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The Advertising Standards Authority chooses the government’s Three Waters advertising despite seven complaints


“Do you imagine Aotearoa without good water? That would be rude, yes? So we’re working with the councils to make sure this doesn’t really happen,” says ad spokeswoman Thor: Ragnarok actress Rachel House.

“Instead of carrying this burden now, let’s bring it together to keep everyone on the path to better all-round water.”

When the ad first aired on television, then national team chairman Judith Collins criticized it for being inaccurate and told Magic Talk, “We saw a fake news campaign by the government claiming that drinking water was full Mud and so be other kinds of mud. “

A DIA spokesman told Newshub when the ad asked people to imagine New Zealand without good water “rather than trying to document the current state” of the water.

The ASA received seven official complaints about the complaint, including from an unnamed district councilor, describing it as “propaganda,” “scare tactics,” “full of misinformation” and “improper use of taxpayers’ money.”

The ASA “acknowledged the complainants’ concerns that the ad was scaremongering and misleading and omitted information about the potential impact on tariffs and community property ownership”.

But it decided, “As part of advocacy advertising, the ad was not misleading or offensive, and did not cause fear or distress for no reason.”

Why three waters?

The government believes reforms are necessary.

A report by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland estimates that New Zealand will need to invest between $ 120 billion and $ 185 billion in water infrastructure over the next 30 years to meet standards and ensure future population growth.

The reforms are expected to increase GDP by $ 14 billion to $ 23 billion over the next 30 years and create an estimated 6,000 to 9,000 jobs.

The government tried to make reform easier for the councils by announcing a whopping $ 2.5 billion package in July to ensure that water resources restructuring is not just “not worse” but “better off”. be.

A key part of the reforms is what is known as “balance sheet segregation”, which essentially means that the water companies, although owned by the councils, are financially independent, so the financial position of the councils does not affect the financial position of the council entities and vice versa.

Work is underway to set up a working group made up of experts from the local government, iwi and the water industry to develop design elements. The group will work to examine the governance and accountability regimes of the institutions and provide an opportunity for public participation.

The Cabinet has also mandated DIA to set up a unit that will focus on implementing the reforms. It will work with local government, iwi, the water industry and other stakeholders to “ensure a smooth transition”.


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