Published: 13 November 2018
LGNZ has released its position statement on three waters at its Quarterly Media Briefing today, calling on the Government to adopt four good public policy principles ahead of any reforms to the three waters sector.
Read the full local government position statement on water here.
Local government believes the principles will be key to achieving the balance between providing New Zealand’s communities with high quality water infrastructure and services that are affordable in the long-term.
Central government is expected to provide high-level direction on its reform work programme later this month. Indicatively the first recommendations from this work programme are expected in mid-2019.
“Local authorities have decades long experience operating and maintaining the country’s three waters infrastructure. We’re also responsible to our communities for the costs of providing this infrastructure. This gives us a unique perspective on how to proceed with reforming the regulations that govern the three waters space,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
“That’s why we’re launching this position paper. We understand the public’s urgency to see water standards tightened up after the Havelock North contamination incident. But we also recognise that making regulatory decisions in a hurry can produce unforeseen and costly consequences down the road.”
“The four principles that we’re launching today tap our experience in the three water sector, and would provide an essential framework on which to build a robust regulatory structure to ensure we continue to deliver high quality water services.”
Local government’s four principles:
Mr Cull noted that while there are challenges at the margin, by and large New Zealand’s water system is far from broken. He underscored the sector’s willingness to work with Government to put the appropriate reforms in place.
“As a sector, local government accepts that change is coming to the way we provide water services to our communities. Our 20th century service delivery model cannot cope with current and future population and land use change pressures,” said Mr Cull.
“We’re open to embracing this change with central government by collaboratively working on a range of policy options to deliver the quality of water, be it waste, storm or drinking, that our communities deserve. What we don’t want is a policy fix that fails to recognise the reality that New Zealand is made up of a multiplicity of diverse communities.”
Read the full Local government position statement on water here.
Read the 3 waters issues paper here.