Groundswell co-founders haven't read Three Waters bill they're against

A Groundswell protest.
A Groundswell protest. Photo credit: Newshub.

The co-founders of Groundswell admit they have not read the Three Waters legislation they are so vehemently against.

Three Waters is the Government's plan to establish four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater from 67 local councils. 

Under the Three Waters model, local councils will remain the owners of their water assets but will not have control over them.

The groups must be made up of a 50-50 split of council members and local iwi - a co-governance arrangement and one of the most controversial aspects of the plan.

Last week, Parliament introduced the first piece of legislation setting out the reform programme called the Water Services Entities Bill. 

On Wednesday afternoon, more than 300 people gathered at the Gore Town and Country Club to voice their opposition to the Government's proposed reforms - but many had not read the bill.

Groundswell co-founders Laurie Paterson and Bryce McKenzie told RNZ they also haven't read the proposed legislation. However, Paterson says, nonetheless, they're opposed to what's on the table.

"We're not against Three Waters reform necessarily, we just think that this is crazy what they're [government] doing," Paterson said in an interview with RNZ.

He said he didn't have time at the moment to read the Water Services Entities Bill, but wants the councils to have a referendum in their areas to allow the ratepayers to have their say.

"We think that the people, that are the ratepayers, that put the asset their need to have a say whether it goes or not."

Paterson insisted they have tried to get people to get a grasp of what's happening with the Bill.

"We just think it could be much simpler and much better," he said.