Three Waters reforms were at the top of the agenda for the first Whanganui District Council meeting of 2022.
Manawatū District Mayor Helen Worboys spoke to the meeting as chairwoman of the Communities 4 Local Democracy Coalition which was formed in December last year in response to the Government's decision to make the Three Waters reforms mandatory.
Warboys was joined by consultant Malcolm Alexander, former chief executive of Local Government (LGNZ).
Warboys said 27 local authorities had now joined the coalition which does not support the status quo of Three Waters management and does support the new independent water regulator Taumata Arowai appointed in November.
"We are asking the Government for a pause," she said.
"We want reforms that work for everybody rather than a 'one size fits none model'."
The coalition has produced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which proposes to establish a working group to engage with the Government on alternate avenues regarding the reforms.
Councillor Rob Vinsen had proposed that Whanganui District councillors discuss the MOU at Tuesday's meeting; however, councillors voted to table it at its next meeting on March 22.
Mayor Hamish McDouall thanked Warboys and Alexander for their attendance and said he looked forward to further discussions on the coalition's concerns.
Vinsen said he believed that McDouall was compromised in his position as vice-president of LGNZ and that councils that were members of the coalition had "pulled away from LGNZ".
McDouall said LGNZ continued to represent all of New Zealand's 78 local authorities except for Timaru, which voted to leave the organisation last year.
Councillor Helen Craig said she was disappointed the council had not received answers to questions on Three Waters that were sent to the Government in September last year.
The questions had been referred to the Department of Internal Affairs and a spokesman for the department said a large number of questions from councils were being worked through.
"A number of those questions, including some from Whanganui District Council, are to do with issues of governance, accountability and representation which are currently under consideration by a working group of mayors and Māori representatives," he said.
"The working group will report back by February 28 with the Government making policy decisions in response to the group's recommendations before legislation is introduced."
He said those decisions would be communicated to local authorities and the public as soon as practicable.