incoming Mayor and governing body are opposed to the reforms," he said.

"In more than 300 campaign events, I detected no support for it at all among Aucklanders. I promised in the election campaign to stop it.

"As Mayor, I expect that you will not be unnecessarily spending your resources on assisting or preparing for Three Waters reforms that are unlikely to happen. That is also true of Auckland Council to which I have given the same advice."

Also in his letter, he wrote about his concerns about progress on the Central Interceptor project, a super-sized tunnel which will reduce wastewater overflows into central Auckland waterways.

The first Three Waters Bill is set to pass before the end of the year, with the entities to begin operations in July 2024.