News —

Member Jack Hodder QC appears in High Court on behalf of three local councils opposing Three Waters


July 18, 2022

On 7-8 June 2022, Chambers member Jack Hodder QC and junior Bridget McLay appeared in the Wellington High Court on behalf of three local councils seeking declarations in response to the Government’s controversial ‘Three Waters’ reform proposals. Taz Haradasa of Thorndon Chambers also appeared as second junior.

In the proceedings, Timaru, Waimakariri and Whangarei District Councils sought declarations regarding the long-standing role and meaning of local democratic accountability in New Zealand. The declarations seek confirmation that local government is an important part of our overall democratic society, that local authorities have orthodox property rights in their assets (but would have none under the restructuring proposals), and that the restructuring would remove the current democratic accountability for the management of Three Waters assets.

The councils submitted these rights and principles are of major legal and constitutional significance.

The proceeding was defended by the Crown. Justice Mallon reserved her decision.

Media coverage of the proceedings can be found here:

Councils ask court if they can get ‘full and fair’ compensation in water reforms — Stuff

Three councils make legal challenge on Three Waters — Business Desk

Councils tell Court Three Waters reforms could lead to other asset grabs — Stuff

High Court challenge to the Three Waters assets starts — NZ Herald

Crown argues councils opposing Three Waters reforms should not win in court — Stuff

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