Three Waters reform proposed by Government
The New Zealand Government is proposing a nationwide reform of Three Waters service delivery arrangements.
The Government’s proposal envisages the setting up of one to five water authorities nationwide.
Currently, delivery of water services in each district is the responsibility of the local territorial authority.
Hurunui District Council (HDC) looks after the public supply and servicing of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater in the Hurunui District. Under the Government’s proposal, the governance and delivery of Three Waters services would transfer from the Council to a newly created organisation.
Alongside its proposal, the Government has made $761million of COVID-19 funding available for Councils to upgrade their water assets. To access this, Councils must sign up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by 31 August 2020. Signing the MOU commits the Councils to providing the Government details of its Three Waters assets, and engaging about future plans of this service.
It is proposed that if HDC commits to signing the MOU by 31 August 2020, it will be allocated up to $3.75 million from the fund, which must be spent on the Three Waters and support economic recovery.
Hamish Dobbie, CEO of Hurunui District Council, says the Council is very aware that the community will need to engage with the Government on its proposed Three Waters reform.
“It’s a really important decision for the future for the Council. We know how important water is in our district.”
Hamish says the MOU is a ‘good faith agreement’ between HDC and Government which extends the partnership into the next phase of engagement. Should HDC sign up to the MOU and receive the funding, it does not mean the Council is locked into handing over control of its Three Waters assets and services.
“Before we consider anything that commits us to the proposed reform, we will be undertaking full public consultation.”
If HDC enters onto the proposed MOU, public consultation on any future steps will begin early 2021.