Community views wanted on government’s proposed Three Waters Reform
South Taranaki District Council is asking the community to share their views on the future of three waters by completing a short survey.
The government is currently proposing significant changes to the delivery of three waters (stormwater, wastewater and drinking water) including the creation of four publicly owned entities covering the whole country to deliver these services.
For South Taranaki District this would mean our three waters assets (as well as the debt attached to the assets) would be taken over by a new entity that would include councils across the Waikato (including Hamilton), Bay of Plenty (including Tauranga and Whakatāne) and Taranaki Regions and the Ruapehu, Whanganui and Rangatīkei Districts.
The Government has outlined a process for councils to follow, which includes a period of full consultation with the community. However, we are not at that point yet. The stage we are currently at is one of analysing and assessing the government’s proposal and the impacts on local communities. Every council has until the end of September to do this.
South Taranaki District Mayor Phil Nixon says while this is a government-led proposal, and Council doesn’t have all the information yet, it is important to include the community’s feedback at this stage in the process.
“While the government has said formal consultation will come later, we think it’s important to get our community’s initial thoughts on the proposal at this stage, as that will help us assess local impacts and concerns,” says Mayor Nixon.
“The Government believes it has established a compelling ‘case for change’ based on the financial requirements needed over the next thirty years to upgrade and manage the nation’s three waters infrastructure to meet increasing health and environmental standards. They say the amount of investment needed would be almost impossible for councils to fund on their own, so some kind of change is needed.
“What we do know is that compliance costs for three waters will increase significantly over time so a key consideration for us is whether we are prepared to pay higher rates to keep ownership and control of these assets or do we potentially pay lower rates (as suggested by the government’s modelling) by spreading the cost out across a wider area but see the ownership and control of these assets sit with central government.”
“Our Council has a number of questions and concerns about the proposal and this survey will help us better understand the community’s views on this balance of keeping costs affordable for households and retaining the delivery of three waters within council.
After this, the government has said they will consider next steps, including the process and timing for decision-making and consultation.
To fill out the survey click here.
The survey closes on 29 September.