Local Government Magazine
Water services reform

Water reform – the Government’s perspective

So far, the Government proposes four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure across the country.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta claims  the move will save ratepayers thousands of dollars. “It’s estimated New Zealand will need to invest between $120 billion and $185 billion to maintain safe, sustainable and environmentally appropriate drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure over the next 30 years – costs that most local councils simply can’t shoulder on their own,” she says.

“Without these changes DIA modelling shows that even at the more conservative end of estimates, the average household bill for water services could be as high as $1900 to $9000 by 2051, which would be unaffordable for many communities,” she calims.

“Under our proposal for four providers those figures range from $800 to $1640, saving households thousands of dollars,” says Mahuta who also released information showing how the reforms will affect each council and the projected costs for their communities with and without three waters reform.

Over a wider scale, as thew country undertakes its economic recovery, these four entities will not only ensure the upgrade of infrastructure but provide local jobs while contributing to regional economies, she adds. These reforms indicate they will grow our GDP by $14 billion to $23 billion over the next 30 years and generate 5850 to 9260 full-time equivalent jobs.

At present, 67 councils provide most of the country’s three waters services, a system that is in too many cases ineffective, inefficient, and not fit for purpose, says Mahuta, and a future ‘three waters reform support package’ for councils and their communities is on its way.

“Now that Councils have received this data they can now assess the impact of these proposed reforms. We now need to ensure that ratepayers and households understand the beneficial health, environmental and cost impacts so we can move forward with greater confidence.”

More information: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme.


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