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More information needed on water reform

1 July 2021

Thursday 21 July 2021

Mayor Rehette Stoltz says more consideration is needed to fully understand the information provided by Government on the proposed three waters reform.

Government is proposing to establish four publicly-owned water services entities to provide storm water, wastewater and drinking water services across the country.

The proposal includes Tairāwhiti with districts in the eastern and lower North Island including Hawkes Bay, lower parts of the Manawatū-Whanganui and Wellington regions, as well as the local authorities at the top of the South Island (Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough).

Mayor Stoltz said Council requires more detail on the proposal before a decision can be made, including whether being part of the reform is optional.

“What the Government is telling us is that if we don’t opt into this reform, ratepayers in Tairāwhiti will be paying up to $8690 each per year for water services, compared with $1260 if we do opt in,” she said.

“We need to understand how Government arrived at these numbers, so we’ve got some work to do to know the rationale that was applied.

“Our water infrastructure is a priority in our 2021-31 Long Term Plan and the Government figures don’t take into consideration the investment we’re making here.”

Without reform, the Government estimates the country would need between $120bn and $185bn of investment into water services.

“Together with our treaty partners and wider community, we need to understand the impact these reforms will have on our people in the long-term. The dashboard gives a set of numbers, but there’s a bigger picture we need to consider.”