Kaikōura council voices frustration over Three Waters submission


The Kaikōura District Council is frustrated at Local Government New Zealand’s submission on Three Waters.

BRYA INGRAM/STUFF

The Kaikōura District Council is frustrated at Local Government New Zealand’s submission on Three Waters.

North Canterbury’s three councils have expressed their opposition to Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) submission on the Water Services Entities Bill.

The councils took aim took aim at LGNZ’s proposal for a phased transition to Three Waters reform, by delaying the transferring of stormwater to the new entities.

The Kaikōura District Council unanimously passed a motion moved by Cr Tony Blunt at its meeting on Wednesday, July 27, for the council to write to LGNZ to express its frustration.

Blunt said LGNZ’s phased transition proposal did not represent the Kaikōura council’s position.

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“Before you make a suggestion for the way forward, can you please talk to us first. We are very disappointed with that part of the submission.”

He suggested the council should consider withdrawing its membership of LGNZ.

Deputy mayor Julie Howden said it was better to be part of a nationwide network, though she saw more value in the rural and provincial council gatherings.

‘‘We’re a part of Communities 4 Local Democracy (C4LD) and the councils on that tend to feel there’s common good with being a member of LGNZ.’’

Hurunui District Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie said splitting the three waters services would only complicate the process.

“Three waters are drinking, waste and stormwater. They are managed holistically by our three waters team and to split one off and have the other two transfer somewhere else will lead to unnecessary duplication of resources and overheads.

‘‘The government’s four entity model is already proposed to be more expensive for consumers and adding another layer of complexity and duplication will add to the cost burden being imposed.’’

STUFF

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will create four new public water entities, with local councils taking non-financial shareholdings. (First published on April 29, 2022)

Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon said his council did not support ‘‘the flawed and now forced four entity model in its entirety’’.

“A delayed or phased transition doesn’t change the model and it’s this that needs replacing.”

He said C4LD had developed an alternative model which he believed would be supported by communities throughout New Zealand.

All three North Canterbury councils are members of C4LD.

LGNZ president Stuart Crosby said it was clear there was no one size does fits all when it came to managing three waters.

The sector had been advocating for water reforms for decades.

He said if the reforms did not go through now, there was the danger of it being put back in the “political too hard basket”.

“We are recommending the Government look at a phased transition to the new system where it makes sense. This includes considering delaying transitioning stormwater to the new entities where it works for councils.”

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