Wairoa's mayor has lashed out at the Government's massive Three Waters reforms, saying he believes it will be the "end of local democracy as we know it".
The Government is now reforming the country's drinking, storm and wastewater delivery. Currently, individual councils are responsible for their water assets.
Hawke's Bay's mayors had been pushing for joint collaboration on Three Waters - wastewater, stormwater and drinking water - after the fatal Havelock North water crisis.
In November, the region's four mayors issued a joint press release, welcoming the Government's plan to intervene in Three Waters infrastructure and $50 million in funding allocated to get the region started.
But, since then Little, in particular, has become increasingly vocal in his concerns about the reforms.
A report by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) released on Wednesday showed the bill for water infrastructure in New Zealand over the next 30 years has grown to up to $185 billion.
The report said that, without reform, average annual household water bills in 2051 could be up to $13,900.
But under a system with just five three waters providers, those figures range from $800 to $1800 and with three providers, the range is $800 to $1600.
It also said reform supports the creation of 5900 to 9300 additional new jobs.
But Little said he was far from convinced and was concerned autonomy and jobs would be removed from his small, rural community.
Alongside the three waters reform, he is also concerned about the local impact of the Resource Management Act reform.
"There's not going be a lot left for local government," Little said.
"That's what really worries me and then that's the end of local democracy as we know it and that's a real concern."
He believes the Government needs to talk to each individual council, "and don't get the views just of the mayor", each iwi and community in every district about their individual water needs.
"They'll say we've got a picture of the assets that's all we need ... they need to understand what we do."
Currently, Wairoa has 12-13 staff who are directly connected to water, whether that's council staff or contractors.
Despite the report's job forecasts, he is concerned that over time, in order to save money, local staff in Wairoa would be lost in a belief Wairoa could be serviced out of Gisborne and the other parts of Hawke's Bay.
"In a big weather event, an earthquake or anything, we will be the last off the rank to get fixed.
"Presently we get fixed straight away with our staff."
Setting up a national regulator "that feeds the needs of each community and funds it accordingly," is the ideal solution in Little's eyes.
"But that won't happen because the Government's already made their minds up.
"Originally the Government was talking about councils being to opt in or opt out, now they're saying it will be very unlikely we will be able to opt out.
"That's not democracy to me."
Little said he was losing trust in the Government and felt the reform process was being rushed.
"The Government doesn't do things very well anyway, we just need to look at children living in poverty, housing.
"How the hell are they going to do water?"
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was waiting for more detail from the Government about what it would mean for individual councils before having a conversation with the community.
Having "one of the largest water teams across the region" in Hastings, she believed there will still be "a huge amount of work for local government," but understood the concerns smaller councils had.
"That's why I was always really in support of us as a region, as five councils, looking at how we could address the three waters ourselves, as a region with the Government in partnership. My views on that haven't changed."
Hazlehurst said the cost to meet three waters standards was too high for ratepayers and councils alone.
She said councils would have the opportunity to opt in or out.