Mayor Allan Sanson today welcomed the release of information about central government's water reform agenda that proposes to establish four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure across New Zealand, saving ratepayers thousands of dollars.
“Waikato District Council looks forward to continuing to work with central government and neighbouring local authorities on the future of three water services, which we know from modelling through our long-term plan are rapidly becoming unaffordable for our communities," he said.
“We are well placed as a district to enter a period of future change because we are ahead of the curve. Reform is not new to us. We’ve been ahead of the curve in finding innovative solutions to our three water’s challenges, as evidenced by our partnership with Watercare and iwi in 2019,” he said.
The key features of the proposals are that water services would be delivered by four entities from 1 July 2024. This includes drinking water, wastewater treatment and disposal, and stormwater. The Waikato district area would be part of ‘Entity B’, an area that includes Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, and northern Manawatū-Whanganui.
Our Council has received information about the proposals which we will be working through to form a view. This includes three cabinet papers (now public) that record central government’s thinking to date, and a set of information specific to the Council that shows the impact of the proposals on the Council and community.
These are high level decisions about the number of entities, the boundaries, their organisation form and their governance. A lot of the more operational aspects are still being worked through and will be resolved as legislation is developed.
There will be further announcements from central government in mid-July. We are aware that the new entities would officially begin operating from 1 July 2024. Local authorities would remain responsible for these services up to that point.