Council Calls For Collaboration On Three Waters Reform Proposal – Kapiti Coast District Council

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Kāpiti Coast District Councillors met yesterday to discuss the Government’s Three Waters Reform proposal and are calling for the Government to work constructively with the local government sector on simpler solutions for delivering better water outcomes for communities.

Mayor K Gurunathan says the delivery of three waters – drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater – is incredibly complex and we have real concerns about the proposal.

“Kāpiti has a proven track record of managing its three water assets effectively and planning for future growth. In fact, our approach to demand management and long-term sustainable provision of potable water to the community was highlighted by the Office of the Auditor General in 2018 as being an exemplar of best practice.

“We’ve carried out our due diligence over the past eight weeks and, while we support the need to achieve better outcomes for our community and NZ Inc., it would be remiss of us not to challenge the Government’s proposed model as it does not accurately reflect the Kāpiti situation.”

Under the Government’s proposals to amalgamate the water services of 67 councils nationally into four water service entities, control of most of the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s $548 million three waters assets are to be transferred to Water Service Entity C.

Water Service Entity C covers an area from Gisborne in the North to Tasman in the South and would service around 1 million connections.

“This is a big deal for Kāpiti as our ratepayers have invested a lot in our three waters assets over the years and we have a robust programme in place, with budgets attached, to ensure we meet our community’s needs both now and into the future at an affordable cost.

“Issues such as representation for an on behalf of mana whenua, prioritisation of investment and alignment with individual council priorities and local planning processes, transitional arrangements, how our community voice will be heard within the proposed new entities, and what influence councils will have in setting strategic direction and levels of service are all valid concerns that need to be addressed,” the Mayor says.

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“We acknowledge that every councils’ circumstances will be different, and some will need to find new ways to ensure they can afford to deliver and invest in their three water assets in the future. However, we’re not convinced a one-size-fits-all approach is needed.

“The Government already has some tools at its’ disposal, for example Taumata Arowai and funding mechanisms, and we’re up for working collaboratively with the Government to come up with a model that is fit for purpose and serves our communities well. The Government’s proposal is overly complex and would be difficult to implement. Our suggestions are for a far more simple set of responses.

“Council has directed the Chief Executive to provide our feedback to the Government and we look forward to receiving a report once further information and guidance is received from the Government on what the next steps for working with the sector and our communities will look like.”