‘Three Waters Reform Programme’ – what does it mean to you?’
This week we are keen to hear your thoughts on the Three Waters Reform Programme.
The methods of how to do so are at the bottom of this page, including some Zoom chats on Wednesday and Friday.
* These links below provide some background information on Three Waters Reform Programme, supplied by Central Government and associated bodies.
* HDC Key Issues with Central Government’s Three Waters Proposal:
- The WICS information contains several assumptions which are not relevant to the HDC context and indeed may not fit the NZ context. HDC has adjusted the WICS assumptions to fit the HDC context and the model produces significantly different outputs. If the assumptions made in the model are so wrong regarding the individual situation of this Council, how can the government or the people of New Zealand have any confidence in the rest of the modelling?
- There appears to be no consideration or understanding in the WICS modelling of rural water schemes which supply mainly stockwater, and where drinking water is a secondary benefit. How has this been considered in the governments three waters proposal?
- Until the drinking water standards are finalized, it is very difficult to come to any conclusions about the future cost of three waters services. It would be useful if DIA/Taumata Arowai provided some guidance on standards so that we could more accurately assess future infrastructure costs.
- One of the stated aims of the reform was to socialise the future costs of 3 water services to ensure affordability for all. The proposal to have four entities with different price structures does not achieve this goal. The future price of water for entity four is more than double that of entity one. Thus any business or household situated within the entity one boundary will have a significant advantage over those in entity four. Has there been any analysis of the impact of this with respect to future growth/development in the South Island?
- It has been stated that Councils will continue to own the 3 waters assets. Ownership is defined as having or possessing property and to have power or mastery over something. It is very difficult to see how Councils will continue to own assets when there is balance sheet separation and Councils have no power over those assets. How has the government defined the future ownership of the three water assets? If Council continues to own the assets, will Council be left with the debt on the assets?
- The role of the economic regulator is very unclear and therefore there is considerable risk associated with this uncertainty. Can the role and powers of the economic regulator be spelled out very clearly so that some analysis of risk (to water suppliers) posed by this position can be calculated? What is the role of the economic regulator in relation to private water supplies?
- There are approximately 800,000 people living within the takiwā boundary which delineates entity four. The Ngāi Tahu Whānui consists of approximately 60,000 members, with approximately half living in the South Island. The government has proposed that the new water entity four will have a co-governance structure whereby a Regional Representative Group will appoint an Independent Selection Panel which will appoint the directors of entity four. The only co-governance point is the Regional Representative Group which consists of six representatives appointed by Local Government and six representatives of mana whenua. This arrangement raises a number of questions.
- The government has no track record in delivering three waters services. Currently the services delivered by Councils have largely functioned to meet the needs of their communities, despite some regulatory failings. What evidence can the government provide to create confidence that our communities will continue to receive fit for purpose services into the future? Has there been any calculation of the economic costs likely to be incurred if this model fails to meet customer expectations?
- It appears that the reforms will have a significant impact on private water supplies. Government data underestimates the number of private water supplies likely to be captured in its framework and there appears to have been little or no communication with those private water suppliers. When and how does the government intend to address the communication deficit with these private suppliers?
- It has been recently proposed that the ownership of stormwater infrastructure will be split so that the new entities will take ownership of stormwater when it is in a pipe, but not when it is in an open drainage system. The interlinkages between swale and piped systems in rural areas and townships would suggest that such a delineation is complex and inefficient. Stormwater is the most difficult of the three waters particularly with respect to managing the future impacts of stormwater on freshwater management. The proposal looks to transfer the easier to manage aspects of the three waters and the lion’s share of the asset value to the crown and leave the most difficult and lowest value issues with local government. The proposal needs to deal with all aspects of three waters services cohesively.
- In rural areas much of the three waters infrastructure is on private property and relies on good local relationships between Council and landowners. We sound a note of caution in this respect in that landowners may be less willing to work in such an informal manner with the proposed larger entities.
- Generally in New Zealand there is a reliance on proportional representation to ensure that all voices are given weight. The government’s proposal has 6 representatives appointed to the Regional Representative Committee by local government representing approximately 800,000 people and six members appointed by iwi with mana whenua representing approximately 60,000 people, half of whom do not live in the takiwā. This appears to be neither regional, nor representative.
- Hurunui district has approximately 13,000 residents. Each of the six local government appointees to the Regional Representative Committee represent approximately 133,000 people. Thus the Hurunui residents will be represented by approximately 10% of one person. Given that it does not appear that this committee is democratically representative, has the government given any thought to appointments to represent both rural and urban voices equally?
There’s plenty of ways to share your thoughts with us:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – please write ‘Three Waters feedback’ to the subject line.
- Ring us: on 03 3148 416, and one of our friendly Customer Services team will write down your thoughts.
- In person: Once our Service Centres and libraries are open again, there will be slips of paper at the front desk where you can write down your thoughts. There will be drop in sessions too, please keep an ear out for more details.
- Zoom: Don’t be afraid – this is a good chance to practice your skills this week. We have set up a selection of allocated times where you can dial in and have a chat. (Dates and times listed below.)
- Formal consultation: We also intend to formally consult with our communities across Hurunui District before we make any decisions, (much like how we do for the LTP). This will happen later in the year, more details will be provided.
Zoom dates and times:
Wednesday September 1st, 11.30am-12.30pm
Wednesday September 1st, 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Friday September 3rd, 10.00am - 11.00am
Friday September 3rd, 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Many thanks, we look forward to hearing from you.