Three Waters dissidents descend on Parliament in attempt to stop reforms

Three Waters dissidents flooded Parliament on Wednesday to try and stop the reforms being forced on them.

First, a group representing 23 mayors showed up to tell politicians they oppose the reforms, then the farmers came to town and the Groundswell lobby group called for it to be dumped entirely.

The Government initially said Three Waters would be an opt-in system, but changed tune in July and decided to mandate it.

"Please pause, reset, and let us have that conversation because we all want the same outcomes," says Manawatū Mayor Helen Worboys.

The Groundswell group also lived up to its name with 3000 people signing their petition to dump Three Waters altogether.

"Shocked would be a good word for it - it's not the New Zealand way," says Groundswell co-founder Laurie Patterson.

But the Government is resolute in pushing on with Three Waters.

"The fact that a few number of councils have said we don't want reform doesn't justify not doing anything," says Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

Mahuta wrote to every party leader on Wednesday asking them to protect water services from privatisation. She also entrenched another safeguard - before an asset can be sold, it requires a supermajority of 75 percent of MPs' support.

"We really need to do something very different because 20 years of underinvestment in water infrastructure isn't good enough," Mahuta says.

The Opposition says it would support the promise not to privatise.

"Yes we would. The bigger issue there is I think the Government has misled the mayors," says National Party leader Christopher Luxon.

"We don't support the scheme but we would support that aspect of the scheme if it came into place," says ACT leader David Seymour.

The Three Waters legislation was meant to be introduced by the end of the year, but that's now been pushed back. However, the pushback against the reforms is not going anywhere.