A Dannevirke identity claims projected figures by the Government, if Tararua District Council chose to opt out of Three Waters reform, are verging on "scaremongering".
Honeybourne Stud owner Richard Parker, a local identity and former district council candidate, spoke on the controversial reform during the public forum at this week's council meeting.
The Government's figures show a projection of average annual local government costs per household to be $9504 by 2031 should the council opt-out.
That was compared to $1595 under the Government reform. "It was a bit disturbing to read," Parker said.
Council's projections were that by 2031, the average cost per household would be $1785.
"There's a tremendous difference."
Parker said it was "almost scaremongering".
"Because that's going to frighten the people in this area who'll say: 'Crikey, we've got to go along with the Government because what the council's saying is it's going to be so costly that we just have to go along with the new scheme'."
He said that was more likely those who weren't paying attention and were not aware that those projected figures had been come up with by the Government and not the council.
"It's not making it loud and clear."
Parker also noted that Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta had been reported as saying she wouldn't rule out legislating to force council to sign up.
"That's a complete smack at democracy," he said.
"New Zealand should relish our democracy and we cannot let that dear lady get away with that sort of thing."
Parker said the council had been asking a lot of questions on the reform.
"They're very good questions. Are we going to get answers? Do the know the answers, is the big thing.
"I don't really know where we're going. Some people are now saying it would be best for the Government to back off and rethink."
Mayor Tracey Collis said the paper did show Tararua projections and Government projections and asked if that was not enough of a disclaimer for readers to understand.
Parker said he didn't think so.
"It's not explained. How did they arrive at these figures? Are they going to tell us?"
He felt the figures were nothing more than a guess.
Councillor Shirley Hull said that people would understand that it was a "desktop assumption".
Councillor Peter Johns agreed with Parker.
"Effectively it is scaremongering. People look at headlights. They don't look at the small print."
He said some people would concentrate on the figure of $9500.
"It'll scare the living daylights out of them."