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Source: Taxpayers Union

Reform step in right direction, but real risk of gold plating
The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the proposed removal of water services from local councils, but says that the new ‘Rolls Royce’ drinking quality standards risk lumping communities with the enormous costs of engineers’ gold plating.Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “These reforms are well overdue.  Year after year we have been seeing small councils get into trouble mismanaging once-in-a-generation infrastructure decisions.  With more scale, those mistakes should be less likely to be made.”“But putting engineers in charge isn’t always the best for the community.  There is a real risk than sensible risk management is trumped by risk avoidance and gold plating.  That is especially true in models where there is cross-subsidisation to support small rural water schemes.”“It is also concerning that the Government is trying to spin this as some sort of job creation mechanism.  What a cop out.  The objective must be to provide quality infrastructure at the lowest possible cost to communities.  Hopefully the reference to jobs is just spin.  The water works should not be a make-work scheme.”“We look forward to getting into the finer detail of these proposals and ensuring that ratepayers and taxpayers get a fair deal from these reforms, but at first glance, this looks very promising.”