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Better-off funding

The Government has developed a package of $2.5 billion to support all territorial authorities transition to the new water services delivery system, and to position councils for the future. The funding is designed to ensure that local authorities are supported through the transition process of three waters reform, the financial impacts of reform are managed and, importantly, all councils and communities will transition to the new system for delivering three waters services in a better position than they are now.

The better-off component of the support package is to support the three waters service delivery reform objectives and other local wellbeing outcomes in a manner consistent with the priorities of both central and local government. It is an investment by the Crown into the future for local government and community wellbeing.

Application timeline

Councils will be required to demonstrate that the use of this funding supports the three waters service delivery reform objectives and other local wellbeing outcomes and aligns with the priorities of central and local government, through meeting all or some of the following criteria:

• supporting communities to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy, including building resilience to climate change and natural hazards;

• delivery of infrastructure and/or services that:

  1. enable housing development and growth, with a focus on brownfield and infill development opportunities where those are available,
  1. support local place-making and improvements in community well-being.

Councils are eligible for the first tranche of funding from the Three Waters Better Off package from 1 July 2022 and able to apply for their share of the better-off package between March 2022 and September 2022.

Councils will have up to 5-years to utilize the funding. Under the better-off funding, Waikato District Council has been allocated a total of $31, 531, 126. Tranche 1 represents $7.88 million, with the remainder available from 1 July 2024, at the anticipated establishment of new water service entities.

The Department of Internal Affairs has provided councils with three working documents that we have used to develop the application process.

Working Documents from Department of Internal Affairs

More information on the funding package can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website.

Our approach to better off funding

Waikato District Council are conducting an engagement and application process with communities across the district to apply for the tranche 1 Better Off Funding we have been allocated of $7.88 million.

We encourage applications from any community groups/iwi/hapū/not-for-profits who meet the following criteria:

  1. Taha Wairua – Resilience and adaptation of ecosystems to aid community connectivity
    1. Kia toitū te whakawhitinga ki te whakaheke i te ōhanga o te puha kia pūmau ki te huringa o te āhua o ngā rangi
      Identify opportunities to improve energy efficient buildings, energy efficient transportation and projects that assist in the reduction of carbon emissions.
    2. Kia toitū te whakawhitinga ki te whakaheke i te ōhanga o te puha kia pūmau ki ngā matepā o te taiao
      Identify the natural hazards (E.g. coastal erosion, flooding, earthquake) of our district and build community resilience to manage them.
  2. Taha Kikokiko – Enabling the development of infrastructure to provide community connectivity
    1. Kia āhei te hanga, ki te whakarahi ake i nga waahi whare hou
      Identify opportunities to enable growth of residential and commercial activity on undeveloped land.
    2. Kia āhei te hanga, ki te whakarahi i ngā waahi onāianei
      Identify opportunities to enable redevelopment and or revitalisation of existing residential and commercial areas to meet the changing needs of the community.
  3. Taha Whānau – When our communities are connected, our whanau thrive
    1. Hei awhina i te āhuatanga o te whakahaere, i te whakawhanake i te oranga o te hāpori
      Support local initiatives that improve community social and cultural well-being. 

An assessment panel comprising four Council Staff and four Iwi representatives from the north, east, south and west boundaries of the district has been formed for the Waikato District’s Better Off Funding process.

The panel will provide support to the community during the application process and assess the applications against the DIA’s criteria. The panel will then make a recommendation to Council as to which applications should be considered.

Waikato District Council will make an endorsement based off the panel’s recommendation for applications received.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) make the final decision on successful applications. All applicants will be notified by Waikato District Council upon decision by the DIA.

Key dates

  • Applications for the community are open from Monday 18 July – Friday 19 August 2022.
  • The assessment panel will triage applications against the DIA criteria from 22-25 August 2022.
  • A recommendation will be provided to Council from the assessment panel by 31 August 2022.
  • Council will make an assessment from the panel’s recommendations and provide a final report to the DIA by 30 September 2022.
  • The DIA will then conduct their assessment process (dates are TBC).
  • Applicants will be notified (dates are TBC).